Sunday, March 11, 2012

Manga Review: The Earl and The Fairy, Volume 1, by Ayuko

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 4

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lydia Carlton is a fairy doctor,one of the few people with the ability to see the magical creatures who share our world. During one of her rare trips to London to visit her father, Lydia’s quiet life is suddenly transformed when she is rescued from kidnappers by a mysterious young man!
Edgar Ashenbert claims to be descended from the human ruler of the fairy kingdom, and he urgently needs Lydia’s help to find and claim his birthright, the legendary sword of the Blue Knight Earl. Things will never be the same for Lydia as she is pulled into a dangerous quest against dark forces!


I always get so excited when Shojo Beat releases new manga. I've read a majority of their titles, and usually try, and like, their new ones. There are probably only a handful that I haven't read, honestly. This one wasn't any different.
I only read the top description on the back of this before I got it (intentionally this time, though), and so again I kind of took it at face value. The art looks very sketch-y, and so I was worried that I wouldn't like it, but I did. It looked like it would be an elegant, light read, so I was surprised when I started it and found that it was a bit more heavy, dark, than I'd thought. In a good way, though. It's also set in an earlier, European time, which seems to be happening a lot lately. I don't mind it, though, even really like it, which is very different to when it comes to novels. Maybe because I get to see the elegance, and because of the clothes?
(Anyway:) It starts by showing us a guy (who we later find outs' name is Edgar Ashenbert, Earl of Ibrazel) threatening some guy with a gun for information about some jewel, and he's told about a fairy doctor that can help him. Then it goes to the fairy doctor, Lydia Carlton, who can see and talk to fairies and creatures that most people don't believe in. She gets a letter from her father and goes to see him, but on her way, she gets unknowingly kidnapped, and then saved by Edgar.
Edgar is apparently a descendant of a Blue Knight from a fairy tale, and he needs Lydia's help to find the sword, encrusted with the jewel, that the Blue Knight left behind somewhere. There are some clues, but he needs Lydia's fairy knowledge to find out what they mean.
Lydia, and her fairy-cat Nico, don't trust him. They don't know what to make of him, and there are rumors going around of a guy who killed a hundred people in America and possibly the same guy who harmed (killed?) a man named Gotham, with a description very like Edgar's. Nico is suspicious, and while Lydia is as well, she still kind of trusts him. She's very kindhearted, and when he protects her, and explains some things to her, in a sob-story kind of way, it makes her stay.
I'm liking... all of the characters, I think. Lydia maybe needs to smarten, toughen, up some, but I do like her. Edgar seems a bit devious, dark, and sad, and I want to know more about him. And Edgar has two servants, Ermine and Raven, who have a dark past that's hinted at (like Edgar's is) and are, particularly Raven, are prone to fighting. I'm looking forward to finding out more about them. All of them.
The story line is good, too. There's still some mystery as to who, exactly, Edgar is, which Lydia seems to be finding out. His servants, as well. And they're trying to find out where the sword is, while also running from, and fighting, Gotham's family, who are also trying to find the sword. The Gotham gang has been trying to convince Lydia that they are the good guys, but I'm pretty sure that Edgar is. By the end of the volume, though, Lydia has decided not to run from him; they are going to stick it out together, which is good.
Oh, also, another Gotham (I'm a bit confused about all of these Gothams that are showing up, because I don't think the one they're fighting and this one are the same?) goes to Lydia's father, who is already pretty sure that Lydia is the one that was kidnapped from the ship at the beginning of the volume, and convinces him they need to work together to find her. Things are just getting set in motion, it seems.
The mystery and darkness of the story I wasn't expecting, but I'm rather enjoying it. I'm enjoying all of it, really, and am a bit excited for the next one.

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