Title: Queen of Ragtonia Vol 1
Author: Chika Shiomi
May Contain Spoilers
This book comes across as a total tease. It weighs in at only about 150 pages, so the story is just starting to get rolling when you get to the end. Worse, there is that disheartening little question mark about whether any additional volumes will be released. In addition, it looks like Chika Shiomi is taking her sweet time releasing new installments of this series. That’s a bit of a letdown, because it was fun seeing her tackle a fantasy story. There are still demons, which she seems to have a fondness for, but the setting is strictly in the fantasy realm, complete with displaced princesses, conquered castles, and great big magical swords.
Princess Falna watched helplessly as an evil necromancer and his demon minions killed her family and overran her kingdom. Left unable to walk after her legs are stolen, she joins forces with Cardus, a giant of a man who also has a bone to pick with the Necromancer. Wielding the magic sword the Igliese, the two set off in search of their enemy. In addition to creating havoc and leaving a path of destruction, the Necromancer also steals people’s body parts, turning them into Ragtonia. Both Falna and Cardus have had bits of themselves stolen away, and they want back what is theirs. Working together, they just might find the strength to end the terror of the Necromancer.
Right of the bat, Queen of Ragtonia feels different from her other series, because the romance angle is largely missing. Falna makes a pact with a ghostly warrior and after allowing him to possess her, she finds the strength to face the Necromancer and his demons. Acting more like a man than a woman, Falna is still haunted by her inability to save her family. She is plagued with nightmares, because she stood by and did nothing while they were being slaughtered and her kingdom was subdued. Now everyone is suffering, and she feels responsible for the downfall of her homeland.
Enter Cardus, a carefree villager in search of his stolen eye. A demon tricked him and made off with it, and now the Necromancer is feeding off of his life force. The Necromancer gains strength with each body part that is stolen, and he feeds on the life force of all of the helpless victims who have also had their body parts stolen. When Cardus first meets Falna, he is dismissive of her ability to fight the Necromancer, but it turns out that he needs her with him, or the magical sword Iglieses is useless. It is only effective if someone from her bloodline is in possession of it, so the two quickly join forces and go necromancer hunting together.
Chika Shiomi’s trademark art carries most of this volume. I love her refined and detailed her illustrations. You never have to guess about what’s going on, as all of the action is rendered with clear, clean lines that are as attractive as they are descriptive. The story doesn’t really pick up stride until the end, and as mentioned before, that is too bad, because I don’t know if I’ll ever get to read more of Queen of Ragtonia. There is a lot of set up to the story, and the groundwork is just getting laid out before reaching the end of this short volume. The pace is fairly even, but the crafting of a convincing framework for this type of story takes a while to get the reader ramped up for the upcoming adventure.
I enjoyed Queen of Ragtonia, but I feel that there are few problems, independent of the book, that need to be solved. The most glaring of which is whether the US publisher is going to be around to release further installments of the series. As a stand alone volume, this does not deliver a compelling enough reason to pick it up. If, however, future volumes were forthcoming, I would be much stronger with my recommendation to give Queen of Ragtonia a try.
Review copy provided by Aurora