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Cantarella, Volume 1

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From birth, Cesare Borgia is surrounded by shadows. Damned by his own father and driven by the demons, his quest for power threatens to set the world of Renaissance Italy ablaze. This book takes the reader on a journey into the world of the Borgias, a world of unspeakable conspiracies and forbidden desires.


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From birth, Cesare Borgia is surrounded by shadows. Damned by his own father and driven by the demons, his quest for power threatens to set the world of Renaissance Italy ablaze. This book takes the reader on a journey into the world of the Borgias, a world of unspeakable conspiracies and forbidden desires.

30 review for Cantarella, Volume 1

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dorian Jandreau

    I am obssessed with Cesare Borgia and came up with this manga. When I started reading I saw this is exactly what I wrote in fanfiction! (except I didn't add any supernatural stuff) I love how the author showed Cesare! This is how I always wanted to see him: gentle, sweet and loving young boy, but so strong. This is the story of Cesare I wanted to be created, extremely close to my own story. This manga inspired me even more. The drawing style is also very beautiful! Love this so much!!! I am obssessed with Cesare Borgia and came up with this manga. When I started reading I saw this is exactly what I wrote in fanfiction! (except I didn't add any supernatural stuff) I love how the author showed Cesare! This is how I always wanted to see him: gentle, sweet and loving young boy, but so strong. This is the story of Cesare I wanted to be created, extremely close to my own story. This manga inspired me even more. The drawing style is also very beautiful! Love this so much!!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mizuki

    The Borgias! The Renaissance! Gorgeous artworks and beautifully drawn characters! Magic and demons! Murder! Power struggle and coups! What is not to love here?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex Richey

    Wow. Old manga is so much more dramatic than I remember. Like, people just slap other people when they get angry. EVERY. TIME. This series isn't too bad so far. I'll try volume 2 and see where it goes. Wow. Old manga is so much more dramatic than I remember. Like, people just slap other people when they get angry. EVERY. TIME. This series isn't too bad so far. I'll try volume 2 and see where it goes.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    One of my favorite mangas of all time. Although it has stopped at volume 10, it is currently on hiatus and will be picked up agian according to higure-san. A take on italian history manga style. Expect pretty boys!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lanie

    This was stunning. I picked up most of the volumes at my favorite used bookstore on a whim & I just now final got around to reading them. And I an completely in love. The politics intrigue! The story! The characters! The artwork! I am seriously, you guys. (Lol. South Park) "cantarella" is absolutely gorgeous to look at. I'm totally in love with Cesare. He's so sad and angry and I don't blame him one bit. His family fucking sucks. Except his sister and mom. They were nice to him. Everyone else? N This was stunning. I picked up most of the volumes at my favorite used bookstore on a whim & I just now final got around to reading them. And I an completely in love. The politics intrigue! The story! The characters! The artwork! I am seriously, you guys. (Lol. South Park) "cantarella" is absolutely gorgeous to look at. I'm totally in love with Cesare. He's so sad and angry and I don't blame him one bit. His family fucking sucks. Except his sister and mom. They were nice to him. Everyone else? No. His dad & madam can go die in a hole. An exceptional manga. Art, characters, story, complexity. It's just all so impressive and I definitely look forward to reading more. :) Recommended to fans of manga and historical fiction. Particularly those interested in Italy during the late 1400s. Happy reading, all!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Molnar

    The story of the Borgias is juicy enough and doesn't need to addition of Satanic pacts and supernatural beings (a talking moth? Seriously?!). I will keep reading, though, because I love the Borgias and the illustrations are nice. If it gets too heavy in the supernatural, I may quit reading it. The story of the Borgias is juicy enough and doesn't need to addition of Satanic pacts and supernatural beings (a talking moth? Seriously?!). I will keep reading, though, because I love the Borgias and the illustrations are nice. If it gets too heavy in the supernatural, I may quit reading it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Shepherd

    I read the whole series as a teenager. It's started out good. The kind of good that leaves you eager to get your hands on the next volume. But near the end, will make you wish you never read it. That is how it was for me, anyways. I read the whole series as a teenager. It's started out good. The kind of good that leaves you eager to get your hands on the next volume. But near the end, will make you wish you never read it. That is how it was for me, anyways.

