My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A historical fiction manga set in 19th century Central Asia near the Caspian Sea. The story follows 20-year-old Amir Halgal who is married into the Eihon family to 12-year-old Karluk. Amir strives to do right by her new family & fulfill her duties as a wife & daughter-in-law. But trouble is on the horizon as Amir’s family contemplates reneging on the bridal agreement & marrying Amir to another clan.
The first volume of A Bride’s Story sets the tone for an atmospheric, leisurely-paced story that lovingly recreates period details such as the craftsmanship of building a house or the importance of a herd of sheep to a nomadic tribe. This measured pace allows curious readers to get comfortable with the unfamiliar setting & characters. With that said, Amir, in this volume, seems a little too perfect. She is respectful to her new in-laws & considerate of others, quick-witted, an excellent hunter, able to flawlessly make fancy clothing & is in no way upset about being married to a pre-teen boy. Then again, this is the same artist that produced Emma: A Victorian Romance which suffered with a similar “perfect” protagonist that everyone loved. It also took this reader some getting used to the idea that this beautiful accomplished woman was often thought of as too old or inferior in regards to her status as a marriageable asset. I’m not saying I misunderstand the context of time & culture–just that the tonal disparity blunted my interest in reading further. Perhaps I will pick up this series again at a later time because I was very curious in the world Mori creates.