Volumes (in Korea): 23, ongoing
Published in English by Yen Press, currently out with 9 volumes
From Yen Press:
Monarchy ended long ago in Korea, but there are still other countries with Kings, Queens, princes and princesses. What if Korea had continued monarchism? What if all the beautiful palaces which are now only historical relics were actually filled with people? What if the glamorous royal family still maintained the palace customs? Welcome to a world where Korea still has the royal family living their lives! But for Che-Kyung, a high-school girl, this is a tragedy, since she has to marry the prince who turns out to be a total jerk!
Why You Should Read This:
You have to admire a manhwaga (the term for someone who writes/draws manhwa, Korean equivalent for Manga) who recreates the entire country with such exacting detail that the insertion of the monarchy into the society is seamless and not entirely unbelievable. While you are asked to suspend your perceptions of reality when first starting this volume, if you didn’t know better, you would actually believe that the monarchy does exist in contemporary Korea so precise is Ms. Park’s story. And while I know that many people scoff at the graphic novel not having much intellectual value (and sometimes, that’s true but not always), no one would underestimate the amount of work that goes on creating a good series.
I was actually thinking whether writers who simply work with words have it easier or graphic artists who have to work with both art and words to capture audiences? I still haven’t come to a conclusion but if pushed I’d say that it is the graphic artists who have it harder. Anyway, back to Goong.
Goong is the Korean term for Palace. The heroine of the series finds herself in a position, which superficially would provoke envy, of being betrothed to the nation’s Crown Prince. The same Crown Prince who attends the same school she does, the same guy she overheard proposing to his girlfriend (and getting rejected). To say that she’s not thrilled with the idea of getting married to him is…well, an understatement. But things happen, they get married and so begins their married life.
The intrigue that forms the background of what is essentially a love story is impressive. So Hee Park manages to portray the depths of human greed, desire and desperation so convincingly that the reader forgets that it’s a story she’s reading, that these people aren’t real and that no, if she doesn’t find out what happens next, she won’t die. It’s that addictive, guys.
Che-kyung is a spunky heroine. No wishy washy heroine for us. And she’s really not all that princess like. Her journey from the person she was and the person she becomes is full of mistakes, mischief and fun. The prince? Well, let’s just say he got more than he bargained for with Che-kyung.
Yes, the culture differences will surprise you a bit, probably. Especially if you aren’t used to it but it’s so delightful to explore different (and new) cultures. Anyway, this manhwa was made into a television drama series and you should totally check it out if you like the manhwa. :)