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A Bride's Story, Vol. 2 Hardcover – October 25, 2011
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Amir’s family has decided that she would be more valuable in a different marriage, so they come to her new town to take her back from her 12-year-old husband, Karluk, not expecting that he will fight for his 20-year-old bride. Mori’s moving story of life in central Asia in the nineteenth century continues to amaze with stunningly beautiful art that seems to leap right off of the page. Some nudity and violence, as well as the subtlety of the writing, makes this best suited for more mature teen or adult audiences. Grades 10-12. --Snow Wildsmith
About the Author
Kaoru Mori's previous series, Emma, about a maid and a gentleman in Victorian England, has been lauded by Library Journal and was named to the YALSA Great Graphic Novels list. A Bride's Story has only broadened her fan base in Japan and the U.S. with its elegant style and delicate story.
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** This review contains no spoilers either volume. **
Volume 2 continues to follow Amir as she adjusts to life in her new village with her young husband and new family. The first half picks up the pace a bit from volume 1. The spotlight is on Amir further integrating into her new home and the ties she's formed, culminating in a touchy political situation with her former family boiling over. As always Mori's focus is firmly on the characters and everything evolves naturally from their reactions to unfolding events. The second half quiets down again with enchanting chapters about swirling emotions and the weight of tradition, and ends with a change in the status quo. I really enjoyed everything here, and it's little character moments and the depth of emotion conveyed that elevates this manga to something unique and special. The accessibility Mori gives to a time period and way of life that is very strange to today's mindset is a wonderful accomplishment in itself.
Adding to A Bride's Story's impressiveness is the most amazing art I've ever seen. Perfect composition and flow, an absurd level of detail, and incredible facial expressions and body language. Every panel of every page is carefully designed and of extremely high quality.
Overall the second volume of A Bride's Story is just as great as the first and expands its engaging look into Amir and Karluk's world and lives.
1. Woman/Girl is strong, independent, and effective as a protector and leader.
2. Woman/Girl meets a naive, weak, or immature man/boy.
3. Woman/Girl slowly falls in love as the man/boy matures.
4. Woman/Girl gradually becomes more dependent on the man/boy.
5. Man/boy rescues woman/girl, who has become weak and helpless. Her helplessness makes the man/boy appear strong.
6. Woman/Girl tries to be noble and strong but is ineffective. Her male love interest must rescue her repeatedly throughout the series.
6. Story ends with "rightful" gender roles in place.
This story is heading in this direction like many other female-centric manga. It saddens me that Amir is going to be forced into the traditional role of damsel in distress. Mangaka have the power to change this sexist and inaccurate dynamic by not following such cliche conventions, but rarely do they ever deviate. If you want a series that empowers women, read the first volume, then find something else. "A Bride's Story" completely removes its focus from this amazing character and transforms her into the "weaker sex." For more empowering, female-centric manga, I recommend "Revolutionary Girl Utena," "Sailor Moon," "Maximum Ride," "Cardcaptor Sakura," and "Magic Knight Rayearth." Sexism aside, the story is turtle-paced unless Amir is at the center.
With all that being said, the artwork is amazing and unrivaled. Few artists from around the world could match Mori's skill. But she needs better writer...