Reading 2022 #4: The Ancient Magus' Bride Vol. 1 by Kore Yamazaki

So I did read this a few days ago now, but on the bright side, I have an entire page, front and back, of notes that I took while I was reading. Because there was just so much that I was commenting on!

Okay, let me back up a bit. Today's manga was Volume 1 of the Ancient Magus' Bride, recommended to me by my good-friend-with-good-taste Ssubby. And by today's, I do mean like half a week ago. It's been a busy time, and I haven't had a chance to sit down and just write, you know?

I have a lot to say about this, but I promised myself I would write up these little brain dumps before I continue to the next book I read, and so I will!

One last meta thought: I added this book to my collection. Technically, that uses up the books I just read and discarded earlier. But you know, it's only one series, so that means I can get the rest of the series right away, right? Right. Look, it's different, I'm not going on a book shopping spree, I'm just buying this one series! I don't have a problem, you have a problem!

Anyway, spoilers ahead, per usual. Go read the whole series, then come back to me.

Just don't tell me any spoilers, I'm not that far yet!!

...

So yeah, this was definitely not the kind of book that spoon-feeds you terms. It's fun to have fantasy terms for things, but it can sometimes be annoying to have all the mystique destroyed by the narrator pausing every five seconds to explain that a smeerp is just like one of your Earth rabbits. A lot of my notes are just peppered with terms followed by question marks. I feel like it did a lot of getting me to crave the exposition by dangling it just out of reach, everyone except the POV character (and ME) knows what it means and they all have big feelings about it, but they won't tell me and I WANNA KNOW. This was most obvious for me with the term "sleigh beggy" for the main character. I wrote it with a question mark next to it twice in my notes before it's finally, FINALLY explained at almost the end of the first chapter.

Also a theme among my notes is how god damn cute this book is. (And admittedly, that may be because on finding the main character being auctioned off was a 15 year old girl who had clearly ended up in a bad situation... I kinda got swamped in feelings, and immediately wanted to see her taken care of.) Like, after that dark start, we almost immediately go to gentle affectionate stuff featuring her new mentor, who is taking her as an apprentice. THAT there wasn't too much of a wait for, which I was grateful on. And all the terms that he uses to refer to her are just too good - "fussing like a kitten", "little puppy"... She's precious, and I'm glad that he can see that!!

Oh yeah, and then at the end of the first chapter getting a little bit of a taste for the world. Or, well, I suppose we got a bit of a taste already thanks to the unpleasant auction scene at the beginning. But still, "even the things that seem nice can't be trusted" sort of thing. And at the very end, finding out what kinda scumbag is abducting high schoolers for auction... God, I've written so much and I'm only at the end of my first chapter's notes.

Although there was undoubtedly a good bit of comic relief stirred in the first chapter, I feel like the second did a better job of showing off the banter between the characters, since we did do some of the exposition already and so weren't rushing to show it off. But given how powerful the titular ancient magus is shown to be at various points, and how much power the main character has lying around, it's nice to see that the other characters sass him nigh-constantly.

Also something this book had in spades: Pretty things. I loved the crystal arms that the shop keeper is shown to have after her little mishap, but ogddamn, that field of crystal flowers that Chise whipped up was not only a cool way to demonstrate her power, but also PRETTY AF

And speaking of pretty things, I adore the number of pretty GNC boys in this book. Like, I'm gay as they come, but look, I don't mind appropriately pretty boys. And there are so many of them. Here's another one now: Simon, the pastor. (And again with the comedy.)

Chise's backstory is definitely full of feelings. But I feel like by and large we've gotten appropriate amounts of aftercare and such after looking back on her shitty abusive childhood. So I'm glad we're at least not overdoing it. And I like that although we're shown that the world is not a safe place, we're also hanging out with one of the sources of light in it - we may not yet know everything about Elias, but he has been courteous and sweet at every opportunity, and is already very protective of his apprentice, which I like. I love protective characters! And I'm liking that Chise is already starting to grow into someone that doesn't need protection, as well. "Passivity is unappealing," as Elias said earlier.

I'm not as much of a dragon simp as most people, but I really loved the handling of the dragon adventure. The undignified mouth-based abduction, Elias popping up, the old dragon consoling Chise and having a nice dream with her before offering her one of his branches once she's ready to take a wand... God. So many feelings. And the little chicks were so precious!! Chise should have gone gliding with them, anatomy be damned!

On the other hand, I definitely AM a cat simp. So the chapter with the cats went straight to my heart, especially, like... "That is my human, my pride and joy." God. I'm also a fan of any media that gives cats their nine lives as actual extra lives. The fact that they become wise and intelligent and able to talk is just icing on the cake!

It seems like we did finally get around to learning some intrigue and seeing some of that apprenticeship play out in the finale there, but then we were hanging off a cliff and the book was over already?! Anyway, naturally, I've already ordered the next book and I'm champing at the bit to read it once I finish this. Ssubby: You know how to pick 'em, that's for sure. I can't wait to see what the second book brings - she's been hyping it up and I am so impatient!

Until next time, book pals.

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