  8. 5 out of 5

    TT

    I remember thinking the artwork looked dated when I read it years ago. This one didn't stick in my mind, not a fav though I had it on my bookshelf for years, couldn't sell/swap it away. I remember thinking the artwork looked dated when I read it years ago. This one didn't stick in my mind, not a fav though I had it on my bookshelf for years, couldn't sell/swap it away.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Found this at a Goodwill. Fine art style, but it didn't grab me. Found this at a Goodwill. Fine art style, but it didn't grab me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    cobwebbing

    Got this in a lot of used manga from the flea market and it feels like a really good find; the melodrama! The art! The hyper-fictionalized Renaissance Italy setting!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kassilem

    This is the series that got me interested in Cesare Borgia. I think my sister recommended it to me and I’m glad she did. And after reading The Borgias: The Hidden History by G. J. Meyer earlier this month, I had an urge to come back and revisit this series. It’s not historically accurate for drama’s sake, but it’s intriguing. And now that I know the history and who everyone is, I can look at this rendition with a new eye. This volume, holding the first four chapters, deals with Cesare’s childhoo This is the series that got me interested in Cesare Borgia. I think my sister recommended it to me and I’m glad she did. And after reading The Borgias: The Hidden History by G. J. Meyer earlier this month, I had an urge to come back and revisit this series. It’s not historically accurate for drama’s sake, but it’s intriguing. And now that I know the history and who everyone is, I can look at this rendition with a new eye. This volume, holding the first four chapters, deals with Cesare’s childhood and hints a little at why he turns out the way he does later on in his lifetime. The artwork is well done. There’s a consistent style and the images are eye-catching.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cornerofmadness

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I thought this was better written than Gorgeous Carat and the art is more even, prettier but I'm not entirely sure I liked the history of Cesare Borgia used so loosely (though I am laughing at the reviewer who is all offended because they're Catholic. Obviously they don't know their own history. This happened, except the satanic pact BUT there were even rumors of a darkness ruling the Borgia line! Though those rumors are harder to find now that scholars have found much more reliable and favorabl I thought this was better written than Gorgeous Carat and the art is more even, prettier but I'm not entirely sure I liked the history of Cesare Borgia used so loosely (though I am laughing at the reviewer who is all offended because they're Catholic. Obviously they don't know their own history. This happened, except the satanic pact BUT there were even rumors of a darkness ruling the Borgia line! Though those rumors are harder to find now that scholars have found much more reliable and favorable sources than centuries old smear campaigns) For those who don't seem to realize it, Cesare Borgia along with his sister Lucretzia and his brother Giovanni (Juan) were real. They were the bastard children of a Pope (a cardinal at that time. He fathered at least a half dozen bastards we're aware of). In this version, Higuri goes the extra step with the negative superstition-born rumors and makes Cesare actually cursed by demonic entities, little will-o-the-wisp things that follow him around. He has a loveless childhood. The two bright lights in all of this is his sister Lucretzia (and yes there was hints of them being incestuous though modern scholars now believe that was part of the above mentioned smear campaign) and Lady Vanozza who is his adoptive mother (real mother as far as actual history knows). HIs brother, Juan, is a brat and hateful. As they get older, and their father is plotting to put all his kids in positions of power, Cesare is taken from Vanozza along with Lucretzia and given to a hateful woman. Higuri's alternative history has Cesare nearly raped by the irate husband Cesare's father was cuckholding. He's saved by a swordsman who teaches Cesare to fight. As a young adult things go even worse for Cesare. He leaves his father's planned path for him to be in the church (in truth, he stayed with it until he was a cardinal before being the first cardinal ever to resign). Friends turn on him. An assassin, Michelotto is sent after Cesare and things go sideways. I know this was a very popular manga a decade ago. I wasn't that taken in by it (I only have two in my collection) I'm simply rereading it now as I purge my shelves. I can see people liking it. There are definitely homoerotic overtones between Cesare and Michelotto for those who go in for that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marquise

