After the end of Black Rose 1, I had wondered where this would go with the change in time/setting to 2008 Tokyo. Would Azusa/Agnieszka wake up pining after Koya for another four chapters? Oddly enough, by the middle, I was a bit worried it had turned into a reverse harem ‘cute boys working at a cafe’ cliche with very little character development. But then a sweet little twist dropped at the end and all was good in Black Rose Alice land.
Story: Azusa wakes up from her dreams of Koya and tries her best in Agnieszka’s body. The bargain has been kept, Dmitri has saved Koya, and Azusa must move on. Renamed Alice, the 26 year old within a 16 year old body learns she is to be a queen of a small nest of vampires – and must eventually choose one with whom she will propagate. Dmitri removes himself from the competition but Alice will find that things are not all they seem in Dmitri’s world as the boys hope to win her favor.
This second volume lacked a lot of the dark edge of the first. Admittedly, I was disappointed to see Azusa pretty much turn into a 16 year old and lose a lot of her maturity in the process. Koya is mentioned in the beginning but then jettisoned quickly in favor of the cute vampire boys.
The book covers the first year of Azusa in Alice’s body. She had to get to know the boys with whom she lives and is taking her time trying to figure out which she favors. Although not necessarily repugnant to have to mate with one of the boys, she still sees the situation from the perspective of keeping her end of the bargain.
There was enough at the end to keep me reading but I am hoping this keeps its gothic horror edge in future volumes and doesn’t get bogged down by the harem aspects. That would be a waste after the promise of book 1.
Reviewed from an ARC.