Kai Tsurugi – Blu – 2006 – 4 volumes
Someone recommended this to me ages ago, and I waited years for volume one to come back in stock before I realized that, yeah, that wasn’t happening. I finally got a beat-up used copy, and after reading it, I’m sorry I waited so long. That person was right. This is very much my kind of series.
It’s a BL story with a medieval setting. The romance isn’t in the foreground, and it reminds me a little bit of Apothecarius Argentum, which is a great start. This book starts with Chris, a prince, entering the royal training academy for knights. He’s entering as a commoner in order to gain skills he wouldn’t otherwise come across in his privileged life as a prince. He’s up for the experience, and his guide at the academy is senior student Zeke. As a BL manga, it’s not hard to figure out where things between Chris and Zeke go, but they go there in a very natural, non-forced way. The two fall in love very slowly, and once it happens, they’re together, no questions. Actually, they fall in love very quickly, but they spend the rest of the book learning about each other and growing closer, which is just as important.
Chris’s life at the academy is interrupted by an assassin, and he’s forced to leave with Zeke in tow. More assassins and attempts on the King’s life happen while Chris makes his way back, and the story starts to dip its toes gently in politics while Zeke continues to protect Chris and the two establish themselves at the castle.
Like Apothecarius Argentum, the romance and plot seem fairly well-balanced (or will be soon, the romance is winning, but not by a wide margin, in this volume). The setting is slowly opening up, and it grows on the reader just as much as the characters do. There’s nothing overtly amazing about it in volume one, but it is very well-written, and it grew on me more and more as I read. I’m very much looking forward to volume two, just to see how much more the plot and characters grow.