Dawn of the Arcana Volume 2 by Rei Toma
I enjoyed the first volume of Dawn of the Arcana, so I was happy to see that the second volume continues to be an entertaining fantasy story with the added bonus of the development of a tortured love triangle that was hinted at in the earlier volume. Caesar and Nakaba continue to have a rough time as newlyweds in a political marriage. Toma is pretty good at portraying Caesar as a poor little rich boy who is deserving of sympathy. He makes some clumsy attempts to give Nakaba expensive presents, when really all she cares about is being able to rescue an injured bird. While Caesar is quick to get angry when he sees Nakaba rejecting his advances, the puppy dog look on his face when he accidentally does something to cause Nakaba to be happy is pretty endearing.
Nakaba finds herself falling for her enemy prince husband despite her best intentions, and as I was expecting her servant Loki isn’t all that happy to see Nakaba and her new husband getting along. Nakaba also gets a welcome dose of levity when a little boy from her home named Rito shows up to be another one of her attendants. Rito is an Ajin like Loki, but he exhibits tiny ram horns in contrast to Loki’s canine characteristics. But things aren’t going to go smoothly for Nakaba, as a series of poisonous attacks on Caesar results in her being placed under suspicion by the court. Loki explains the source of Nakaba’s visions and says that her power may be growing. Loki’s quiet patience finally wears out and he confesses his feelings to Nakaba. She’s left feeling torn between her loyalty to Loki and the guilt that she feels when she enjoys spending time with Caesar.
One of my quibbles with this volume is that Nakaba didn’t have any clear ass-kicking moments that were so nicely exhibited in the first volume. While being caught in the throes of young love may throw her for a loop momentarily, I’m hoping that she has a few more take charge moments in later volumes. As she begins to be more comfortable with her visions, it will be interesting to see if she’s able to untangle the complicated web of plots that surround her in a new and unfamiliar kingdom. While the plot elements in Dawn of the Arcana still aren’t all that original, I’m very interested to see what happens next with Nakaba, Loki, and Caesar. I just hope Nakaba has a chance to punch someone in the next volume.
Review copy provided by the publisher.