Earl and Fairy: A Cursed Diamond Imbued with Love

By Mizue Tani and Asako Takaboshi. Released in Japan as “Hakushaku to Yōsei” by Shueisha Cobalt Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Alexandra Owen-Burns.

Once again, as I read this series I am reminded just how far shoujo has come in the last twenty years, and how different it is. Everything going on between Edgar and Lydia in this series is intensely familiar to anyone who read the popular titles of the day back then… and yet it already feels like it’s from a hundred years ago, with Lydia’s inability to think anything but the worst of Edgar and his own inability to show Lydia what his love actually means feeling more frustrating than romantic. There’s also the “Lydia is kidnapped every volume, and threatened every volume, or both” problem. There’s consent issues. That said, once more, if you read this as a supernatural thriller and try to ignore the romance, there’s gold to be found here. Every volume brings a new creature that I have to google and find fascinating, and this one is no exception. We’re also getting a lot more contextualization about Edgar’s goals… and what he will and won’t do to get them.

Lydia is, unfortunately, at a society tea party, where she is forced to deal with a lot of hot gossip, most of it about Edgar, who now is rumored to have an entire harem of women. Of course, Lydia almost immediately believes this – if there’s one thing we know about Victorian England, it’s that rumors are true unless proven false. And, of course, Edgar *does* appear to be going to what is very carefully not described in this book as an opium den, but, well, is an opium den. He seems to be visiting a mysterious woman who lurks in a corner of the room… and he’s not the only one, as a marquess is also very interested in the same woman. What does this have to do with a paired diamond, black and white, which is mysteriously connected to Edgar’s family? And will Edgar and Lydia ever truly understand each other?

Edgar’s enemy in this, of course, is “The Prince”, and is trying to prove a closer heritage to being the future King of England than the current residents on the throne. Victoria is never mentioned here, nor is “Bertie”, the Prince of Wales at the time of this series (which seems to be set in a vague “somewhere between 1837-1901” time), but the general attitude of the bad guys is basically that they are, perhaps, not quite as British as one would like in a monarch. Perhaps a bit too Saxon. That said, I doubt we’re really going for any critique of the English monarchy here, but instead the series is using the time period as an obvious place where a large number of people would still believe in the fairies that are Lydia’s bread and butter, and who litter this series,. on both sides. Again, it’s all about the thriller.

The 6th book in the series is not scheduled yet, so there may be a bit of a break next. Perhaps it will allow Lydia to realize that not everything she hears about Edgar is true, and for Edgar to realize that confessing his love doesn’t amount to much if he has no future to offer her.

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