Akaoni: Contract with a Vampire by Hiroro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I got this from a Goodreads Giveaway which in no way influenced my review. It’s probably more like a 3.5 but I rounded up because some of the stiltedness could be from the translation issues. I will say though, I’ve been reading Japanese light novels for decades and the translations are getting smoother, with more thought about how it reads in English as opposed to just being awkward direct translations.
That said there is definitely some awkwardness in world building and I can’t tell if this is a novelization of a manga or not, but it feels like it would have worked better as manga. It comes in three distinct parts.
It opens with Azusa Saito being kidnapped and then rescued by different vampire clans. Her rescuers are Red clan (the others Blue) and among them is Kouya, the son of the vampire Patriarch, the clan ruler. Kouya is a bit of a tragic figure, having killed a family member and is now his father’s weapons against F type vampires (vampires in this world are mostly human, needing only a little blood and can be out in the day. They do however have magical powers, but some end up going insane when their powers awaken and must be destroyed. That’s Kouya’s job). All vampires’ eyes go red when they drink blood but Kouya are always red frightening his own kind (as does his own lack of blood drinking)
Azusa learns she was taken because of some experiment revolving around her birth (don’t want to spoil that) and her dad was a scientist involved in it. And for that involvement her father is slated to be killed by the Patriarch. Azusa, unafraid of Kouya (she thinks his eyes are beautiful like rubies), lobbies to save him even if it means giving up her normal life and making a life among the vampires. She even starts getting along with two vampires who don’t dislike Kouya, his friend Subaru and Subaru’s contractual partner (the contract in the title refers to a blood drinking pact) the man-hating (except for Subaru) Ichi.
Part two has Azusa settling into the vampire’s world (and here is where some of the awkwardness happens. Her father falls out of the narrative almost entirely). Azusa is attacked and kidnapped by a young not-yet-awakened vampire, Tsukiharu. He and Azusa share a history she knew nothing about and he isn’t entirely stable, but he is powerful. There is a lot of action in this and some real changes in Azusa’s relationship with Kouya. The third part introduces someone special to Kouya and another facet of vampire life is introduced to Azusa.
There are threats to her throughout the book but there are parts that do get draggy. I liked all the characters with caveats. Azusa does some truly dumb crap. The other characters keep saying she ‘lacks caution.’ Yeah that’s a nice way of saying that was dumb as heck. Kouya is too jealous but only in part three. I really hate jealous equally ‘I love you SO much’ in romantic subplots. Jealousy is destructive and even Kouya realizes that.
It was a fun story and I was glad I got to read it. The art that peppers it is nice too.
View all my reviews