Kanjin hardly view their servants as human. Even less so when they are different.
Asagi is different. Both a man and a woman.
In the wake of his failure to protect a boy he saw as a son from their abusive master, Asagi is sold into the house of a young nobleman, Mahiro, who is the opposite of everything Asagi has ever known—gentle, kind, and generous.
Mahiro bonds with Asagi and their friendship blooms into a deep and profound love. But when Asagi is poisoned out of jealousy, Mahiro reveals himself to be youkai, a demon who feeds on blood, and he has no choice but to turn Asagi to save their life.
Asagi awakes reborn, strong, and eternally youthful. But the price for Asagi’s new life is high.
The blood of the innocent. Just as Asagi’s trust in Mahiro falters, the boy he failed to protect, now a man, reappears.
New master, same threat.
With both a literal and proverbial monster at the door, Asagi must decide what it means to be human to protect what they love most.
Content Warnings: physical abuse, sexual abuse (off-page), self-harm, blood, graphic violence
Goodreads: Bloodlaced (Youkai Bloodlines #1) by Courtney Maguire
Rating: 5 stars
*I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review*
Asagi is born into a life of slavery. He is abused not only for his low position, but also for being different. When he and a young boy, Tsukito, are sold to a new master, Asgai resolves to protect the child that he quickly begins to view as his son. However, events rapidly spin out of his control and Asagi is devastated when he sold again, leaving Tsukito behind. Asagi’s new master is unlike any that he has ever known before. Mahiro is gentle, kind and treats him as an equal. Quickly feelings develop between them, but Mahiro is hiding a dark secret. One that ultimately costs Asagi everything.
First of all, I have to say how much I loved this novel. It is a dark, beautifully written Japanese vampire novel with an array of different characters to love or loathe! The first half of the novel is setting the scenes and you learn a lot about Asagi as a character and his struggles. To begin with he lacks belief in himself and that there can ever be something better for him. It was beautiful to read how he came into his own as the novel progressed.
The second half focuses on Asagi learning the truth about Mahiro and the fall out from this. It is here when things become a lot darker. I very much enjoyed how the vampire lore was incorporated but also interweaving Japanese legends into this. The author has a very sound knowledge of Japan, the mythology and the culture, which shines through in their work.
I loved this novel so much and cannot wait to read further books in the series.