My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a nice change from the previous story arc that seemed to get lost in the middle. (expect mild spoilers in this review). Sebastian, Ciel and the rest of his staff are out in the forbidden 'werewolf' forest and have been confronted by insular witches who fear the outside persecution but their leader, a young girl, Sieglinde, breaks protocol and invites them to stay in the Emerald Castle much to the dismay of the other witches and Sieglinde's guardian/butler, Wolfram (I see what you did there, Toboso).
Ciel quickly learns that Sieglinde is very lonely. Also she's been crippled by her rank and power (emotionally and physically). She's also highly sexualized for a young girl much to Ciel's dismay and Sebastian's amusement. Ciel manages to put her off long enough to escape into the woods to investigate it with Sebastian. However, the werewolves and the 'curse' aren't just legend and even Sebastian isn't immune.
It had an interesting side effect. Ciel finally breaks. Throughout the series, Ciel is remarkably self-possessed for a boy who was brutally orphaned then abused by a take off of the Hellfire club (we have to assume the abuse was mental, physical and sexual). He doesn't seem to suffer much in the way of PTSD. Until now and it's a surprising character who can reach him and comfort him. We get a lot of character history while Sebastian is running around trying to solve the mystery and find a way to help Ciel heal both physically and mentally.
It's a much more interesting story arc than the last one. The art is simply beautiful. I'm looking forward to the next volume.
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