So, some background on this one— A few months back I decided to gift some manga to one of my oldest IRL friends for her birthday. Like me she is a lover of anime and manga, with a soft spot for boys love media. She’s partial to some of the steamier boys love titles, so I compiled a list which included: two works by Scarlet Beriko The Fourth Generation Head and Jackass, Rihito Takerai’s Ten Count, and Ranmaru Zariya’s Coyote. She’d already read Ten Count so I took that off the list and rejected Coyote because she found it boring (her words, not mine), so I got her The Fourth Generation Head and Jackass and that should have been the end of it, but I couldn’t for the life of me understand what she didn’t like about Coyote.
“A forbidden romance between a werewolf and a human whose passion conceals a dark secret…”
I mean, a forbidden supernatural romance is right up my alley, so I bought the first two volumes for myself and y’all I WAS HOOKED!
After the mentions of werewolves and heats from the bio on the back of the volume, I thought this was going to be an omegaverse story—sadly, it is not in fact, Coyote is more akin to Romeo and Juliet. With the Galland family being the Montague and the werewolves the Capulets… which I suppose makes Marleen/Josh, Romeo and Lili/Coyote, Juliet (they refer to each other sas Marleen and Lili after the song ‘Lili Marleen’). The two star crossed lovers meet and Romeo—I mean Josh is enamored with the beautiful and mysterious Coyote, one of the patrons of the piano bar he is working at. There’s a bit of unsuccessful flirting and Coyote sneaks off leaving Josh to pine for his elusive love.
The next day a man is discovered dead in the streets—this is just the latest attack in a longstanding feud between the Galland mafia family and werewolves. And while werewolves are little more than an urban legend to most, rumors about the attack spread throughout the city. Both groups had established a truce with one another, but the current head of the Galland family is mobilizing against the werewolves—renewing hostilities between the two families.
As rising tensions between their families threatens to boil over into an all out war our two star crossed lovers find themselves caught in the cross-hairs. Though reluctant, Coyote is attracted to Marleen and despite his better judgement he can’t resist his charms. Marleen for his part seems to have fallen in love with Coyote at first sight and seems genuinely invested in pursuing him. When he discovers that Coyote is a werewolf he doesn’t back off, he even offers his to help Coyote when he unexpectedly goes into heat. But unbeknownst to Coyote, Marleen is hiding a secret of his own—has ties with the Galland family. What follows is a passionate romance between two men caught between their loyalty to their families and their own budding feelings for one another.
It’s easy to try and see their romance as something separate from the infighting between their families, but as tensions rise, it becomes harder for them to avoid. It’s a forbidden romance on two fronts and I kind of like that Zariya is careful to frame the romance within the context of the ongoing conflict between the Gallands and the werewolves. It adds more urgency to the relationship as with each new page the bubble Coyote and Marleen’s relationship has created comes dangerously close to intersecting with the hostilities between their families.
It’s not often that you find a BL series that gives equal billing to the romance and the plot and Coyote manages to balance both fairly well. The first volume focuses more on establishing the feud between the Gallands and the werewolves than it does on fleshing out it’s characters, but I can’t fault Zariya for that since we need that foundation for the forbidden romance/star-crossed lovers premise to truly work. But, that said, I really enjoyed this first volume—the art is gorgeous and I am invested in the story.
Coyote isn’t just a snack, it’s a whole damn meal, the perfect balance of steamy romance and action, with a healthy dash of drama to spice things up. This is my first Ranmaru Zariya series, and I am so glad I picked this series up! My friend is missing out!
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