To begin with this was a cover buy. I picked it up and I absolutely adored the illustration. Then I read the synopsis and I knew this was coming home with me. It sounded absolutely fantastic. This manga is set on a floating city known only as the Mud Whale (to begin with) which had been built up over years by clay and magic. A magic with a deadly cost. Those imbued with the power known as Thymia have a very short life expectancy, almost as though the magic burns up the person. With 90% of the inhabitants of the Mud Whale having Thymia it isn't exactly ideal. Our main character Chakuro is a Thymia user but he has a different job, he's the archivist of the Mud Whale. He records anything and everything so that the future generations have a history.
What struck me the most about this manga, aside from the drool worthy cover, was how well it perfected the balance of world building. I often feel as though most mangas, at least in the first volume have a little something to be desired when it comes to this. I've read many a series where there's a distinct lack of detail to the point where I can't be immersed in the world. Alternatively, I've also read series where the detail goes to the Nth degree and the story suffers. I think it's Chakuro's job that helps maintain this balance. The info dump then appears as part of the plot because of how it links with his character.
I would also like to praise this manga on its plot. I got the same feeling reading this as I did reading Tokyo Ghoul and Seraph of the End. Recently, I've felt as though that a lot of the manga I've read has felt very staccato, as though each volume is its own story. Which isn't a bad thing! I've just noticed that I tend to gravitate towards the manga that has an overarching plot line. Children of the Whales appears to have this. Now, I don't want to go into the plot as I feel some of the events in this first volume borders on the spoiler territory. Just know that this is going straight onto my favourite manga of all time list.