The Kings Beast Vol. 1 Review

Summary

The Kings Beast by Rei Toma is set in the same world as Toma’s Dawn of the Arcana series in which humans and Ajin live amongst each other. Some Ajin are gifted special abilities and those who are get assigned to serve the princes of the imperial palace as beast-servants.

The Kings Beast follows Rangetsu, as she disguises herself as a man to get close to the prince who her brother once served. She suspects the prince of murdering her twin brother only to find that prince Tenyou is not who she expected him to be.

Review

I was absolutely thrilled to find out that The Kings Beast would be taking place in the same world as Dawn of the Arcana. I can remember getting the first volume of Dawn of the Arcana with my grandparents at this little Coles bookstore at the mall where they live. I was drawn to the cover immediately and ended up finishing the book the same day. I loved the lore created around the world, the artwork and the way that the character’s were introduced.

In The Kings Beast I felt certain moments were rushed, and I feel that this is because there is the assumption that readers of this series have already completed Dawn of the Arcana. I think this quick introduction to “the gifts” that the Ajin possess is fine for those who know this series lies within the same world and who were previously introduced to that, however it could be a bit confusing for those who have never read or heard of Dawn of the Arcana.

Rangestu is perceived as weak in stature, many believing that she is a young boy. Some of the comments made by prince Tenyou remind me of when I played Viola in Twelfth Night back in university (and I played Viola a lot). He comments on her small frame, her boyish voice, her long lashes–those unfamiliar with Twelfth Night could compare this to Mulan when Li Shang is entranced by her while believing she is Ping.

Rangestu has spent years trying to become the best fighter, in order to be considered a good match for the prince whom she believes has killed her twin brother Sogetsu. There is a coldness in her frames, some of which where she is shown putting on a pained smile. She has one goal and that is to avenge her brother’s death.

Personally, I would have liked to see Rangetsu and Tenyou dance around each other a bit before it is revealed that he was not the one who had her brother killed. I like that Tenyou comes to the realization that she’s related to Sogetsu, but it would have been interesting to have that revealed near the end of this first book rather than earlier on. I also enjoyed watching others close to Tenyou, test Rangetsu but I found at times Rangestu was too outspoken for an Ajin.

It is mentioned early on in the book that Ajin are viewed as lower class, and that if they attack or speak out against a human they can be killed, so having Rangestu in the palace being so outspoken seemed a bit off to me. I wish that she had taken the time to try and hide her true intentions, mainly because she has worked so hard to get to this point.

Overall, despite a few small criticisms I enjoyed this first volume and would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy fantasy, shojo and historical manga’s. I would also highly recommend this to those who are familiar with Rei Toma’s work, especially Dawn of the Arcana as it was fun being reintroduced to this world and seeing how things are for different Ajin and human’s living in another region.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4 Stars

Absolutely Delightful…

Have you ever been so immersed in a book it’s almost as if you were in a dream? I love when that happens, that moment you escape. I’ve read a lot of different books lately and with each one I’m praying for that experience of being drawn into the pages and disappearing inside them for hours.

I’m not sure why books induce this almost dream-like state but I feel well rested after as well. Writing about this now, I’m a bit embarrassed because I can’t help but think “this sounds insane” and yet I know there are people who’ve experienced this same thing.

Reading to me is no different than when I used to play dolls. Letting your imagination take charge and creating and exploring (sometimes the impossible!) in your head. It’s like the perfect balance between fiction and reality because you know in fact that it’s all a play but you engage with it because it’s absolutely delightful…or disturbing if you’re reading a horror novel…but then again some books (and films) can be disturbingly delightful.

In my last post I felt almost betrayed by what I’d read. Books for me have always been my favourite place…not just thing…but a place, because every book has a new setting, a new set of character’s to meet and new things to discover along the way. I love that about them. I like to venture into spooky old mansions, or travel across space…just from the comfort of my bedroom.

Each time I read a good book, it’s like being in a long dream. A good dream. A dream that keeps you guessing. A dream that gives you a warm feeling. A dream that lingers with you after you wake up. Books are beautiful in that sense.

Absolutely beautiful.

Manga I’m Looking Forward to in 2021

Back in December I was tasked to decide which manga series my work would be ordering for the store. We’re currently closed right now, but regardless I was extremely thrilled about the opportunity and went through upcoming releases/series I’d been recommended.

Here are the series that I’m personally looking forward to continuing or starting this year!

I’ve reviewed Daytime Shooting Star twice on this blog before, however I don’t believe I’ve reviewed Love Me, Love Me Not by Io Sakisaka yet. I’ve read so much of her work over the years, that I know for a fact I’ve referenced it more than once, especially when I talk about my own writing goals.

I’m looking forward to catching up on the new releases for both Daytime Shooting Star and Love Me, Love Me Not! Both series have been enjoyable reads and have had really great character development thus far.

Next is Yona of the Dawn. I’ve been praying that this series would get a second season for the anime but sadly shows classified as shojo don’t typically run for more than a single season. It would be nice though. This was one of those rare cases where I was introduced to the anime before the manga. I’m thankful that the series is now on Volume 28! I’ve grown accustom to shojo manga’s being somewhere between 10 and 12 volumes. The last series I had that was longer was around 24 books. Shonen tends to have a longer run. I assume due to funding or the amount of attention the genre gets in comparison?

Now this next one isn’t going to come out until April. It’s called A School Frozen in Time, and it sounds really interesting. It’s a horror although the current teaser cover doesn’t seem to indicate that. Sometimes that’s a good thing though. It can allow people to open up to a genre they would normally shy away from. I know misleading covers can be upsetting to people though! I’ve had it happen. I’m a lot more thorough when choosing books now.

