Freya is an overly-emotional (re: crybaby) country girl living in Tyr, trying to get by and get enough food for her sick mother. A visit from her adopted older brothers, who are both knights serving the Prince, leaves Freya worried about Sigurd, the neighboring kingdom, invading. When she overhears of a Sigurdian plot to kill her older "brother," Freya rushes to the palace to warn them. Here, she learns the true reason her knights came to visit - the prince is dying from Sigurdian poison, and Freya resembles the prince almost identically! She agrees to take on the persona of the prince, but how can she hope to embody a confident, cunning prince when she can't stop crying?
While at its core, we have seen this story before (*cough* Man in the Iron Mask *cough*), Prince Freya does have its own intricacies to set it apart from other similar switcheroo stories. There is an absolute shock in the middle of this volume that I had to go back and re-read several times because I didn't believe it. The mangaka admits to some interesting information in the side panels throughout the story, including struggling with how to help Freya grow out of her crybaby ways. There are several characters undergoing transformations, and I am invested in their journeys. There are also some interesting supporting characters whose loyalties I have not quite figured out by the end of this volume. This story would be popular with readers who enjoy fantasies like Yona of the Dawn.
The art style of this manga series is rather detailed and beautiful. Fantasy stories tend to require more detail from mangakas, and Ishihara doesn't disappoint. Backgrounds are lush and rich, while clothing is original and detailed.
VIZ rates this as Teen Plus, and I would attribute that to the violence in volume 1. There may be something later that elevates this as well, but for now, it's bloodshed.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 10-12
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Fantasy, War
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