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Monday, July 30, 2012

It's Just Another Manga Monday: Dawn of the Arcana by Rei Toma

Book Description:
Publication Date: June 5, 2012 | Series: Dawn of the Arcana (Book 4)
Reads R to L (Japanese Style), for audiences rated teen.
Princess Nakaba of Senan is forced to marry Prince Caesar of the enemy country Belquat, tantamount to becoming a hostage. While Caesar is pleasing to the eye, he is also selfish and possessive, telling Nakaba outright: “You are my property.” With only her attendant Loki at her side, Nakaba must find a way to cope with her hostile surroundings, her fake marriage...and a mysterious power!

Princess Nakaba of Senan and Prince Caesar of Belquat only married each other for the sake of peace between their two warring countries, so no one expected there to be love between the unlikely couple. But just as feelings start growing between them, Nakaba's power, the Arcana of Time, shows her a vision of a young woman's murder. Has the time come for Nakaba to harness her power to change fate?

My Review:
Here is yet another title with a political theme. This series is about warring nations and the political marriage to breach the gap between the two countries. It is also about prejudice. The two countries, Belquat and Senan. Belquat sees the people of Senan as country bumpkins and even though Senan has their own royalty, they are thought to be beneath the Royal family of Belquat.

Princess Nakaba has flaming red hair which is also traditionally thought to be common. Royalty should have black hair. She is given in marriage to the prince of Belquat, Caesar, who is at first pretty much one of the biggest jerks I've encountered so far. At first he's arrogant and cruel and doesn't want anything to do with the wife forced on him.

There is also a race of people called the Ajin. They are demi-humans with the tails and ears of animals and possess super-human abilities. They are slaves, soldiers and are looked down upon by the humans who would rule them.

The series is full of intrigue and conspiracies. The Ajin and planning an uprising. The King of Belquat is conspiring in secret to destroy Senan once and for all. And as Nakaba and Caeser grow closer, they vow to stop the warring, murder and suffering brought about by the conflict between these warring nations.

As much as I hated political science in college, I do have to ask myself why it is that I continue to find these series of books that have a political theme. Well, I like the characters in this series.

Loki is Nakaba's attendant. I don't entirely trust him. He seems like he would sacrifice everything for the cause. Things seem to be black and white with him. You're either with us or against us. He will turn Nakaba against Caesar all for the cause. And while he is loyal to Nakaba, he is more loyal to the cause, freedom for all Ajin, and he will commit murder if he has to achieve victory.

Nakaba is strong-willed and a free spirit, but she hides a vulnerability. She is in a foreign land amongst enemies and though she is princess of Belquat in name only, she is really just a hostage to keep the peace. Despite her isolation, she refuses to bend to the will of the royal family of Belquat. As an example, she refuses to wear the traditional clothing of Belquat and instead wears her Senan garb which makes her appear more barbaric. Even though Caesar's family looks down on her, she stands up to them. She has no illusions about her life, marriage or even her death. And she bears a mystery of her own.

Caesar was at first quite a jerk. He saw Nakaba as only his property to do with as he saw fit, but he slowly gets to know her and his feelings toward her change. For the first time in his life, he wants to care and protect someone. He falls for her and will do anything to make her happy. It is funny, though, because he keeps trying to do things to make her happy, but it is based on Belquat custom and not anything Nakaba would want, like fancy clothes and such. I truly learned to like him because he seems so genuine in his affection for Nakaba. He may be a fool, though. Loki, as I said, does not seem trust worthy and yet Caesar made him one of the princes guard and I can't help but feel nothing good will come of that.

This series makes me anxious. I do like to believe that people are essentially good and I like to have a happy ending ultimately, I get the feeling that there will be tragedy ahead and just hope everyone will get the happy ending they deserve. I'll have to keep reading to find out.

Volume 5 is due out 08/07/12. I can't believe two months have gone by since I got this volume. Wow.

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