The King's Beast, Vol. 1
by Rei Toma
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 02 Feb 2021 | Archive Date 01 Jul 2021
VIZ Media, VIZ Media LLC
Ajin boys who show signs of special abilities are conscripted to serve in the imperial palace as beast-servants—status symbols and shields for their royal masters, to be kept or discarded on a whim. When they were children, Rangetsu’s twin brother Sogetsu was ripped from her arms and sent to the palace to attend Prince Tenyou as a beast-servant, where he quickly fell victim to bloody dynastic intrigues. Now in a world that promises only bitterness, Rangetsu’s one hope at avenging her brother is to disguise herself as a man and find a way into the palace!
Prince Tenyou is not what Rangetsu expected, and the political currents in the palace run deep and strange. Does Rangetsu have any chance of finding justice for her brother, or will she become just another Ajin casualty in the game of kings?
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Average rating from 70 members
I was so excited when I heard we were getting a new Rei Toma title, let alone another one in the world of Dawn of the Arcana. This chinese inspired story is fantastic. We have a rich political climate, characters that you are rooting for, and an enemies to lovers kind of romantic subplot that I am shipping HARD after this first volume. I am so excited to see this revenge story unfurl. I am anxiously awaiting volume 2!
It's easy to look at Rei Toma's art and forget just how dark her stories can get. This one is no exception. Set in the same world as <i>Dawn of the Arcana</i> the story follows Rangetsu, an Ajin (human with animal features, like ears and tails, and superior senses and healing abilities) as she seeks revenge against the human(s) who killed her twin brother years ago. And if you thought things were bad for the Ajin in <i>Dawn of the Arcana</i>, prepare yourself for them to be even worse here in a different nation. Ajin are absolutely second class citizens, with families only allowed one child (excluding multiple births), men and boys conscripted into either the army or as body guards known as Beast-Servants, and women are forced into sex work when they're young and switched over to menial labor when they age out of that. Rangetsu's brother dies in service to the Fourth Prince, and she flees the brothel her mother takes her to, cuts her hair, and learns to fight in order to hunt down his killer. It's brutal, and Toma doesn't shy away from that. But it also is a good story, one where very few people are what they seem to be, the system of oppression is looking like it might be ripe for being shredded, and change clearly lurks just around the bend. I don't anticipate this being an easy series, but I'm willing to be on it being a good one.