    Whilst the art is fairly good within this style of manga, which is nevertheless too cartoony for my personal taste, the plot is just terrible and full of the usual clichés and myths about the Borgia family that have been circulating forever, which makes me suspect the author preferred to go with her own spin on the popular misconceptions, adding supernatural elements because . . . because. The "new" interpretation I could spot was that Yuu Higuri here portrays the eldest and youngest of the Borg Whilst the art is fairly good within this style of manga, which is nevertheless too cartoony for my personal taste, the plot is just terrible and full of the usual clichés and myths about the Borgia family that have been circulating forever, which makes me suspect the author preferred to go with her own spin on the popular misconceptions, adding supernatural elements because . . . because. The "new" interpretation I could spot was that Yuu Higuri here portrays the eldest and youngest of the Borgias—Cesare and Lucrezia, if you've not guessed yet—as poor orphan children neglected by their Horrible Father, the Pope, and verbally and physically abused by everyone, starting with their caretaker and governess and her son. And the Borgia middle brother, Giovanni, is characterised as a major bully who loves to torment and beat little Lucrezia, who of course is protected from such abuse by their big brother. One can guess from practically the first chapter where this is going and that whilst the author strives to keep the myth intact she also seems to be striving to whitewash these two characters, laying all the blame on Cardinal Roderigo. And then there's the otherworldly elements, that aren't very prominent in this volume yet, which in my opinion were unnecessary. The Borgias alone are fascinating enough to not need anything mystical or supernatural to enhance their story as a family or as individuals. Especially not when the lack of originality is so blatant as to throw this into the pile of commonplace Borgia fiction that doesn't either stay true to history nor provide entertaining or insightful reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kaion

    Review of Vol 1-3 I've reached the end of the availability of this series in my library, so it's probably time to call it quits. Cantarella is a perfectly acceptable guilty pleasure read-- hey, who doesn't love the Borgias, and if you're old school, you know exactly what genre this is dealing in with the bishie men and the vaguely homosexual teasing and the even vaguer faux-Christian-supernatural touch. The historical setting is the real interest, though You Higari is no Kaoru Mori and doesn't le Review of Vol 1-3 I've reached the end of the availability of this series in my library, so it's probably time to call it quits. Cantarella is a perfectly acceptable guilty pleasure read-- hey, who doesn't love the Borgias, and if you're old school, you know exactly what genre this is dealing in with the bishie men and the vaguely homosexual teasing and the even vaguer faux-Christian-supernatural touch. The historical setting is the real interest, though You Higari is no Kaoru Mori and doesn't lend the story enough depth or detail to really draw you into the history (and to be honest, by the third volume I found the plotting mostly incomprehensible, regardless of whether it was historically accurate, though part of the confusion is due to title's lack of a clear storyline thus far). But if the genre is your bag, Cantarella moves swiftly and offers broad enjoyment in the broad strokes of the drama: Cesare is tortured! Because his father sold his soul to the devil to become the pope! But this also gives him awesome devil powers! And his devoted assassin Michelotto wants to save Cesare from himself! And they're both in some weird love triangle with Lucretia! And plague and scheming and assassinations and political marriages every other page. One could do worse for light reading. Rating: 3 stars

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    I was hooked the instant I picked it up. Cantarella has taken historical characters and happenings, adapted it a bit for her own story purposes, and done a wonderful job. For her main character, the much maligned Cesare Borgia, she's made him into almost a sympathetic villain. He's vicious, ruthless, ambitious, and resigned to being a denizen of evil. And yet, you are given an all-expenses paid, all-access pass into his emotions, and have to remind yourself that he has murdered people to suit his I was hooked the instant I picked it up. Cantarella has taken historical characters and happenings, adapted it a bit for her own story purposes, and done a wonderful job. For her main character, the much maligned Cesare Borgia, she's made him into almost a sympathetic villain. He's vicious, ruthless, ambitious, and resigned to being a denizen of evil. And yet, you are given an all-expenses paid, all-access pass into his emotions, and have to remind yourself that he has murdered people to suit his own ends, you feel such sympathy for him. And his sidekick Chiaro is dragged along with him. You definitely feel that he is the light that will keep Cesare from being completely destroyed. I hope there's going to be more with his sister Lucrezia, too.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I remember quite clearly the day that I picked Cantarella off the bookstore's shelf. I was perusing the manga section to see if there were any new releases and I pulled Cantarella off the shelf to inspect the cover and summary. Immediately, I was mesmorized by Higuri You's artwork, which is just as good in the inside as the cover. As I read Cantarella, I was not only amazed by the artwork, I became interested in the Borgias family and their real life history, which later sparked me into watching I remember quite clearly the day that I picked Cantarella off the bookstore's shelf. I was perusing the manga section to see if there were any new releases and I pulled Cantarella off the shelf to inspect the cover and summary. Immediately, I was mesmorized by Higuri You's artwork, which is just as good in the inside as the cover. As I read Cantarella, I was not only amazed by the artwork, I became interested in the Borgias family and their real life history, which later sparked me into watching Showtime's The Borgias. Now, there are subtle hints of shounen-ai in Cantarella, which is not that surprising from a manga-ka known for yaoi, but for me, it was more than welcome, and it does not take away from the story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sweet Sacrifice Forbidden Moonlight

