Author: Yamila Abraham
Artist: M.A. Sambre
Publisher: Yaoi Press
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: October 2007
Synopsis: “A gothic and macabre tale of twisted royalty and demonic deities… The nobleman Lowry came to find out why Prince Davon murders boys whose names start with the letter A. He discovers a myriad of royal secrets: incest, demon worship, matricide… but still no answers on why Davon kills. Or why he stops killing when he finds a desperate boy named Aeon.”
Dark Prince is a twisted tale of royalty, reincarnation and skewed sexual desire. The beautiful Prince Davon has for years been killing boys eight years younger than him whose names begin with the letter A. His Father wishes him to be King over his stepbrother so a nobleman named Lowry is asked to investigate and discover the secrets behind Prince Davon’s murderous deeds.
Admittedly I found the specifics, when I first read them, behind Prince Davon’s victims to be a tad silly and wasn’t sure how well the story would explain it. Instead the woven fabric of this tale and its numerous characters impressed me. The story has its own mythology, similar (as in referenced in the dialogue) to Greek myths, and its truth is brought to life through Davon’s revealed servitude to a demon God. Though there’s a lot I’d like to comment on about the story, mentioning too much would ruin the surprises of learning it for yourself. Suffice to say, there’s quite a bit to take in but it’s worth the attention required.
Despite his key position in the plot, I hadn’t thought that Prince Davon would take such a central role. At first I was a little annoyed as his personality felt too stale to be someone I thought could carry the story. Forgive my first impressions because by the end, after some nicely laid out back story, I came to like Prince Davon and look forward to seeing what his future holds and how it’ll affect the other characters, such as the pretty young Aeon or Davon’s loving step-brother, Lor.
Though at times the pacing felt a little odd, and cuts between past and present events were often a blurred line that tripped me up a few times, I really love the story here. What also impresses me is that, as a yaoi story, sex plays an integral role though unlike similar books, the story doesn’t fall in second to the sex and instead they work together in a unique, though twisted, manner.
M.A. Sambre’s art is really nice, I was both pleased and impressed. While sometimes the art felt a bit inconsistent, overall it was a pretty polished piece of work. The panel layout did feel a little uneven but I’m not sure if this falls to the artist or the author, so I’ll leave the comment at that. The characters are beautiful, bishonen at their finest (though admittedly sometimes too much for their own good ala the facial hair), and I loved all the detail work on the clothing and backgrounds.
In the end, the story may not be the best laid out, and certain events I think would’ve benefited from a different order, but at its core, Dark Prince, volume one, made for a fun read. The artwork and storytelling meshed together nicely and I was genuinely interested in all that had transpired when I came to the final page. I’m glad I’ve got book two awaiting me on my book pile and hope that I enjoy it just as much as the first.