Books (Manga): Dawn of the Arcana by Rei Toma

Dawn of the Arcana
by Rei Toma
published in English by Viz / Shojo Beat (complete – 53 chapters)

I’m reading the still-being-released manga, The King’s Beast, which is so gorgeously drawn… and then realized that the author has older works that are complete for me to enjoy! This is one of them, and appears to be set in the same world as TKB.

Nakaba has had a rough life: she was orphaned young, kept isolated in a tower, has been avoided or abused by relatives, has an unacceptable haircolor, and ultimately is married off to a prince in an enemy kingdom for political reasons. Ignorant stereotypes about her kingdom are used to insult her. Aside from her loyal Ajin servant (a completely devoted man from an oppressed ethnic group identified by their animal-like ears), she has no one in the world who cares what happens to her.

And then, to top it all off, she starts to see the future.

Perhaps… she has more options than just running away after all. Perhaps she can turn her situation around… and change the world. If she doesn’t kill herself trying to look at the future!

The art style is much less elaborate than TKB, but familiar in a pleasant way. The heroine is optimistic and good-hearted, which gets her far. There are many characters, multiple countries, plots, family dramas, bitter rivalries, lost loves, and appropriately unexpected plot twists. I enjoyed it all.

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