Rummanah Aasi
  I've fallen a bit behind in my reading pile. Thankfully, this is a long weekend for me so I can get caught up or better yet, get ahead. Thanks to the awesome Interlibrary Loan staff at my public library, I was able to get my hands on Black Butler Vol 4 and Black Butler Vol 5! This manga series is so unusual from the ordinary manga series that I've read so far. If you are looking for something that's a bit dark, mysterious, and funny, do check this series by Yana Toboso out!

Description (from Amazon): London - the capital of the Great Empire - is once again under siege, as a string of bizarre attacks on British citizens returned from India sends rumors flying and casts a pall upon Queen Victoria's rule. Sent in by Her Majesty, young Earl Phantomhive and his most capable butler, Sebastian, follow a trail that collides head-on with an Indian youth who claims to be a prince. And this prince possesses an extraordinary butler of his own! As an intense rivalry between the two butlers begins to form, will the kitchen be the dueling duo's final battleground?!

Review: I've really been enjoying the Black Butler series. The art is amazing, the characters are consistent, mysterious, brooding, and aren't only what they appear. Each volume I've read so far mixes serious moments with humor and a thrilling and engaging plot. Although I felt the Jack the Ripper story arc ended a bit too quickly for me, I was curious which direction the author was going to take the story when she introduced two Indians at the very end of Volume 3. 
  As most of you know, Victorian England was at the height of the British Empire. Imperalistic viewpoints of class and racism are evident. The author tackles the same issues in volume 4. When we begin this volume, we are faced with a series of attacks where British citizens returning from India are stripped and hung upside-down outside Indian pubs in London. Attached to each victim is a letter insulting the English. Since these attack point out the weakness of the royal family, Scotland Yard and Earl Ciel Phantomhive are on the case to solve the mystery.
  Readers discover that the Phantomhive family works as a shadow, detective-like agency for the Queen and uses the "dark" magic to effectively eliminate the problem without bringing it to the attention of the public. We also learn about the two Indian men who take front stage of this volume, Prince Soma and his loyal butler Agni. Prince Soma and Agni work well contrasting Ciel and Sebastian. Whereas the 12 year old Earl is aloof, responsible, and introverted, Prince Soma is flamboyant, childish, and solely focused on bringing back a servant girl named Meena back to India. Sebastian is a butler with dark supernatural powers yet Agni seems to have somewhat supernatural powers of his own. 
  I was captivated by how well the author incorporates some aspects of Hinduism and Indian culture in this volume, which she brings to life as she delves a little deeper into Agni's background of how he became Prince Soma's butler. This manga is very quirky and unpredictable so the shift between a serious hate crime quickly unfolds to a cooking contest between the two butlers didn't really surprise me all that much but I'm sure it shocked Sebastian a little bit! Sebastian has finally found a competent competitor. I"m looking forward to how the cooking contest unfolds. May the best cook win! 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and violence. Rated OT for Older Teens.

If you like this book try: Black Butler Vol 5 by Yana Toboso, Godchild or the Cain Saga by Kaori Yuki
2 Responses
  1. This honestly intrigues me because the plot seems out of left field at times - that alone is fascinating, especially because it seems to have worked. Fabulous thoughts. Great review!

  2. Awesome review! I love the artwork on the cover and the plot sounds really good too.

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