    I read in Thai 2 years ago. And in English too. this book about a man,who his father sold him to Evil.In his blood it had poison.His blood smell strange sweet like " Cantarella " poison for many years ago in Europe. Even if he want to die, but he can't.Something he don't want to do, but have to do.And he need somebody, who can help him for stop his life. I like very much,Beautiful picture and cause..it's can be true for everyone.We have some poison with other, when we want to use it. But it's I read in Thai 2 years ago. And in English too. this book about a man,who his father sold him to Evil.In his blood it had poison.His blood smell strange sweet like " Cantarella " poison for many years ago in Europe. Even if he want to die, but he can't.Something he don't want to do, but have to do.And he need somebody, who can help him for stop his life. I like very much,Beautiful picture and cause..it's can be true for everyone.We have some poison with other, when we want to use it. But it's poisonous with self too. Even it's cartoon, but this is a good for someone who love cartoon.Do you like cartoon ?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    As manga, I give this three stars but when you add the historical element in then it is definitely a four star read. This shonin manga is a series based on the life of Cesare Borgia. It's premise is that Cesare was cursed at birth because his father (who became Pope Alexander VI) promised the devil his first born in exchange for the papacy. The book goes on to show the tortured life of Cesare and those around him. It's a really entertaining series with a romantic feel to it. I will say, I had a As manga, I give this three stars but when you add the historical element in then it is definitely a four star read. This shonin manga is a series based on the life of Cesare Borgia. It's premise is that Cesare was cursed at birth because his father (who became Pope Alexander VI) promised the devil his first born in exchange for the papacy. The book goes on to show the tortured life of Cesare and those around him. It's a really entertaining series with a romantic feel to it. I will say, I had a harder time following the sequence of events in this book than I have other mangas. Rated for older teen, 16+.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lacey Louwagie

    Every time I saw these books at the library, I was reminded of the Borgia family, since they used the poison canterella on many of their victims. It wasn't until I was shelving these for the millionth time that I realized this manga really IS about the Borgia family. Whoa! So I checked out all three of them and breezed through the first one tonight. It's fun to see the Borgia family through the eyes of manga, although I wonder if the story might be a little tricky to follow if you didn't know a b Every time I saw these books at the library, I was reminded of the Borgia family, since they used the poison canterella on many of their victims. It wasn't until I was shelving these for the millionth time that I realized this manga really IS about the Borgia family. Whoa! So I checked out all three of them and breezed through the first one tonight. It's fun to see the Borgia family through the eyes of manga, although I wonder if the story might be a little tricky to follow if you didn't know a bit about the history.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Willow

    Yay! Finally,I read this last night. It’s a super fast read that took less than an hour. I was very bummed that it was over. I had been holding off reading volume 1, because I wanted to get volume 2 from the library first. It still hasn’t come in. Anyway, I loved this book. I think the artwork is fantastic, and I definitely have been sucked into the story. I get the feeling this series is Yaoi, but that hasn't happened yet. We'll see what happens. I'm looking forward to when everybody gets older, Yay! Finally,I read this last night. It’s a super fast read that took less than an hour. I was very bummed that it was over. I had been holding off reading volume 1, because I wanted to get volume 2 from the library first. It still hasn’t come in. Anyway, I loved this book. I think the artwork is fantastic, and I definitely have been sucked into the story. I get the feeling this series is Yaoi, but that hasn't happened yet. We'll see what happens. I'm looking forward to when everybody gets older, and the characters get more devious.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Bunge

    This is actually a pretty good (and very pretty) historical fantasy about the Borgia power struggle(s) in Renaissance Italy. Color me impressed (having read plenty of works on the historical time period, as well as things like "Agony & Ecstasy" and Dante's "Inferno.") There's a bit of underlying "yaoi" tendencies... dunno if it'll develop, but I like the tension. It is 'fantasy' though - with the somewhat-visual demons and such. I'm gonna keep reading this. This is actually a pretty good (and very pretty) historical fantasy about the Borgia power struggle(s) in Renaissance Italy. Color me impressed (having read plenty of works on the historical time period, as well as things like "Agony & Ecstasy" and Dante's "Inferno.") There's a bit of underlying "yaoi" tendencies... dunno if it'll develop, but I like the tension. It is 'fantasy' though - with the somewhat-visual demons and such. I'm gonna keep reading this.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Starbubbles

