My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This came highly recommended to me and I did enjoy it but I also had some problems with it as well. Prince Vald (or Bald in some copies, frankly I prefer Vald) is forced to use an ensorcelled sword to save his family and country but in doing so he ends up cursed. He leaves his little brother and his home to go in search of a sorcerer who can free him. He meets up with Halvir who is intrigued and wants to help but doesn't come cheap. His price is Vald's aid and the sword since Halvir collects rare objects almost obsessively.
Very quickly Halvir has to know what Vald's curse is. He breaks the handcuffs Vald sleeps in which keep the demon under control when Vald is unconscious (apparently Vald himself keeps the demon at bay and in fact seems barely cognizant of what happens to him when he's not awake). And here is where the story goes off the rails a bit for me. I KNOW it's Yaoi. But are all BL readers so impatient for the sex that it has to be rammed in where it doesn't even make sense yet? Halvir tries literally nothing else to calm the demon down other than to have sex with him and drain a little of the demon's energy into himself. How does he know to do this? Is this what they teach in wizard school? When in doubt, put your penis in it?
Consent is a big issue for me and it's one of the reasons I only read yaoi if it's been recommended to me (I picked up one too many you raped me, I love you stories). To be fair, the demon is completely into it. Vald, on the other hand, is completely unaware this is happening every night so that makes me a little uneasy. Also, and I know this is a completely dumb thing to be worried about but it bugs me, how does Vald not know? Sex is messy. You can usually feel its after affects (and one would assume that goes double when your demon self is slamming down so hard Halvir can barely deal with it while he's penetrating Vald). Halvir does a bang up cleaning job? But on the plus side, this is not censored! I have always hated the invisible penis stuff be it het or gay erotic manga.
Now back to the story, which is actually good. They succeed in their mission to find a lost sorcerer's familiar, but not in a way that makes Halvir happy. We also get to see both Vald, who comes off as innocent and stronger than he realizes, and Halvir, who is now burdened by what he does to the demon every night and hasn't informed Vald about, getting closer. The demon of course is between them and that presence can only grow so long as Halvir keeps doing what he's doing.
Halvir also takes one too many risks leaving it to Vald to save him and the demon almost gets free. Halvir, feeling out of his depth in his ability to help Vald and needing more information on the cursed sword goes back to his magic school where he is most unwelcome. And then the demon does wake up while Vald is conscious making things that much worse.
The story is good. I like the characters. The art is absolutely gorgeous. I can accept the sex scenes even if they make Halvir look a bit sleazy, frankly. Oh and it ends with a bonus story with poor Vald getting tentacle raped because what is erotic manga without tentacle rape? Don't worry, Vald kind of enjoyed it (Because who doesn't enjoy a little manhandling by the Whomping Willow's tentacled cousin, Ivy Raper?)
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