Akaoni: Contract with a Vampire
I was supplied this ebook by Cross Infinite World in exchange for an honest review.
Why did I start reading it? Akaoni was the first of cross infinite titles I was interested in and you can mainly account that the Cho's review on her English Light Novel blog. I ended up putting it off after entering a review relationship with Cross Infinite as was excited to try their other books. Lately, I got to the end of my book queue and finally had time for it.
What is it? A shoujo light novel where our heroin Azusa is kidnapped by vampires and finds out that the nature of her birth isn't exactly what she thought. She discovers a secret vampire society, the issues of their dying existence and the part her life plays in it all.
What are the characters like? The characters are all pretty likeable. To start off with many come across as a typical trope but there are some scenes or some small details about their relationships mainly that set them apart slightly from the norm.
Anyone particularly cool? I have three characters I that drew me into the book the most. One I can't talk about without spoiling so I'll avoid him. The other two are our main protagonists Azusa and Kouya. I was a bit sceptical of Kouya in the beginning. Comming from a generation whose first thought of vampire romance is 'eww Twilight' I was worried when he seemed like a typical broody guy. It wasn't until later scenes from his point of view that I came to understand why he acted the way he did and after that, I came to like his character and the way he starts to develop slowly through the book as Azusa wares down at his guarded heart. Azusa herself is my favourite though. This girl is insane! She gets kidnapped and what does she do? starts baking cause she's bored. I wish I could have as much chill as this girl in a kidnapping situation. She's forceful, stubborn and strong, a protagonist I was entertained to follow because even if she might be the weakest character in the book due to being human it would be a crime to underestimate what she's capable of.
What's the bad news? It can be a little slow at times, especially at the start but with the situation Azusa finds herself in I don't think there is any way around that issue. I'll also say as cool as Azusa is she is a bit hard to relate to, at least for me and it leaves me lacking a relatable viewpoint in the story, especially when we are learning about the vampire's through her. The story was still interesting but this viewpoint would have drawn me in more, though I feel like it wouldn't fit in with the cast of characters anymore.
And the good news? I didn't know much about Akaoni going in and I'm glad I didn't. It hit you right away with plot points that are interesting and made me want to read on, developing the idea through the book with interesting...not quite twists, but developments on the idea. The character development was handled really well too. Kouya and one other character quickly changed from characters I either hated or was wary of, into my top 3 and the detail put into their characters makes me curious what the author has planned for the characters I don't know much about yet. I'm especially curious about Subaru at the moment. The art was well placed in this too and captured some really cool looking moments not just focusing on the romance or silly scenes which is a relief. Lastly, just a bit of personal preference but I liked that it was cut up into smaller chapters. The chapter count is 66 but they are all bite-sized chunks which made it easy to pick up and read on the go.
Would you recommend? Yes. It was slow to start off with but I enjoyed Akaoni and am curious to read on. I think those who were looking for a vampire romance might be disappointed as that part of the story is a slow burn but for some supernatural shoujo, I think it's great!
For those looking for more romance I'd suggest none other than I Became The Secretary of a Hero! You can find my review here.