Shirayuki is proceeding with her duties as a court herbalist despite the fact that Prince Zen's older brother, Izana disapproves of their friendship. Shirayuki is also dismayed to learn that the prince of Tanbarun, the guy who ran her out of her own country, is coming for a royal visit! She tries desperately to keep out of his way and Zen tries to keep the prince away from Shirayuki. At one point, Izana tries to get the prince to take Shirayuki back with him, but remembering Zen's threat in the woods in the first volume, the prince declines. The two do come face to face eventually, and Shirayuki stands up for herself and her friendship with Zen. Later, Zen tries to settle a dispute between a lord and his subjects, stemming from the nobility hunting special birds the villagers hand raise and train for their livelihoods.
Now that we've had enough world-building in volumes 1 and 2, we can finally start getting into some substance in this volume. The tension from volume 1 is re-introduced with the visit from Tanbarun's dignitaries, but this time, Shirayuki has the confidence to stand up to her would-be abductor. Izana, introduced in volume 2 as possibly the main "bad guy," continues to try to separate Zen and Shirayuki, but he has thus far been unsuccessful. So far, I have found the story with the trainers and special birds to be more compelling than other side-stories, and it leaves Shirayuki in a precarious place at the close of this volume, the first cliffhanger we've had in this series.
Akiduki's illustrations are extremely detailed and beautiful. The panelling is unique at times, not conforming to a lot of straight lines or even having borders at all. I can almost see the colors of the magnificent birds brought in at the end, even though this is a black-and-white manga.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 8-12
Reviews of previous volumes in the series: vol 1, vol 2
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Fantasy, Romance
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