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Gorgeous Carat 1: Virtue of Darkness (Yaoi)…
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Gorgeous Carat 1: Virtue of Darkness (Yaoi) (edició 2006)

de You Higuri

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2011106,412 (3.65)3
Florian and his mother are in a bit of a spot as their once rich aristocrat family has fallen into poverty. The family was entrusted with the Flame of Mughal, a 120 carat diamond. This diamond also, however, is said to be cursed and to bring misfortune to those who seek it.
Membre:alicetea
Títol:Gorgeous Carat 1: Virtue of Darkness (Yaoi)
Autors:You Higuri
Informació:Blu (2006), Paperback
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
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Gorgeous Carat, Volume 1 de You Higuri

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This review was originally written for the website ListerX.com, which is now defunct. It can also be found on my blog, The Graphic Librarian.

Cover
The front cover features our two main characters Florian and Ray, both posed stylishly just as they are on the original Japanese cover. The picture itself, however, seems slightly blurry, as if it's been resized just a little larger than it should have been. In addition, I think the font chosen for the title was a poor choice, given the time period and subject matter. Something with a few more curves would have been preferable because, although the blocky letters do look vaguely like cut gems, they still create the wrong 'feel' for the cover that's hard to ignore. In addition, I still haven't decided exactly how I feel about the logo plastered in the lower right hand corner, but I tend to think that if it's something that doesn't need to be on the cover and it's masking original cover art, then it's not really a good thing. Amusingly enough, about the only thing I really liked were the small sparkles used to embellish the title and volume information.

Artwork
I have to admit, I've always been a huge fan of Yuu Higuri's, even before I could read what she was writing. Her art always does an excellent job of placing you right in the middle of whatever time period she's writing about. Granted, I don't know much about turn-of-the-century Paris, so there may be anachronisms that I don't recognize, but it all still feels remarkably real. The backgrounds and costuming are all perfectly done to set the scene. Also, I know for a fact, based on interviews I've read, that she does a lot of research for her period books. In fact, that's all part of the fun for her. Another thing I like is Higure's ability to make all of her characters very distinct. In some manga, the characters all look the same except for some mild hair alterations, but in Higure's work everyone is obviously different from everyone else. The only real downside to her art is the inconsistency when it comes to backgrounds. Sometimes they're remarkably elaborate with lots of research going into the details and then other times they're so plain that you're almost left wondering if it's the same artist drawing them. Nevertheless, the art is still stunningly smooth - pulling you seamlessly back into another era, something not easily accomplished with or without research.

Plot
**Possible Spoilers Warning**

The story begins by quickly introducing our main characters - Florian, the only son of a penniless noble family and Ray Balzac Courland, a mysterious young man with a penchant for jewels. In fact, it's his desire to possess rare and priceless stones that leads to his first meeting with Florian, who's family's final treasure is a 120-carat diamond known as the Flame of Mughal - the only possession his mother refuses to part with. In a dangerous bid to obtain the infamous gem, Ray offer's Florian's mother an impossible decision - to give up the stone (her last claim to nobility) or her only son. Unable to bear his mother's anguish, Florian accepts Ray's offer. However, neither man has any idea how much trouble they'll wind up causing each other. After only one agonizing day in Ray's possession Florian discovers his mother has been murdered and as her only son and heir he's the main suspect. Florian, having uncovered Ray's true profession as a master thief, suspects his captor of the crime and quickly escapes to seek out the truth. However, things are not always as they seem and before all is said and done Florian will find that the line between "ally" and "enemy" is very thin indeed.

In this volume's second story, Florian, who now has no home to return to, decides to remain with Ray, but refuses to be treated like a possession. This naturally infuriates Ray, but Florian doesn't let it phase him and defies Ray outright by offering the use of Ray's home to a small child named Noel, who's being ruthlessly pursued for reason's unknown. Furious with Florian for his disobedience, Ray refuses to help Noel in any way. Unfortunately, Florian has a penchant for getting himself into more trouble than he can handle and by the time Ray decides to intervene it may be too late for even the infamous Phantom Thief to be of any help.

Note: After finishing my review I realized I'd somehow managed to leave out my two favorite characters. The first is Laila, Ray's retainer (AKA his #1 servant.) She's plucky, funny and so obviously in love with Ray that you can't help but feel for her. The second character is my TOTAL favorite (and also Ray's antagonistic counterpart), Solomon Sugar. He used to be a police inspector until his obsessive pursuit of the Phantom Thief ruined his career. Now he's a P.I. and thoroughly convinced that Ray Balzac Courland is the infamous thief - finding proof to back up his theory consumes him. Intelligent, gorgeous and with a tongue like quicksilver, Solomon is Ray's perfect counterpart in every way (and the banter that goes on between the two men is absolutely priceless!)

Content Warnings
Language = If it exists, it's mild enough that I didn't notice it while reading.

Violence = Yes, people getting shot, crushed, whipped, etc., but none of it was graphic.

Nudity = One bare-breasted Hindu statue, but that's as close as it gets.

Sexual Situations = None.

Ratings
Cover - 6/10 - Blurriness, poor font choices and a big logo ruin what could have been a very nice cover.

Artwork - 7.5/10 - The historical detail is amazing and the characters are wonderfully drawn. Detail-consistency is the only thing that would make it better.

Plot - 7.5/10 - Episodic, yet still engaging. With so many multi-layered characters there's a lot of potential for the future volumes.

Overall - 7/10 - Well written and beautifully illustrated - if you like historical mysteries (especially with a shonen-ai twist), you'll love this series. ( )
  purpledragon42 | Oct 9, 2009 |
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Florian and his mother are in a bit of a spot as their once rich aristocrat family has fallen into poverty. The family was entrusted with the Flame of Mughal, a 120 carat diamond. This diamond also, however, is said to be cursed and to bring misfortune to those who seek it.

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