Series: A Bride’s Story, Vol. 1
Translator: William Flannagan
Publisher: Yen Press
Pub. Date: 2009 (2011 for this edition)
Genres: Historical Fiction, Manga
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Along the 19th-century Silk Road, Amir Halgal, a twenty-year-old woman from a nomadic tribe, goes to live with the twelve-year-old boy she is betrothed to. As she starts her life in a stationary family, she encounters cultural differences that are enjoyed. She hunts with a bow and arrow (part of her dowry) and sews magnificent clothes of a different style than her betrothed’s family. A problem arises when her brother wants to bring her home to marry her to another man, but she is not there to face it. She worries over and teases her fiance. Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story brings a light and sometimes funny story to the Silk Road.
I found this book while looking for graphic novels to read for a children’s literature class, but it is not children’s literature at all. It looked like an interesting manga that would not be placed on the epic scale of Magi. It was an entertaining, short read.
I don’t know much about the Silk Road or the region, so I can’t speak to the historical accuracy. The only information I have to go on is that the author is obsessed enough with the Silk Road to write about it. The setting is beautiful and reminds me of settings in Christian fiction. The clothing is stunning and detailed, but that makes it difficult to tell the female characters apart.
On the subject of characters, they are okay. Amir, the bride, is beautiful and exciting, but I see hardly any flaws in her. Her fiance is flat, yet he is central to the story. My favorite character is the Matron of the family. She is a background character for most of the book, but she comes out as a tough grandma who uses her age to her advantage. I read her dialogue with an old lady voice while the other dialogue had no specific voice to me.
The plot development is fairly minimal. There is no total plot for the volume. The plot sticks to one chapter and stretches across the series. The only bit of plot that caught my eye was the one instance that will develop in later volumes.
The only themes I can find in the book are embracing cultural differences and protecting the family.
The first volume of the series is entertaining and fast to read, but it lacks major character development and a great plot on some level. I am interested in reading a second volume, but it needs to be better than the first for me to continue with the rest of the series.