Bride’s Story 2

November 3, 2012

Kaoru Mori – Yen Press – 2011 – 4+ volumes

This series is so wonderful! I read this ages ago, but it sank to the bottom of the review pile. A shame, because this is such a very unique, beautiful series. The hardcovers cost a bit more, but they are worth it.

The story of Amir’s family life continues as the members of her old village return to bring her back. They claim her marriage hasn’t been consummated since she is not with child, and they wish to marry her to another village in order to form an alliance. There’s actually two chapters dedicated to the conflict, which is a little out-of-character for this series. But it’s not really about that. It’s more about the minutae of village life, about how Amir is slowly but surely fitting in, and about the relationship between she and Karluk.

The minutae of village life is what’s most interesting, though. We get to see Amir bake bread, we learn about a shrine rumored to grant women safe births, and cloth. There’s a long section towards the end of the volume on cloth and embroidery. It goes into a lot of detail about the different patterns the women use, how important it is to learn, the generational stories behind each pattern, and different pieces needed for a woman’s dowry. It was an absolutely charming story, and the very best thing about the volume. It’s clear that Mori has thoroughly researched the culture, time period, and setting in this story, and all the small details shine through. It also helps that the theme is such an unusual one. I can’t remember the last novel, comic, movie, or otherwise I’ve read or seen with this setting. I love it quite a bit for that alone.

Aside from that, and the battle with Amir’s birth family, we also do spend some time watching Amir and Karluk grow closer. Previously, they’ve been very courteous to one another, but now their relationship is turning into love, and the other women observe that Amir has gained “a woman’s heart,” in other words, she is very bashful around Amir and goes to great lengths to please him.

We also meet Pariya, a very forthright girl that takes a liking to Amir while the two are baking bread one day. Pariya is growing a bit old to be married off, but we learn that others find her “cheeky.” It’s true that she is not afraid to speak her mind, and it sets her apart from other, more meeker brides. But she becomes more and more a part of the story, and the way she speaks up to set things right make her a charming character.

And again, Mori’s art is a big part of what brings the setting and story alive. She can really draw in a lot of detail, and it matters a lot in this series. Costumes, settings, characters, and the intricate patterns that make up everything in the lives of the characters all make this series a feast for the eyes.

I mean… really. I can’t recommend it enough. I haven’t let myself pick up volume 3 yet (not until I reviewed this one!), but it looks like it might follow a different couple. I hope not, because I feel like Amir’s story isn’t quite over yet. Hopefully it’ll come back.

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