Juuni Kokuki / The Twelve Kingdoms is based on a series of light novels by Ono Fuyumi. Considering the rather abrupt end to the anime, I'm wondering how complete it is when compared to the novels. Also, if it isn't in keeping with them, why was it axed?
I'm wondering how complete it is when compared to the novels
Youko Nakajima is the main character in the anime, while in the manga she is only one of many main characters and her story is focused upon in only two novels.
Most of the main characters are the same, although some were added as supporting characters, their role being to externalize some of Youko's problems that were internal in the novels.
Several events and existing characters in the series were expanded in the anime series, though the series general maintains the overall plot and themes introduced in the novels. Notably, the anime introduces the events of the fourth novel, The Twelve Kingdoms: Skies of Dawn, before the third novel, The Twelve Kingdoms: The Vast Spread of the Seas.
Also, if it isn't in keeping with them, why was it axed?
The original scope of the series included adapting the sixth novel, Tasogare no Kishi, Akatsuki no Sora (featuring Youko leading the Twelve Kingdoms to find Taiki); elements of the sixth novel had already been alluded to throughout the second arc of the series. However, the series was cancelled after the completion of the arc featuring Shoryu and Enki's past.
It does not state the reason for the cancellation though.