The Star of Sorrow by Sunao Yoshida (Trinity Blood: Reborn on the Mars #1)

Two vampires, Malice and Millis are out for blood and corner young Sasha who is understandably frightened of them. When a stranger promises to rescue her she wants to put all her trust in him, but can’t help but think he might not succeed. Malice and Millis don’t like who the stranger is as he is none other than a krusnic sent by the Vatican to put an end to the vampire menace sweeping the country. Krusniks are special vampires who only feed on other vampires, swearing to save humanity. These are the ultimate weapon. Once he turns up, they aren’t so cocky anymore. Father Abel Nightroad meets Sister Esther Blanchette at Istavan Central Station wishing he was somewhere better than here. He knows he is on business to also meet a man called Gyula Kadar, realising there is something about him that he finds unnerving. Bishop Vitez offers them a stay at Saint Matthias Church. Abel can’t help but think his superiors have tricked him into going to somewhere more dangerous than they said, and feels like a real fish out of water. Gyula is the Marquis of Hungary, and his clan are influential, and the death of his wife leaves him with a grudge against the humans, who are called Terrans who he thinks are to blame.

Sunao and Thores make a great team in this novel, the first in a series that cover Abel Nightroad's journeys and general life around the Vatican. There is the same amount of humour and camaraderie a reader would expect of a Sunao novel. With Abel and Esther as well as other characters they meet along the way. There is a nice touch where the characters get into all kinds of problems, giving the reader more of what they want.

The novel picks up on one of the early stories of Gyula Kadar and the burden he has to bear of his wife being murdered. He believes it was due to her relationship with him in the town, and the fact she was a human who had fallen in love with a vampire. His hatred of the Terrans makes him a villain of the plot, yet some would argue he was hurt at her death and wanted revenge on her murder.

So Gyula is not a normal textbook enemy by any means. The story is full of references to place names in the world of Trinity Blood, namely Istavan which gets mentioned mostly in this. Sunau has kept the book true to the graphic novels series, making the story interesting as well as shocking in places. Thores's artwork, mainly inked interior black and white plates in various intervals in the book are both illuminating and humorous, enhancing the overall look of the novel in a way that will be refreshing to the reader. Extras are at the end of the story in the form of a map of the world of Trinity Blood, complete with marked areas, place names, black and white plates of father Nightroad and Sister Esther, with poetry and mini posters of other manga novels. Trinity Blood: The Star of Sorrow is one hell of a book - deep, gripping and with art that defies belief.

9/10 One hell of a book: deep, gripping and with art that defies belief.

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