The French people grow increasingly unruly as a nation-wide food shortage gets worse, and it’s clear that the nobility and the royal family has not suffered in the slightest. The king also fires the Minister of Finance, who the people believed to be their advocate to the monarchy. They take up whatever arms they can find and flood the streets, causing the king to send his troops into the streets as well Oscar leads a reluctant group of soldiers who do not wish to March against the people, but Oscar assures her men that they will not harm the citoyens. Fighting breaks out, and Oscar makes the difficult decision to turn her forces against the French troops who started the bloodshed. She then marches on The Bastille and leads a people’s takeover. As the people decide whether they need the monarchy or not, Fersen sneaks back into France and tries to get the royal family out and into Austria. The plan fails, and the people are disgusted that Louis would abandon the fatherland. They imprison the royal family, sentence Louis to death, separate Marie from her children, and eventually put her on trial, where her missteps from the past volumes are brought against her as proof that she cared little for the people of France.
We all know how the story of Louis and Marie Antoinette would end, but there’s still so much tension and build up woven onto each page that Ikeda gives hope that they could escape, or the people could decide to spare them. This volume also does finally get some resolution and relief for all the build up of Oscar and André’s romantic tension that has been rising throughout the story. After the historical drama has concluded, there is a side story focusing on Oscar, Rosalie, Andre, and a little girl named Loulou, but that could have probably been included with volume 5 where there are more adventures of Loulou, so instead we end on this interesting note of a story based on a real woman named Elizabeth Bathony who did murder a lot of people, but it seems like a strange place to end volume four.
The main story and some interesting tone shifts itself as well. We begin by focusing mainly on Marie Antoinette, but for several chapters, the focus shifts away to Lord Oscar. At the end here, we go back to Marie Antoinette just in time to see her be killed, but not with enough time to fully be sympathetic again. I'll need some more time to stew on on this to decide whether this was purposeful on Ikeda's part or not. Either way, the series is still masterful and beautifully illustrated, and I can clearly see its influence on so many manga series that I have read since its publication. It's definitely something to include in a manga collection that aims to be inclusive of seminal works in the field.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
Reviews of previous volumes in this series: vol 1, vol 2, vol 3
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
ISBN: 9781927925966 (Hardcover)
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Historical Fiction, Romance, Udon Entertainment
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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