Jujutsu Kaisen has been recommended to me at least a dozen times in the last two months. I haven’t fully figured out what the plot is about but I’m definitely going to check it out because I’ve only heard good things about this series!

I’m not sure if I’ll ever check out Our Fake Marriage, but I came across it on my book hunt for work. It does have really nice illustrations, I just don’t know if the plot is something I’d enjoy. I also haven’t seen any reviews for it yet.

I got the first 3 volumes of Perfect World for Christmas and I cannot wait to read them. I’m catching up on some other books first, mainly because I won’t be able to buy anything new for a while and when I start a series I tend to binge them all in one go! This series looks like it’s going to be fantastic.

My sister pointed out how the two lead character’s remind her of the Luka and her love interest in the Vocaloid song Just Be Friends.

This next series is one that I always saw at work. The cover and title caught my eye and I thought the synopsis sounded good. It’s currently on my TBR. I’ve hoping I can get a chance to read it this year!

I read a really good review about Boarding School Juliet on The KS Blogs and added it to my TBR immediately after. The do monthly manga discovery posts that I like checking. Another blog worth checking out if you’re into anime is Anime and Me.

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight is another manga that I found during my search for work. It seems cute. I might give it a shot. If you’ve heard of it, let me know!

This next series is one that I’ve been debating on buying for months. Sadly when I finally made my decision about it we went back into lock down…and now the lock down has been extended haha. Something’s Wrong With Us honestly caught my attention with the title alone. I kept coming back to it on the shelf. I wish I’d gotten it when I had the chance! If all works out I’ll be able to get it sometime this year!

Have you read any of these series? If not, are any of them on your TBR?

The Boy in the Coffee Shop

There’s a little known coffee shop down the street, hidden within a busy plaza. He’s there just about every day with his laptop pulled close, sitting quietly by the window. He minds his own business, giving a smile here and there as people walk by his table. If you’re lucky you’ll catch a glimpse of his warm brown eyes, fixating on something outside.

The Barista brings over his coffee–which some would say is just milk and sugar–and a freshly baked slice of carrot cake. “There yah go Owen. Let me know when you need a refill.” She cocks her head, scrunching up her face as he lets one of his earbuds dangle down onto his neck.

“Pardon?”

“Your coffee,” she says, turning from him. She glances back briefly to find him sitting cross legged on the chair, the coffee cup nestled gently between his fingers. A little grin crawls between her lips as she goes back behind the counter.

“You ever wonder what he’s working on?” Ike asks, popping up beside her. He hands her a slip of paper with the next order.

“Not really.”

“I bet its a novel. He looks like the type. He could be writing the next big series or something.”

Naaz looking over at Owen, furrows her brow. “Maybe he’s a genius hacker?”

“Judging by his orders, I’d match him up with Keisha. You know, soft spoken, colourful braids, wears Billy Talent t-shirts?”

“For the last time, Mimi said no more match making!” Naaz clears her throat. Customers direct their attention to her. She ducks down, her brown cheeks burning as she pulls her large bun over her face. “Don’t you remember what happened last time with that married woman?”

Ike looked down at her. “Gladys or Rhonda?”

“Gladys left her husband and ran off with that Librarian!”

“Then what happened to Rhonda?”

“How should I know?” Naaz peers over the counter at Owen. “Look, it was all fun and games before but I think these magic beans are going to your head.”

Ike pulls her up by her shoulders and smiles. “What’s the fun of working in a magic coffee shop if we can’t use a little magic?”

“We’re not supposed to know Mimi has–”

Naaz and Ike turn their heads as Owen approaches the counter.

“Did you want a refill?” Naaz asks quickly.

Owen grips his throat. “N-no actually…I forgot my phone charger and–” His face slams down onto the counter.

The customers rise from their seats, gazing over.

“Owen?” Ike pokes him in the middle of his head. He turns to Naaz. “I think I gave him the wrong beans.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means he’s dead.” Mimi sigh, waltzing in from the back room. “Sleep!” She shouts, snapping he fingers.

The customer shut their eyes and lay their heads on the tables.

Naaz’s eyes widen. “Dead?”

“I swapped his drink when you weren’t looking.” Mimi tells them, running a hand through Owen’s hair.

“What? Why?”

“He knew too much.” Mimi turns his head and squishes his cheeks between her fingers. “Don’t worry detective, your life source should return in a couple of hours. Now, the question is what to do with you two.”

“Please don’t kill me, I was just trying to create the perfect ships and make the world a better place I swear!” Ike cries, hiding behind Naaz.

Mimi gives each of them a smile. “I’m aware of your curiousity human. Though I do wonder, how curious are you truly?”

Naaz and Ike glance at one another.

“If you dispose of the detective, I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”

Naaz inches toward her. “Wait…like actually kill him or?”

“Oh no, just dump him off someplace. I don’t want him waking up here.” She reaches into her apron. “Here I’ll give you each five beans. Take my car and deliver him to Bianca’s. She’ll know what to do with him.”

“Wait, who’s Bianca?” Naaz asks.

Ike goes around the counter and yanks Owen off. “And to think I was gonna pair you up with Keisha.”

“Funny you should say that,” Mimi says, handing Naaz her keys. “Bianca is Keisha’s older sister. They live just a couple blocks from here by the convenience store on Orchard Street.”

“Small world.” Naaz whispers.

“Small indeed. Now get that corpse outta my shop.”


About the Story

This is just a little freestyle piece I decided to write…for absolutely no reason other than to entertain myself. I hope you enjoyed reading it though.

I also tried writing in a tense I never use just to switch things up and challenge myself a little.