This story opens up with Chise being purchased for an insane amount of money. She is immediately whisked away by her new owner, Ainsworth, who is an ancient mage and plans to train Chise as his apprentice. Ainsworth reveals Chise is a "Sleigh Beggy," a human who can absorb and use vast amounts of magic. Other magical creatures are drawn to Chise, and she learns of faeries, dragons, and other mythical creatures. Chise's tragic background has given her some major trust issues, and she can't believe that Ainsworth and his few friends actually treat her well. She decides to learn as much as she can from Ainsworth and try to make him proud of her, but she's also waiting for her comfortable life to be ripped away from her.
This story is reminiscent of Sarah J. Maas' A Court of Thorn and Roses series, as well as Neil Gaiman fantasy stories. Ainsworth lives in England because magic is intertwined with the lore of English folk, rather opposite of countries like America where magic is seen as demonic. Chise and Ainsworth travel to towns and villages that, on the surface, seem like normal human places, but secretly host another, magical reality. This blend of real-world and deep magic is a theme Gaiman revisits often, while the relationship between Chise and Ainsworth, as well as Chise's innate magical abilities, is very similar to Maas' Court books. This volume was enjoyable, if a little short, but I'm definitely hooked into this series.
Seven Seas rates this for Teen, which seems appropriate. Some of the darker elements of the magical world might be a little intense for younger audiences.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 8-12
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Fantasy, Romance
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