The Cruel Road to Freedom – The King of the Dead at the Dark Palace Vol. 1 [Light Novel]

The Cruel Road to Freedom
  • Mangaka : Tsukikage, Merontomari
  • Publisher : Yen Press
  • Genre : Action, Fantasy
  • Published : May 2021

It is true that not everyone was born fortunate. There are those who are born in nobility, seemingly having enough wealth to sustain generations of their bloodline the moment they are born. There are also those who are born on the opposite extreme, needing to cry blood just to pass the day. However, life isn’t as simple as that. Such fate isn’t a dichotomy. There are also cases wherein a seeming blessing like being born to nobility is accompanied by a curse that is being bedridden. Arguably, such fate is the worst of all. But what if that person is given as a second life… but there’s another string attached.

Contains Spoilers

Discussion Time

The series follows the story of a sickly noble boy who eventually succumbs to his sickness. Despite being born of nobility, his reality never expanded more than the window in his room. When he eventually dies, he gets resurrected by a powerful necromancer. But unlike a soulless puppet, he retains his memory. Now, he can move and whatnot, but he doesn’t have the freedom to do what he wishes nor the power to defy his master. He’s now determined to do whatever it takes to survive and attain his much desired freedom.

Why You Should Read The King of the Dead at the Dark Palace Vol. 1

1. Not Your Typical Fantasy

In terms of worldbuilding and lore, this series easily falls within the high fantasy category. But by not your typical fantasy, we pertain to the series’ premise and storytelling. Rather than having a hero, we are presented by a prisoner of fate trying his best to survive. Things are also nowhere near favorable to him. In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the odds are always against him. From losing the fate roulette to being chained to a necromancer’s commands. However, that doesn’t mean he’s already defeated, and that’s what makes the series both interesting and somewhat realistic.

2. A Protagonist That Thinks

In terms of power, the protagonist is nowhere near overpowered. In fact, he’s actually considered as below average compared to the people around him. What makes him stand out among other protagonists in the genre is his thinking capability. No, he isn’t a super genius or a peerless tactician, but he comes up with clever tactics in the name of survival. Said tactics aren’t necessarily flawless, but they are logical. So even though he often fails to one up the necromancer, he still manages to put up a good fight.

Why You Should Skip The King of the Dead at the Dark Palace Vol. 1

1. Slow Burn

If instant gratification is what you like best in fantasy series, then you might want to veer away from this one. The series is obviously a slowburn, and a cruel one at that. We rarely get amazing gratifications as the protagonist’s celebratory moments only last for a few seconds before it plummets back into oblivion. The story is slowly paced, but is reasonably so. However, we do understand that such is not everyone’s kind of tea, so beware.

Final Thoughts

We’ve enjoyed reading The King of the Dead at the Dark Palace more than we expected. The dark premise is both gripping and frustrating. Frustrating in the sense that the protagonist rarely has moments to celebrate for. Nonetheless, the story isn’t just run of the mill. Even though we won’t really classify it as the best among the best, it is definitely a title worth checking out.

Kuraki-Kyuden-No-Shishiya-No-Ou-novel The Cruel Road to Freedom – The King of the Dead at the Dark Palace Vol. 1 [Light Novel]


Author: Christian Markle

I am a copywriter, proofreader, and editor. I love watching anime, reading manga, and writing my own stories. Watch out in the future as you may see one of my works one day. Manga and anime were big parts of my childhood. I grew up watching Yu Yu Hakusho, Slam Dunk, One Piece, and Dragon Ball Z. Those were probably one of the happiest and most carefree days of my life. In fact, most of my values are probably molded by manga. No, that's not an exaggeration.

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