Manga-ka: You Higuri
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: December 2007
Synopsis: “Driven apart despite their desperate efforts to stay together, Chiaro and Lucrezia continue to love each other from afar. Balancing Cesare’s dark scheming and Lucrezia’s second forced marriage are a deep secret, a surprising ally and the faintest glimmer of hope for the future. Will Chiaro return to Italy to save his love – even if it means killing Cesare?”
Quite a bit happens here in volume nine of Cantarella. Having escaped from his torments, Chiaro roams injured through the woods seeking salvation while Lucrezia carries his child within her, but is told by her brother, Cesare, that Chiaro is dead. That’s only the tip of the iceberg in this event-filled volume.
How cruel can you be? While a lot of the time Lucrezia has gotten on my nerves for her teary damsel in distress attitude, volumes like this keep reminding me just how different the era is which confines her to such a state. After giving birth to her and Chiaro’s child, the infant is quickly stolen away for execution. Cesare orders Lucrezia locked away, tells her that her love is dead then orders her to be married to a Duke, her friend Sancia’s bother, for political purposes. For his part however, the Duke is thankfully not like many of the men this series has been home to.
The Duke of Bisceglie, Signor Alfonso D’Aragon is a kind-hearted man who doesn’t wish to cause Lucrezia any harm, nor go against his own heart. The two are wed under just such an assurance but Cesare discovers this and the Duke finds himself in a precarious position. It’s so refreshing having another me-proclaimed good guy in this story, which is home to so many ruthless, two-faced individuals. The last third of the book takes readers back to the youth of Alfonso and Sancia. It’s told from Alfonso’s perspective, and gives personal insight into his love for his sister and what Sancia went through in her youth that left her as she is today.
You Higuri’s artwork remains breathtaking in this manga format. The detail in the characters is impressive, from distinct facial features to remarkable work on their clothing and hair. The backdrops are also drawn with impeccable detail, completely immersing readers in the story’s era.
Come the final page, it’s another riveting volume of Cantarella. I’d say I enjoyed this one more than recent previous volumes as well since a lot of solid events occurred. Sure they weren’t good ones but they were a lot easier to understand than pages of political who-done-its and whose-gonna-do-its. Readers of the series won’t be disappointed by this entrancing, bittersweet release.