    i read this book all sorts of out-of-order. it was so good! so much better than angel coffin. which i was surprised to find out that higuri wrote that too. you might think that the whole demon aspect and selling your soul is totally made up from higuri, but oh those reni italians were constantly combining folklore with christian practices to make their desires come true. i love how that was captured in here.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    An amazing manga. I did not know anything about the Borgias prior to reading this manga; I only wanted to read it because of the beautiful artwork. That being said, I am already on the sixth volume and researching more about the Borgias and the Renaissance. Although the manga isn't 100% historically accurate (Cesare is a demon, after all), I would recommend it to anyone with a love of history or beautiful manga. An amazing manga. I did not know anything about the Borgias prior to reading this manga; I only wanted to read it because of the beautiful artwork. That being said, I am already on the sixth volume and researching more about the Borgias and the Renaissance. Although the manga isn't 100% historically accurate (Cesare is a demon, after all), I would recommend it to anyone with a love of history or beautiful manga.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anna Karras

    I dig manga, so I was very excited to see a series about Renaissance Italy. And though the story has barely started, I am interested to read more, even though I found the story line a little vague at first, and the action sequences didn't always make sense to me. But I haven't read manga in a couple of years, so perhaps it will just take some time to get back in the flow again. I dig manga, so I was very excited to see a series about Renaissance Italy. And though the story has barely started, I am interested to read more, even though I found the story line a little vague at first, and the action sequences didn't always make sense to me. But I haven't read manga in a couple of years, so perhaps it will just take some time to get back in the flow again.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    This is one of the most compelling manga titles I've read in a LONG time. It follows the bloodsoaked life of Cesare Borgia. It is well researched and yet still retains a dark romantic fantasy element. This is the first book on here that I've felt I actually had to write a review. It was just that fantastic. This is one of the most compelling manga titles I've read in a LONG time. It follows the bloodsoaked life of Cesare Borgia. It is well researched and yet still retains a dark romantic fantasy element. This is the first book on here that I've felt I actually had to write a review. It was just that fantastic.

  26. 5 out of 5

    kelly

    This shonin manga is a series based on the life of Cesare Borgia. It's premise is that Cesare was cursed at birth because his father (who became Pope Alexander VI) promised the devil his first born in exchange for the papacy. The book goes on to show the tortured life of Cesare and those around him. It's a really entertaining series with a romantic feel to it. Rated OT for older teen, 16+. This shonin manga is a series based on the life of Cesare Borgia. It's premise is that Cesare was cursed at birth because his father (who became Pope Alexander VI) promised the devil his first born in exchange for the papacy. The book goes on to show the tortured life of Cesare and those around him. It's a really entertaining series with a romantic feel to it. Rated OT for older teen, 16+.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Treasure

    What a refreshing change in my recent manga diet! I enjoyed the change of setting to 15th Century Italy, with characters based on real people and events based somewhat on actual historical occurences. Cantarella is a dark, romantic story surrounding the cursed, illegitimate young man Cesare Borgia and his lust for power... and his possible lust for half-sister Lucrezia! (nast!)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    It's a manga about Cesare Borgia! For me, a huge fan of Assassin's Creed, that was pretty cool. The plot is intriguing and it all looks lovely. I really enjoyed this, even though it felt a little odd to have Cesare as the main character, especially since you can't help but feel sorry for him at times. Assassin's Creed instilled very different feelings for him in me ;) It's a manga about Cesare Borgia! For me, a huge fan of Assassin's Creed, that was pretty cool. The plot is intriguing and it all looks lovely. I really enjoyed this, even though it felt a little odd to have Cesare as the main character, especially since you can't help but feel sorry for him at times. Assassin's Creed instilled very different feelings for him in me ;)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jen Bojkov

    I liked this story of Cesare Borgia. It's got some nice creepieness going on and the whole soap opera vibe too. This was the first GN I ever read. I picked it b/c it looked like it might have more of a story line and not as much violence, but it was pretty much like the other mangas out there. Easy to read, in that it flows quickly. Hard to read b/c it's backwards!! :) I liked this story of Cesare Borgia. It's got some nice creepieness going on and the whole soap opera vibe too. This was the first GN I ever read. I picked it b/c it looked like it might have more of a story line and not as much violence, but it was pretty much like the other mangas out there. Easy to read, in that it flows quickly. Hard to read b/c it's backwards!! :)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Margaret S

    This series is wonderful! The first book got me hooked. It follows the story of Cesare Borgia, who was promised to the devil when he was young by his father in exchange for his father eventually becoming the pope. Cesare is a character that is quite believable, with a murderous, evil side as well as a caring, loving side. I highly recommend it!

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