Title: Two Flowers for the Dragon Vol 5
Author: Nari Kusakawa
May Contain Spoilers
Shakuya is still troubled when she thinks that she could have lost Kuwan during the battle at the Oasis of the Shade. Only luck and the timely intervention of her father saved his life. When she receives a tip on the whereabouts of the man suspected in the attempted assassination of Lucien, the three head off to a neighboring village in search of some answers. What they get is danger and plots years in the making, both of which threaten to break Shakuya’s heart.
Nari Kusakawa, how could you?! How could you have taken everything I have come to understand about the people in Two Flowers for the Dragon and turned it shockingly askew? The comfortable truths that I had come to believe turned out to be mere illusions, and now I, too, feel betrayed! You played me with this one, and that’s just wrong!
I am still mourning the end of The Palette of 12 Secret Colors, though new volumes of Two Flowers for the Dragon bring a smile to my face. The series isn’t as light-hearted, but it still provides some solid entertainment. It’s about a girl who can transform into a dragon, and if that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is. Despite her awesome ability, Shakuya still has some problems to sort out. She is the most gifted of her bloodline, but she only has a tenuous control over her powers. When her emotions get the better of her, she changes into a dragon and rages out of control. She would never do anything to intentionally harm others, but when you’re a huge, emo dragon, sometimes people are going to get hurt. Shakuya has friends and family to help keep her powers in check, and chief among them is Kuwan.
Kuwan is another of the complications that Shakuya has cluttering up her life. Not only Kuwan, but also Lucien, create some grief from the young woman. They are both fiancés, and she is supposed to choose between them with the help of magical tattoos on her hands that grow with her love. Originally betrothed to Lucien, she became engaged to Kuwan after Lucien’s mysterious disappearance. After she falls in love with Kuwan, Lucien reappears, adding unsettling baggage to her life. What is soon obvious to Lucien is that Shakuya is hopelessly in love with Kuwan, though he valiantly continues to try to win her affections.
This volume kicks up the complications even further. When Shakuya and Kuwan are caught sharing tender moment together, Lucien is none too pleased. This scene was unsettling, because I thought Kuwan acted out of character, revealing a hint of a darker personality. This proved to be an ominous foreshadowing of a tragic event that tears apart Shakuya’s dreams. While Kuwan and Lucien have always had an uneasy friendship, their relationship seemed more of a good-natured competition than an all out war for Shakuya’s affections. Here, Kuwan displays that he is a lot more sly and scheming than was previously in evidence.
When Kuwan and her father go missing, Shakuya and Lucien go searching for them. What they find is not what either could have ever expected, and it rattles both of them to the core. I have to admit that I was shocked, and I never saw this plot twist coming. Ugh. I didn’t like it one bit, and the wait for the next volume will be agony.
This fifth volume packs a lot of storytelling into its pages. Questions about both Lucien and Kuwan’s pasts are uncovered, there’s swordplay with cloaked villains, and Lupina, fast becoming a favorite character, even gets in on the action by tossing pots at enemy fighters. What’s not quite so fun are the shocking discoveries that Shakuya makes during the search for her father and Kuwan, which makes her realize just how painful love can be.
With Two Flowers for the Dragon, Nari Kusakawa dishes up an entertaining story featuring magic, mystery, and romance. She is one of the most underrated artists out there, so if you haven’t given her a chance yet, there’s no time like the present. You won’t be sorry!
Review copy provided by CMX