If you read my review of Twilight you might remember that I found myself wanting the book to be about Carlyle. His struggle to understand himself, to make a home for himself among humans without giving into his thrust for human blood. I knew that struggle was far more compelling than the love story between Edward and… oh… it’s been a while since I read it. The block of wood. Bella, that was it! Bella.
Anyway, ever since I read that book I have been on something of a quest to find this story done in a respectful, thoughtful manner that addresses the damage this kind of relationship would cause, as well as the way both parties would have to change for it even remotely healthy for either of them.
Well, I had to cross half the world of literature, but I found it! The story of an dark and mysterious ancient creature that takes a teenage girl into his magical world, and gives that story the weight it deserves.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Author: Kore Yamazaki
Chise (pronounced: Chee-seh) is a teenage girl who sees things. Strange things. Supernatural things. She comes to discover that the power to see supernatural things is very rare, and many magicians will pay a high price for a servant who can see magic. having no family, and nowhere to go, she sells herself into slavery and wonders who will buy her on the magic black market.
Chise is bought by the Throne Magus, Elis. Who destroys her chains, and welcomes her into his home as his new apprentice. His servant Silkie, fawns over Chise. Elis promises to teach her about magic and her powers. Then he asks her to be his bride. . . Wait What?!
This story is strange to say the least. Sure, supernatural stuff is happening all around, but more that that: Elis fluctuates between the extremes of being cold and being clingy. Chise practically has a death wish, and Silkie… needs a friend. Everyone keeps running out of the house and leaving her all alone!
Don’t even get me started on Ruth! Ruth is why dogs will always be better than cats!
What makes me respect this series is the fact that the supporting cast calls out how creepy, weird and unhealthy this relationship is! Yamazaki does a great job crafting two people so broken that, for them, this weird relationship makes them better, stronger people.
It’s even stranger if you know the Shinto philosophy/Celtic lore that inspired Yamazaki. Throughout the series we have a Banshee becoming a Brownie, a goofy Oberon, a cutesy Selkie, and a main villain so obscure in folklore, I had to look him up in Britannica!
Do you know how much that hurt? I’m a mythology nerd and I had too look him up!
All in all I really like this series, and I would recommend this series if you know what you are getting into. This is not your wish fulfillment fantasy boyfriend, It’s a story about a bunch of broken people, forming a little family and being not quite so broken.