Birds of Shangri-La Vol 1 Review

Looks like Christmas has come early for me this year because we have the debut of a sexy, new Boys Love manga series by Ranmaru Zariya, the creator of Coyote and Liquor & Cigarettes!

Synopsis:

Apollo’s life has recently fallen apart and he might need to raise some major cash quickly. That’s why he takes a job as a Teaser at the male brothel house, Shangri-La, despite identifying as straight. As a Teaser, Apollo’s job is to make sure the gorgeous men of Shangri-La, or “Birds”, as they’re called, are prepped and raring to go before they meet with clients. Phi is assigned to show him the ropes and is initially perplexed over why the other Birds are making such a fuss over the new straight-boy, but Apollo’s gentle and considerate nature quickly endears him to him, despite Phi’s misgivings. Phi also takes Apollo’s refusal to kiss him as a challenge and it isn’t long before he’s doing just as much “teasing” as Apollo. At this rate, Apollo might be in danger of breaking the most important rule of his job: Don’t fall in love!

Review:

Ranmaru Zariya has done it again; Birds of Shangri-La is a sensual, engrossing and beautiful-looking manga filled with an overabundance of hunks! There are sexy, shirtless men all over the pages of this book and plenty of smutty scenes, so I’d say that Shangri-La is definitely living up to its name.

I fell instantly in love with Apollo and I can see why all the Birds were getting so hot and bothered over him. Not only is he good-looking and built, he’s also sincere and just the sweetest cinnamon roll with Phi, who claims to not be into his carefulness and naivete, but who is also clearly a liar! Phi can’t help but want to tease Apollo, who doesn’t seem to quite know how to handle his playfulness, but who is also generally inclined to be accommodating. They quickly establish a really fun rapport and I can’t imagine that the cardinal rules of Shangri-La are going to remain unbroken for too much longer at this rate. In fact, they’re liable to be completely shattered by the end of the series.  

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however. Both Apollo and Phi have some darkness lurking in their pasts that they’re trying to run away from, but which continues to haunt them. Apollo is heart-broken and Phi is full of sharp edges and mystery. Things seem calm at Shangri-La for now, but I get the sense that there’s danger lurking in the shadows of this island paradise and that it might only be a matter of time before the past catches up with one or both of our leading-men, which of course adds to the excitement!

I wanted to quickly note that, while Shangri-La is a ethically run establishment where all of the sex-workers are well taken care of, are free to choose which clients they want or don’t want to sleep with and are people who genuinely enjoy their work, there are a few things in this manga that some readers might find triggering. Phi has had a tough life and, while he likes sex and working at Shangri-La, he has experienced sexual trauma and it is implied that he started participating in sex work at a young age. He also makes several references to being the victim of violence and homophobia. These experiences have had a big impact on Phi and we see him struggling with his trauma and even losing control at one point when an incident occurs that triggers a flashback. We aren’t shown much more then brief glimpses of his past, and I felt like Phi’s experiences were given proper weight within the narrative, but potential readers should be aware that these elements are present in the story.

Despite including a few darker moments, Birds of Shangri-La is one of the spiciest Boys Love manga I’ve read this year and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The main characters have great chemistry and I can’t wait to see how their relationship will progress in the next volume. I highly recommend that Boys Love fans snap this title up and experience all of the sexiness for yourselves.

Final Score: 9 out of 10.

What did you think of this manga? If you’re a Ranmaru Zariya fan, which of her manga is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

You can find more information on this manga at SuBLime Manga’s website.


Be sure to check out some of my other recent, Boys Love manga reviews:

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16 thoughts on “Birds of Shangri-La Vol 1 Review

Add yours

  1. Me hitting the page down key and only seeing part of the cover:
    “Oh, that looks like a pretty sun setting!”
    Me hitting it again:
    “Okay, that’s more of a moon than a sun!” 😂

    Anyway, great review!

    Liked by 3 people

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