Spell of Desire Volume 1
Kaoruko is a woman who was raised by her grandmother. After her grandmother passed, Kaoruko decided to open up her own herb shop in the small town where she lives and things were going just fine up until strange things started happening. For some reason things and people were starting to be attracted to her in large numbers to the point of being overwhelming. That’s when a strange man dressed all in black arrived with the answer: Kaoruko is actually the daughter of a witch and her powers are starting to come out and unless he helps her learn to control them even stranger things are going to happen and her life will be danger.
The Good and the Bad
As you get into this book there are certain things that stand out right away. The first of which is the writing which is more than a little repetitive at best. While I didn’t keep a running tally of how many times each thing is mentioned, the sheer number of times that Kaoruko and Kaname remind the audience of her situation and his role in the story is staggering. Every couple of pages we are given a reminder that Kaoruko is the daughter of a witch and Kaname is there to protect her.
Then there are the personalities which leaves something to be desired. While I understand that this is a shoujo manga, author Tomu Ohmi really could’ve done a better job at creating lead characters which weren’t so static and dull. Throughout this entire first volume, Kaoruko plays the damsel in distress who needs to be saved and Kaname is literally a knight who swoops in to save her with a kiss which brings us back to the problem with repetitiveness.
Kaoruko is a woman with magical powers that are out of control. We get that because it is hammered into our heads every few pages. Kaname is there to save her which we also get. Did he really have to save her with passionate kisses every few pages though? At this moment in the story the female lead is nothing more than a sexual object who, while capable of running her shop, isn’t able to do much of anything without the help of her man/savior. While I am hopeful that she is going to grow and change over the course of the story, this first volume does nothing to make me really want to root for her.
There are decent elements to the story which are minor at best. It’s nice to see a heroine who is an adult for a change as opposed to a high school student who is still finding her way through life and discovering who she is. Kaoruko is a full grown woman who thought that she knew who she was up until Kaname appears a couple of pages into the volume.
The one thing that I can wholeheartedly praise about this book is the artwork. The character designs are absolutely amazing to look at if not a little cliche. Both the lead characters are beautiful people and drawn with loving care on each page. I particularly loved the way that Kaoruko was given different styles of dress and the way her hair would change to fit different moments and moods. It is little things like this that made her feel more alive rather than just being an image drawn on a page.
While I am optimistic that Spell of Desire is going to get better as it goes on, at this moment I can’t recommend this series to anyone. The characters are just dull cliches and the writing is repetitive and annoying. If you’re really looking for a new romance there are better books out there.
Final Grade: C