How did I get it: The library.
Why did I get it: I have been thinking about this series for awhile and eventually it occurred to me to see if a library owned any of it. A few did, of course. And even simply looking at the covers, I knew the art was going to be awesome so of course I had to check this series out.
How I would rate it: 5 out of 5 stars for volumes 1-3. But 3.5 out of 5 stars for volumes 4-6.
Mi-Kyung Yun takes us on a journey to Habaek’s kingdom, where the cursed Water God tries to hide his dark secrets from his new bride! Humor, drama, and a bit of horror combine, as human bride Soah tries to uncover the truth behind her strange husband’s predicament and his previous wife’s early, brutal demise.
While Huye distracts her with flirtations and the dreadful goddess Murah becomes increasingly jealous, strong-willed Soah is determined to find out why her powerful, moody husband Habaek is cursed to live in the form of a little boy during the day, returning to his true, adult body at night. Soah’s inner strength and determination saved her village from drought and famine so now she must pit her guts and guile against the unpredictable elemental gods in order to find happiness in the new world she’s trapped in.
Review: When it comes to Japanese manga, I prefer the action-packed shounen manga geared towards boys and I definitely do not read a lot of shoujo manga which is a bit more romantic and geared towards girls. As a result, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Korean sunjeong manhwa, which is very much like shoujo manga in terms of being for girls and focusing on romance. Personally, I enjoyed the start of this series for the most part although admittedly slightly less as it continued because there was very little action of any kind and not enough going on plot-wise.
I loved the historical setting that was chosen and the realm of the Water God where lots of other elementals lived. I cared about virtually all of the “good” characters, and really liked that there are still plenty of mysteries surrounding their backgrounds left to reveal. The gods all embody so much and have such strange connections to one another, not to mention unique reactions to Soah’s presence. I also enjoyed the romantic elements. It was a bit baffling that Soah had a hard time figuring out what was going on with Habaek/Mui though. Not to mention disheartening because I actually really want these two characters to just get together and cheer each other up. Sadly, I think that that is only going to happen on the very last page of the last volume of this series.
As a reader it’s also pretty clear that the situation Soah finds herself regardless of where she winds up is pretty overwhelming. However, the fact that she can never figure out what is going on with Habaek/Mui was a bit of an issue for me especially since the story pretty much hinges on Soah never putting two and two together and realizing they’re the same person. As a result misunderstanding heaps upon misunderstanding with the same sort of result by the end of each volume. Soah is still baffled and Habaek/Mui is still recovering from the loss of another bride who eventually comes back. And when the previous bride does comes back, she is just so horrid and creates so many more uselessly flimsy misunderstandings that the volumes began to loose a lot of their charm.
Towards the beginning there were a lot of light-hearted moments mixed in with the romantic longing, sadness, and crazy weirdness, which seemed to decrease as time passed. Hopefully such moments will return in later volumes. And in typical manhwa/manga style, the characters offer up amusing asides and go from comical to serious very quickly. Every volume also ends with adorable cartoon strips of the author (as a panda) talking about how much this story means to her and just little day in the life moments that are incredibly amusing and sweet.
In conclusion, a good series if a little uneven in terms of my enjoyment. I will read more, but I’m not not sure I’ll be in a hurry to get volume 7 since there’s still a lot of opportunities left for Soah to be miserable while the Water God can’t be bothered to explain himself succinctly.
Still, if shoujo manga appeals to you, I would highly suggest that you give this sunjeong manhwa series a shot. The translations are well-done, the art is amazing, and the characters are, for the most part, very sympathetic.