Monster and the Beast Volume 1
The premise of Monster and the Beast is a bit demented, but in ways that are right up my alley. It’s a man/monster love story where opposites (very opposite) attract.
Cavo, a lonely forest monster, rescues an older man, described as “slightly eccentric” (an immense understatement), from being raped by his traveling companions and guides. Liam, the man, turns out to have quite the appetite, hitting on the monster first thing and objecting to the idea of having sex with the three other men only on the basis that they were going to hurt him to do it. He’s the “beast” of the title, as he’s a “glutton for pleasure”.
He’s also wandering around the forest in a waistcoat, cloak, and leather gloves, and he’s quite open about his intentions. It’s an unusual character, one I haven’t seen before in manga but liked watching. His forthright expressiveness is a strong contrast with Cavo, who’s never even had a conversation with someone before, since his demonic appearance scares off even other monsters. That provides humor as well as drama, as Liam can be very self-centered, which confuses and saddens Cavo.
Liam is being pursued by something, which creates an ongoing story, and doesn’t want to settle down. Cavo shies away from Liam’s bluntness, but they grow on each other as they travel together. Later, they visit a town, where Liam’s approach to everything is flirting, and the danger ramps up, creating a cliffhanger to lead into the second volume. I’m impressed that this is author Renji’s first series, created because “if it didn’t exist, I’d just have to make it myself.” (The publisher provided a review copy.)