The Ancient Magus' Bride by Kore Yamazaki, vol.1-2: A manga that opens its story with the main female character being sold at an auction is a bold one and worthy of a look.
Chise is a young girl sold at an auction because of her special abilities. Her buyer is a half-man, half-fae(?) being called Elias Ainsworth. Elias is a mage who wishes Chise to be his apprentice... and his bride. I know, I know. Some raised eyebrows here and hints of an unbalanced, dark relationship. But here's where the mangaka is to be praised: she portrays Elias as a powerful mage who is ignorant of basic human interactions so at times he is both frightening and childishly naive. Chise herself is a tragic yet strong character, still in search of a home and a destiny. The two characters alternate being each others guide and support in the story so it balances their precarious dynamic to a point.
The art also helps as I've rarely seen a manga that has so many facial expressions for its characters. Yamazaki's art is detailed with a strong use of black as a colour and negative space panels, its very detailed in the everyday objects and the house that the characters live in. The large page spreads are beautiful too and create a sense of wonder and dread that accompanies the action on the page.
Each episode features a story from old European/English folklore such as the Fae Court, Black Dog, cats with nine lives, dragons, etc. This is Old Magic which is a force of nature, neither good nor evil in itself but dependent on its user's ability and his/her action with the high price that comes with such spells. I enjoyed each story and returned to read them again just to savour the enchantment and horror of each setting.
This is the first manga I've tried that was published by Seven Seas Entertainment and the company does a good job with the translation, printing, and colour page insert. The covers are beautiful too.
I will definitely be following this series. In short, highly recommended to fantasy fans.