REVIEW: ‘Dragon and Ceremony Volume 1’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dragon and Ceremony Volume 1 Review

Dragon and Ceremony Volume 1: From a Wandmaker’s Perspective is a light novel written by Ichimei Tsukushi and illustrated by Enji. English publication is done by Yen On, a division of Yen Press, and the English translation is by Jordan Taylor. Dragon and Ceremony volume 1 offers an exciting look at a world where society is largely moving away from magic. 

 Ix is an apprentice wandmaker looking for a new plan after his master dies. On his way to a new village, he runs into Yuui, the owner of one of the most powerful wands his master ever created, and she enlists him to help her repair the wand. There’s one big problem though; dragon heart makes up the core of Yuui’s wand and dragons went extinct almost a thousand years ago. 

With the help of another one of his former fellow apprentices, and Yuui, who insists on assisting however she can, Ix is ready to take on the challenge of a lifetime. He has to do the impossible, finding another dragon heart, or do the slightly less impossible, finding a substitute that will be just as powerful. 

In the world of Dragon and Ceremony Volume 1, all humans have the ability to use magic, though some have more magic potential than others. But in this world, most humans choose not to use it. In order to wield one’s magic, one needs a wand or a staff, made by a wandmaker, and they don’t come cheap. The better the wand, the better the control of magic, but the higher the cost. Therefore, it’s almost exclusively the very wealthy that can afford to use magic, meaning normal citizens rarely encounter it. Because of this, many people are afraid of magic because it’s so unknown. 

Tsukushi touches on ideas such as colonialism, xenophobia, corrupt religions, class inequality, and the interactions between these things within Dragon and Ceremony Volume 1. In fact, the antagonists of Dragon and Ceremony aren’t really any specific character but rather colonialism and xenophobia.

Yuui’s home country, Lukutta, is, on paper, a “vassal state” of the kingdom. In reality, it’s land they use for its natural resources. Because she’s from Lukutta, Yuui has no rights within the kingdom. Throughout the story, readers learn, through both Yuui’s POV and Ix’s observations, that she has a lot of trauma from the invasion of her country and the brutal methods used by the kingdom to win the war. Rather than serving as a plot device, Yuui’s trauma is something that deeply affects the choices she makes, as well as her magic. 

Another way colonialism affects the story is through the destruction of Indigenous religions and customs. During their research into the disappearance of dragons, Yuui and Ix learn that many indigenous religions were all but entirely erased from history when the kingdom began imposing Marayism on the people. 

Tsukushi’s writing falters a bit when it comes to the pacing of the plot. There’s a constant oscillation between things happening too fast and things happening too slowly, which makes it hard to stay fully immersed within the story. Another issue is the introduction of side characters that are barely fleshed out yet are supposed to be important to the story. It’s difficult for the reader to form enough of an attachment to these characters to care if and when, they are in danger. 

While Yuui and Ix could benefit from a bit more character development, they are well-rounded when compared to characters like Tomah, Rozalia, and Dann. Yuui and Ix both have goals they want to achieve, and motivation for achieving said goals. Tsukushi writes them in such a way that readers will become attached to them, and care about them making it through the story. In contrast, Tomah, Rozalia, and Dann leave very little impression on the story. This is unfortunate because they are supposedly an important part of Yuui’s past.

The addition of the occasional illustrated page is a hallmark of many light novels, and Dragon and Ceremony Volume 1 is no different. Enji’s illustrations are an asset because there’s not a lot of description of characters themselves within the story. Rather, Tsukushi prefers to give details about the setting or the history of a place. However, a map is noticeably absent in the book and because Yuui and Ix travel to a few different locations, a map would have been a great help in visualizing their journey. 

While Dragon and Ceremony Volume 1 has its problems, overall it’s a surprisingly deep and emotional story that holds its own amongst other fantasies.

Dragon and Ceremony Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold.


Dragon and Ceremony Volume 1
3.5

TL;DR

While Dragon and Ceremony Volume 1 has its problems, overall it’s a surprisingly deep and emotional story that holds its own amongst other fantasies.