downloadIn this high fantasy yaoi, cursed swords and epic quests combine with forbidden love and passionate sex. Prince Valdirgr, known as Vlad, has taken up a demon-cursed sword in order to save his people. Though wielding the sword wins the war, its curse takes hold, turning Vlad into a demon by night. At first, he can be chained up and kept from harm, but it’s clear that the demon will gain more and more power until it controls the prince completely. To avoid this fate, Vlad sets out to find the magician Halvir, known as Havi, the only one who might be able to break the spell. Havi is not so magnanimous as to agree and, instead, he promises to keep the sword and prince under control in exchange for payment.

Havi soon discovers that the best way to control the demon is to have sex with it all night—but the prince does not remember what happens while he is in demon form. During the day, Vlad seems a little uptight as he shies away from his unexpected attraction to another man. As the series progresses, the magician begins to care about the prince, and the prince begins to accept his attraction to the magician. Vlad even begins to remember and reconcile the two halves of himself, demon and mortal.

Everyone is drawn beautifully, with cascading locks and sculpted pecs. Havi and Vlad are both classic Boys Love types, tall and lean with well-defined abs and long, flowing hair. Vlad is dark-haired and Havi is light-haired (though it’s unclear whether his hair is blonde or silver). In terms of dress, Havi tends toward wizard robes, while Vlad’s look might be described as “Disney prince.” He almost resembles Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid: boots to the knee, cuffed pants, a shirt laced closed, and a sword at his side. In contrast, Vlad’s demon form has some serious claws and sharp teeth. 

This series is hot and heavy with a captivating plot, although it takes a few volumes to fully develop the story. Volume one is fast-paced, as Yamane sets up the story, but afterwards, the pacing evens out. From book two, the actual world-building and storytelling begin and the characters have time to grow. Although the story flows fairly well, sometimes I found the x-rated sex scenes a little jarring when I really wanted to know more about some plot point, like the couple’s bunny-like companion Rulca. The sex scenes are very graphic, up to and including full penetration with a bondage element. However, the sex fits the premise, no matter how far-fetched that premise may be, and yaoi aficionados will likely adore this new entry to the genre.

Crimson Spell, vols. 1-5
by Ayano Yamane
Vol. 1 ISBN: 9781421564210
Vol 2 ISBN: 9781421564227
Vol 3 ISBN: 9781421564234
Vol 4 ISBN: 9781421564241
Vol 5 ISBN: 9781421567655
SuBLime Manga, 2013-2014
Publisher Age Rating: Adult

  • Emma Weiler

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support!

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