Dawn of the Arcana Volume 4 by Rei Toma

One of the things I was happy to see in this volume of Dawn of the Arcana is the heroine Nakaba acting a bit more like an action hero. In the first volume she was introduced as not being hesitant about getting physical sometimes, and while in the subsequent volumes she hasn’t really been passive she has been busy dealing with her love/hate relationship with her new husband and the perils of living in a hostile country. She’s been busy!

Nakaba turns down Prince Akhil’s invitation to run away with him to his country, but not before she begins to get a sense of how valued her power of supernatural sight is. Akhil says “Your power is a gift. Believe in it. Unleash it. Let it be your strength.” Nakaba has a vision showing her a young girl being killed, and discovers that the girl is Bellinus’ younger sister Lemiria. After discovering a cache of weapons, Nakaba, Caesar, Bellinus and Loki decide to use the pretext of a honeymoon to travel towards the north, where the army might be targeting an Ajin village to test the weapons. Lemiria stows away, which isn’t good as the terrain begins to match up with Nakaba’s vision. Still she befriends Lemiria while being determined to protect her. Nakaba and Lemiria get menaced when they take a much needed shopping break and Nakaba shows herself to be quite tricky with a dagger. While she might have fended off one danger, she reflects that being able to strike a hit isn’t enough if she needs to protect someone and concludes “I have to get stronger.”

Caesar and Nakaba’s adorably awkward relationship continues to evolve on their honeymoon. Loki and Lemiria have an interesting encounter when she confronts him about his feelings for Nakaba, saying that he’s lonely, wounded, lovestruck, spiteful, but most of all, “a little frighting.” Loki just smiles a little bit and says “You don’t say…” Nakaba shows just how much she’s grown when she decides to spill her own blood to produce additional visions when Lemiria is in danger. By the end of the volume we see Nakaba evolving as she accepts her new power as well as her new country, and Bellinus has turned into a new ally. Slowly there’s a group of people forming around Nakaba that seem to be willing to protect her. This volume definitely seemed like the end of the first story arc in the series, and Toma’s writing and art has gotten more assured with each volume. Dawn of the Arcana is the type of series that rewards the reader the longer you keep reading it.

Review copy provided by the publisher.

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