Sister Esther finds herself listed as dead while the AX sets out to hunt her down and make it official.
Writer/Artist: Sunao Yoshida and Kiyo Kyujyo
Translation: Beni Axia Conrad
Adaptation: Christine Boyland
What They Say
In the damaged city of Istvan, where the populace clings to the hope of their Holy Saint Esther, intrigue and vengeance lurk around every corner. When faith and betrayal are blended in the dark shadows of the alleys and back streets, will Esther and Abel ever be able to find one another again?
The trip back to Istvan has turned out pretty poorly for Esther as we go into the eleventh volume. While it's been quite some time since she was last home, her return has brought her nothing but trouble as she's now accused of siding with a vampire and causing quite the ruckus. So much so that the Department of Inquisition has already sent out a report that Esther has been killed in order to try and settle things down. This was apparently the only course of action they had, but it's one that really puts Abel in a frustrating position because politics are interfering with what needs to be done. It's one of the few times that you can see him really wanting to push back against Caterina.
This volume has a few angles that are being played out within the main overall storyline. Esther's storyline is a bit convoluted as she spends her time with Shera after all that's happened to put her into this position. There are some really good parts as the two of them talk through things and realize that neither of them are as awful as they thought they might be. It's a good kind of discussion that at least eases a little of the tensions between the vampire and human sides, though since neither of them are expected to live, it may not mean a lot in the end. Shera comes across really well in this and is a likable character, but Esther continues to shine the most with how strong she is throughout the ordeal.
The angles I did like involve some very different characters. Caterina assigns Tres to bring back Esther, dead or alive, but she does it in a way that doesn't inspire confidence in Tres because she assigns the Black Widow to help out. Monica is one of the more unusual characters to show as she's made of permeable material that allows things to pass through her. She's cold and calculating like Tres but she's more interested in killing and enjoying the time out that she gets. On the flip side, Abel and Petros mange to convince his holiness of his need for bagels from a particular place which will allow them to try and find Esther as well. Everything comes together to one big sequence which takes the action over the top while still bringing in a bit of humor along the way. Petros certainly does like getting his big panel shots to showcase how awesome he is.
As the series gets closer to the end, there's a lot going on here and the book is a lot of fun. With only the anime series and the first novel under my belt, dropping into book eleven was a little awkward but the familiarity with the franchise in general helps and the characters are simply fun to watch. There is a lot of wonderful detail to be had here in this book, both in the foreground and the background and even more so when the two actually meet. There's a fair amount of empty background panels, but the flow of the book is solid and the story is very engaging. This is a fun world to romp in and this volume plays in it very well.