By X. Aratare (Author), T. Wolv (Illustrator)
As featured in HORNS Issue # 4: Winter Solstice 2017 Digital Edition
High fantasy, magic, action, drawing style and handsome men are a winning combination for me every time. Maybe that’s the reason why I decided to reread The Dark Earth, an independently published manga series I fell in love with at first sight a couple of years ago. I recently discovered its newest, ninth volume, The Blood King.
For those unfamiliar with this world, the protagonist Aidan and his adoptive family move to his mother’s house as she finds herself with not enough money. This turns to be a place where Aidan feels awkward and uncomfortable and which is cold toward outsiders of The Clan, a dark cult headed by his grandfather.
However, he soon discovers that he’s not even human, but part of an elf-like race called the Sidhe, enemies of The Clan, and feels attracted to none other than the Dark Prince Asher Vane -- a powerful figure who seems to know a thing or two about his past, his real parents and even the powers Aidan didn’t know he had. If that wasn’t enough, mage Lord Sevra Kos has feelings for him as well, trapping the young man in a strange love triangle.
Such an interesting proposal will captivate those who love the enchantment of young adult plots with the occasional steamy sex scene. The ease with which you can read the pages of each volume makes this an addictive series, where we will discover many more mysteries surrounding Aidan.
To get into the skin of the characters is simpler than it seems at the beginning, whether they are main or secondary and even having such a large cast, because they all have their own moment in the highlight I have a certain preference for Asher, and some might crucify me for what you could call as a mainstream choice, but I'm sure many will agree with me if they know the basics on spirituality and reincarnation and how they are used in this character.
I noticed some inconsistencies throughout the volume, and it mentally bothers me that this volume doesn’t have a short-story written in prose as many of the previous ones. I can understand that short-stories represent an additional creative effort for X. Aratare, the author, but after having those additions so many times I couldn’t not frown when I saw the last page left in blank.
While reading many different comics and mangas in the past, I’ve complained about the lack of similarity in terms of quality and art between the cover and the actual pages. Fortunately, both of them rise to the same level in The Blood King. T. Wolv does a good job with a marvelous artwork for the inner pages and expresses a great deal of emotion in them, especially melancholy and happiness.
Although I expected more sex and hormones in this volume, I’m fine with what I got. It’s hard to wait for the next installment in the series to be published, but in the meantime, it won’t hurt to read this volume again. Who knows? Maybe I’ll catch something I didn’t in the first read.
Pick up your copy of The Blood King, Volume 9