Earl Cain Hargreaves is one strange duck. A member of the British aristocracy, this teen lives with his manservant, Riff, collects strange and rare poisons, and spends his off hours solving gruesome crimes, often perpetrated by people he knows or is related to. Set in a fantastically gothic Edwardian Britain, the crimes solved by Cain include a jilted bride who comes back from the dead, a hypnotized heiress, and a suicide — or is it?

The Cain Saga is a five-volume prequel to the Godchild series launched in the first issue of Viz Media’s Shojo Beat magazine. Introducing Earl Cain Hargreaves, this collection of gothic murder mystery stories stumbles as it tries to decide in which direction to go. The mysteries are plodding and obvious and the characters are shallow. Only three of the five stories in the book have anything to do with Cain and the best of the lot is a ten page short added in, almost as an afterthought, at the back of the book. The series originally debuted in Japan back in 1990 and it is clear that this is some of the mangaka’s early work. Unless you have a love of all things gothic, start reading about Earl Cain in the Godchild series and come back to The Cain Saga only if you have a burning need to read the characters’ back stories. Although there is nothing to warrant such a high rating in this volume, the series is rated M, for mature readers.

The Cain Saga, vol. 1
By Kaori Yuki
ISBN: 9781591169758
VIZ , 2006

  • Eva

    | She/her Supervising Children’s Librarian, Alameda Free Library

    Editor and Review Coordinator

    Eva Volin is Supervising Children’s Librarian for the Alameda (CA) Free Library. She cowrote “Good Comics for Kids: Collecting Graphic Novels for Young Readers” for Children & Libraries and is a contributor to the forthcoming ALSC Popular Picks for Young Readers. She has served as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics. She has also served on several YALSA committees, including Great Graphic Novels for Teens and the Michael L. Printz Award. Eva is a regular contributor to School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog and is an occasional reviewer for Booklist.

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