Illustrated by Rito Kohsaka
Miyo may be the oldest daughter in the prestigious Saimori family, but her step-mother, step sister, and father bear her no love. She is constantly demeaned lower than a servant, and generally abused by the family. When her stepsister gets a marriage proposal, her father decides it’s not good to have Miyo continue to be around the house, so he enters her into a marriage arrangement with a very eligible but purportedly despicable man, Lord Kiyoka Kudo. Miyo tries her hardest to prove she can be a nobleman’s wife, but she lacks refinement and education, and worries Kudo will break off the arrangement and leave her homeless. But what she doesn’t know about Lord Kudo is why his previous betrothals all failed - that he’s not looking for a typical noble woman to be his wife.
There is quite a lot of internal monologue in this story, from every character’s perspective, but it truly gives a lot of depth and insight into each character. It may feel a little excessive at times, but Agitogi uses a lot of this to show the depth of the characters, particularly how broken and terrified Miyo is. Having served teens with abusive relationships and knowing some of the traumatic lives they live, this book speaks deeply to the types of behaviors and internalization that victims of abuse go through. I think Agitogi has carefully and faithfully portrayed what happens to victims of abuse, and this is one of the most in-depth manga to deal with this issue. Despite this being set in a fantasy land, I believe readers will connect with Miyo and be sympathetic to her struggle.
The art by Kohsaka is as beautiful as the cover, although the interior is black and white. Kohsaka pays special attention to Miyo's clothing and expressiveness. Smaller details, like her worn kimono, become a subject of conversation later, but we begin to see its humbleness in the beginning of the story. Much of this volume takes place inside Lord Kudo's home, which is traditional and very detailed.
The majority of this volume is steeped in Miyo's mental trauma, so this would be best suited for young mature readers who are ready to handle difficult topics.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 8-12
Publisher: Square Enix
Publication Date: September 13, 2022
ISBN: 9781646091461 (Paperback)
Tags:Rating: 9/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Romance, Family, Mental Health, Square Enix
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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