Sunday, October 28, 2012

Manga Review: The Story of Saiunkoku, Volume 3, by Kairi Yura and Sai Yukino

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 9

Goodreads Synopsis:

Reads R to L (Japanese Style) T audience. Shurei Hong, destitute but of noble birth, has always dreamed of working as a civil servant in the imperial court of Saiunkoku, but women are barred from holding office. The emperor Ryuki, however, refuses to take command, leaving everything to his advisors. Shurei is asked to become a consort to the emperor to persuade the ne’er-do-well ruler to govern.


It has taken me forever to get this volume. And I even have the next one, and have had it for months, but this one was nowhere to be found. The lack of manga availability in my area is frustrating beyond belief.
In the previous two books, I was not very impressed with this series. The language is a bit dense, and I’m not all that interested in the history, and it was just not as interesting as I wanted it to be. But I already had the fourth volume (since I found it on sale), and so I needed to get this one and read it. I was hoping that it would get better, although I had doubts that it would. And in the first half of the book, I was still not really enjoying it, but in that second half… I’m not really sure why, but I started to enjoy it a bit more than I was expecting to.
In this volume, we meet a new character: Ensei, who knows Seiran from some time before. Shurei lets him stay with them, since he has nowhere else to go. Seiran ends up working outside the palace, working to catch some bandits, while Shurei and Ensei work inside the palace with a mysterious, masked, Minister Ko. Where Shurei has to pretend to be a boy, since girls can’t work in the ministry. She doesn’t mind pretending to be a boy, even if it upsets her that she can’t get a job there as a woman.
There is very little of Ryuki in this volume, which was sad because he’s pretty much my favorite character in this series. He’s just so adorable, and it’s so charming how he refers to himself as ‘we’. The little we did get to see of him was nice, and most of it included him working. Also, he spoke up at some meeting and told the ministry how he wanted to allow women to work in the palace. They did not accept this, which just means that he’s going to have to work harder to get them to agree.
I was a bit surprised by this, but only because I hadn’t thought of the possibility of women not working and how much Shurei would like to work there. And I love that Ryuki wants her to so badly. Also, Minister Ko walked out of the meeting, supposedly in outrage, but I believe he knows that Shurei is a girl, or is at least suspicious.
Oh, we also found out that Shurei is afraid of storms, and we got to see a memory of her mother and Seiran. That was cute, and very entertaining to see.
So, for some reason, I am a bit excited to read the next book, and very glad that I already have it. I hope it’s good, but I am a bit wary that it won’t be as good as I want it to be. We’ll see.

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