Friday, November 30, 2007

'The Tarot Cafe' Vol. 5 by Sang-Sun Park

ISBN: 1427803951
Format: Paperback, 192pp
Publisher: TOKYOPOP
Pub. Date: May 2007
Price: $9.99

Pamela is a Tarot Card reader for the supernatural. Ghosts, werewolves, fairies, immortals, dragons, and other worldly beings all come to her for help. Whether she reveals something about themselves that they had not realized or points them in the right direction, Pamela touches each of their lives and in turn they touch hers.

As the story has progressed we’ve learned about Pamela’s dark and miserable past. We have learned that with the death of Ash, a dragon and Pamela’s lover, centuries before Pamela has became immortal. When his blood was spilled it touched her first, marking her and setting her apart from the rest of humanity. Lost without Ash, Pamela has spent her immortality searching for a way to end her life, convinced that there I nothing worth living for with Ash gone.

Belus, the mysteriously handsome man who hangs around the café, has offered to help Pamela achieve her goal if she will do one thing for him. Pamela must find all the missing beads of Berial’s legendary necklace. Slowly but surely Pamela has collected bead by bead and soon will have all the beads she needs to fulfill her contract with Belus.

But Belus, who when he first met Pamela centuries before, told her that she wasn’t really his type has gone soft on her. Concerned with her well being, bent on protecting her, Belus is struggling with himself torn by hidden agendas and the desire to keep things between him and Pamela as they are.

Episode 14 “Leanan Sidhe (Two)” finishes the tale started in volume four. The famous rock singer narrowly escapes the clutches of his beautiful but deadly muse. While the muse, a dangerous woman known as the Leanan Sidhe, wonders if the rocker really cared for her at all or just the talent she offered.

In Episode 15 “Perfume” Ash reveals himself to be completely ruthless. Though he is not exactly the dragon that Pamela once loved he does seem to have memories of her. He is also jealous of the relationship that has grown between Pamela and Belus, though he does not seem to want her for himself he doesn’t exactly want Belus to have her.

When Ash takes part in the kidnapping of Pamela, Belus rushes to her rescue. A twisted perfume maker is draining blood from Pamela to make a perfume of youth, Pamela’s blood being the main ingredient since it is immortal. But to get Pamela to a point where they could take her blood Ash has used a perfume on her that makes her relive her worst memories.

Stuck in a dream that will not end Pamela sees Ash’s death once again. Reliving the cold horrible moments of an attempted rape by a monk, realizing that Ash knew it had happened but done nothing to save her, and finally watching her lover die in her arms. To wake Pamela from her horrible past Belus learns that she must have the blood from someone’s heart. Does he love her enough to give his life for hers?

Episode 16 “Tree and Long-Horned Beetle” was one of the more heart wrenching stories of the entire series. A small abused boy makes friends with a tree spirit and when the boy’s father almost kills him the tree spirit makes the ultimate sacrifice for the boy.

This volume of The Tarot Café is the best one so far. We’ve learned so much about Pamela along the way and the end of her story is coming. Nebiros, the man that the werewolf Aaron has been looking for, also makes a small appearance letting us know that he plays a much larger role in this game than we could ever realize. How it will end, who knows? I’m looking forward to finding out.


T.C. said...

How many of these are there? :D

Katie said...

There are 7 total. The final volume will be released June 2008.