The Adventures of Young Det 2 by Gyojeong Kwon: A-

The prologue that began in volume one continues and is concluded in this second volume. It’s the story of Lazarus, an immensely talented human sorcerer, and the Ferat, leader of a race of seers whose prophecies always come true. As the rest of the world begins to react to the prediction that a great dragon will be summoned to lay waste to the world, Lazarus and the Ferat remain holed away, enjoying their magic lessons and each other’s company. They’re largely oblivious to the fact that sorcerers are being targeted by frightened humans seeking to prevent the summoning of the dragon, and are caught unawares when an attack is launched against the Ferat and the people she leads.

One of the things I like most about The Adventures of Young Det is how even little things can turn out to be important. For example, Lazarus and the Ferat each have a magical specialty and talk a lot about the specifics of high-level spells within their disciplines, which makes sense for a plot featuring an exchange of magical knowledge. However, it turns out that understanding how these spells work is also crucial to appreciating the prologue’s surprising outcome.

The main story begins in the second half of the volume. Det and Osen are two young men living in a secluded village. Det, in particular, is restless and can’t abide the notion of settling down there, inheriting the family shop, and never doing anything special. In the final chapter, they set off on their journey.

At first, I’d wondered why Kwon began the series with a prologue, but now I see the advantages. When Det and Osen encounter a woman who is clearly descended from the Ferat’s people, for example, we readers recognize her for what she is. Too, making it so firmly clear that the Ferat’s prophecies always come true makes it seem possible that the heroes’ quest, whenever they actually embark upon it, might actually fail, which is seldom a real concern in typical fantasy fiction.

Compelling characters, surprising plot twists, beautiful art, politics, magic, romance, and tragedy… If any appeals to you, then you should be reading The Adventures of Young Det.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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