Yona of the Dawn, Vol 17.

Yona of the Dawn Volume 17 by Mizuho Kusanagi

I’m always curious when a new arc of Yona of the Dawn starts, because Kusanagi manages to create situations and plot elements that seem new and fresh in the context of a long-running series. At the same time she continues to explore themes that are present throughout the series with more depth, like Yona grappling with the legacy of her father’s lack of consideration and thought for the people who he used to rule.

Yona and her companions head towards the border of Kai, where they meet a young boy named Kalgan who proposes marriage to Yona after she shoots a bird to provide him with with some money. Kalgan wandered over from the Kai empire and is stranded, so Yona decides to escort him back to his village, a border town that has been fought over between Kai and Kohka for years. Yona’s Dragon Warriors begin to fall ill, and they need to recuperate for a time in the village where most of the residents are deeply suspicious of them. War is drawing near as well, as Su-Won and his army start to attack the Kai empire.

So far, most of the Dragon Warriors have gotten some solid character development and backstory in Yona of the Dawn, but Zeno has largely been an enigma. This volume finally showcases his unique abilities and role as Yona’s protector. For the Hak fans (and who isn’t a Hak fan!?) there are some great scenes of him taking on a wayward army, determined to take out their anger at losing a battle on innocent civilians. As Yona learns more and more about the dark side of human nature, she becomes more resolute about helping people. I’m curious to see how she manages to resolve the current crisis, I’m not sure if even she can pull of pacifying an angry army. This series is consistently rewarding to read, and one of the best fantasy shoujo series that Shojo Beat has published.

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