Illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa
Arslan is the crown prince of the kingdom of Pars. His country is constantly at war because they must protect the trade routes that run through their cities, which leads to Pars being prosperous but also the envy of many nations. Neighboring countries also oppose Pars for religious differences, believing that all the heathens living in Pars must be exterminated. Arslan's father is an adept battle commander, and he never loses. At 14, Arslan rides out to his first battle against this nation of ideologically opposed soldiers, and it does not go well for the soldiers of Pars. Arslan is forced to flee is once-prosperous kingdom, and now he must journey to reclaim his kingdom.
Honesty moment: I picked this up entirely because of Arakawa-sensei's involvement. From the beginning, Arslan isn’t a hugely interesting character, but there is definitely room for him to grow throughout the series. He's basically a sheltered prince who has been training for battle his whole life and is still unprepared when he finds himself in one. There’s a three year time jump at the beginning of the story, but Arslan is drawn the same as his eleven-year-old self. The names of people and places are a bit convoluted and difficult to follow. Terms in another language are used often, and defined only at the first use, so pay attention. Titles are included every time someone mentions Arslan or the king, which is a little repetitive. I do appreciate that this is a different setting for a fantasy story - rather than middle ages Europe, we're getting middle ages Persia. I’m willing to give it a little more time and not give up entirely, but the second volume needs to be a little less obvious and give a little bit more in character development.
There are some bloody moments (duh, it's about war), but there isn't much in the first volume that would be inappropriate for middle school readers.
Sara's Rating: 6/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Tags: Rating: 6/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, War, Fantasy
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