My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The art in this manga is jus lush, finely detailed and gorgeous. I'm still warming up to all the girls and some of the darkness that lurks in the background of this. For instance, anyone using magic without permission has their memories and magic taken from them, no trial, no defense, nothing. That sort of draconian society sets my back up.
Coco, by rights, should have had her memories taken but her mentor Qifrey has protected her. However, not all of his other three apprentices (all female) Agott especially is rather hard core against her with no patience for her (even though she was every bit as much responsible for why all four girls are lost and facing a dragon).
In the background we see the fringed hats, rogue mages, manipulating things with designs on Coco who might end up a Trojan horse. We meet a few others of Qifrey's crew and finally get some of Agott's background so we can understand why she's so impatient with Coco.
They're faced with a natural disaster that Agott is sure she can help with even though she's told she's not ready. Unfortunately for them the Knights Moralis (those who'll take your memories) also show up and with the mindlessness of the true believers prepare to strip the girls of their magic. So another cliffhanger ending.
Not all the girls are equally developed but it's only book two. Hopefully more world building and character building is to come. I do like this though. Not sure, however, how I feel about the Knights Moralis.
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Vinland Saga, Volume 8: Troubled Waters by Makoto Yukimura
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It's been a while since I picked up this series. I got a little bored with the Thorfinn the farmer arc but that is now over and is now back home with his father's friend Lief and Thorfinn's ex-slave friend. But Thorfinn hasn't been home since he was about ten years old.
The bulk of this one still didn't grab me like the early series did (until the end). It sort of plods along as Lief is confronted with a young girl he knows who has always tried to stow away and see the world but now she's of marrying age and is slated for marriage to the spoiled son of a hard, vicious man who is basically the Viking equivalent of a loan shark.
Long story short, it shines an unpleasant light on the plight of women in that time period and by the end of it Thorfinn and Lief are in trouble especially when they need this man's help to gain the capital to fund a journey to Vinland (Canada) and are being dogged by the would-be husband.
It was interesting enough but not that exciting until the last chapter. Thorfinn has taken a vow of peace but when confronted with a bear that's challenged. Enter Hild, a scarred young woman who is a huntress and whose past is tangled up with Thorfinn's vicious one. It ends in a tense standoff.
I immediately liked Hild. I'll be interested in how this all shakes out. The art is very detailed and wonderful (has an excellent picture of Thorfinn and all his scars, it says a lot with no words).
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