Pass the Monster Meat, Milady!, Vol. 1

Kodansha. (Pass the Monster Meat, Milady!). Dec. 2023. 208p. retold by . pap. $12.99. ISBN 9798888770900.
Gr 7 Up–Melphiera is a social outcast among the nobility because she experiments with how to make certain monsters into edible dishes, furthering the research of her late mother. Duke Galbraith is likewise a pariah of the upper crust for his ruthlessness and questionable battle techniques, which have earned him the nickname The Blood-Mad Duke. When the two make each other’s acquaintance at an autumn gathering that was nearly spoiled by a monster attack, their complementary interests and shaky social standings converge for a perfect pair. What starts as another food manga quickly turns into a romance with a message about judging others. The chemistry between the two leads, as well as the dialogue and how quickly the characters’ individual arcs are developed—including the supporting cast—are outstanding. The illustrations are detailed and interesting; the monsters seen in this volume are fantastical, if not nightmarish, and all are drawn with clear effort.
VERDICT An excellent purchase for collections, especially where food manga and fantasy romances are in high demand.

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