In this world, two neighboring kingdoms often try to make peace for a little while by marrying their children off. Both kingdoms prize black hair coloring over all others, and the least desirable of all is red hair. Princess Nakaba, aka Nak, is married off to Prince Caesar so that the kingdoms can have a little bit of peace. On the surface, Caesar can’t stand Nak because of her hair and her closeness to her servant, Loki. Inwardly, Caesar is jealous that Nak has distain for him, especially because she is a less desirable red-headed princess. Loki comes to Nak's aid in front of the king, and has to go on the run because of it. Nak strikes a bargain with Caesar that could ultimately lead to Loki's pardon, if Caesar can convince his father, that is.
There is a good amount of mystery to this title that will keep readers hooked. Nak has some special power that isn’t fully explained. Caesar isn’t the creep he seems to be at the beginning of the story. While it's not explained, Caesar’s brother is destined to become king even though he’s blonde and the son of a concubine. We get a glimpse of Nak's childhood and her people, which seems different than the royal family in a castle that readers might expect. Her people are a group that the king of Belquat has tried to exterminate, which explains his absolute distain for Nak, and his outrage at her wearing her traditional clothing to dinner. There are so many starts to the storyline and hints at the world's complexity that it makes this volume one a great lead in to the rest of this series. This would be a good foil for Snow White with the Red Hair because of the role red hair plays in each title.
Toma's art style is very elegant, and most of her characters are very slender and beautiful. It's interesting that she has chosen the darker hair to be more desirable because that adds more work to a mangaka's day.
VIZ rates this title for Teen. There is some violence and some conversation about people as property, and Caesar does exhibit some tendencies of an abuser, so this is a little mature for middle school.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Magic, Fantasy
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