Goong: The Royal Palace 3 by Park SoHee: B+

From the back cover:
Chae-Kyung and Shin return to their separate quarters at the palace, but the crown princess can’t shake the feelings aroused by her new husband. Try as she might, there’s no denying it—she’s completely fallen for him! When Chae-Kyung lets a confession slip, she braces herself for the prince’s rejection. Instead, he doesn’t even acknowledge her! Though the suspense is killing Chae-Kyung, does she really want to know what Shin has to say?

This series kind of reminds me of Newton’s third law of physics. No, really. This law states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In volume two, the relationship between Shin and Chae-Kyung was on a pretty even, if antagonistic, course. In this volume, matters first swing one way, as they seem to be getting closer. In one particularly nice conversation, Shin admits that he’s jealous of the closeness of Chae-Kyung’s family and also says that he feels closer to her than anyone. The pendulum then heads back in the opposite direction, with Shin behaving rather cruelly to both Chae-Kyung and his former girlfriend. Because of Shin’s nastiness, I just couldn’t like this volume as much as its predecessor.

I was kind of disappointed with how the cliffhanger from volume two was resolved, but I guess it’s too soon for that kind of thing to go anywhere squee-inducing. It’s kind of frustrating seeing all these covers and splash pages of the main couple being affectionate, because it’s probably going to take a long time for the story to actually get to that point. As the back cover blurb points out, Chae-Kyung does (after some annoying pseudo-confessions done in jest) end up telling Shin how she feels about him. Alas, it’s this that seems to spur him into cruelty, as he threatens to answer the question of whether he still loves his ex in front of both the ex and Chae-Kyung, not to mention a bunch of witnesses at Yul’s birthday party. Chae-Kyung reacts impulsively to her strong desire not to hear the answer, and though she makes a pretty big mistake, I was sympathetic to her sudden fear to know.

This volume also introduces new levels of political intrigue, which I always appreciate. Yul’s late father was the original crown prince, and his mother is now spearheading a campaign to get him posthumously declared King. This will give her a rank called daebi, which will allow her to move into the castle and have a say in how things are done. Her main goal, however, is to restore Yul to his place as the rightful crown prince. Meanwhile, there’s also some romance drama among the older generation, as it’s hinted that Shin’s parents have never loved each other, and his mother is made miserable by knowing that his father was once, and might still be, in love with Yul’s mother. Lastly, Shin concludes the volume by announcing that he intends to relinquish his crown prince duties in a few years.

Oh, teh drama!

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  1. Danielle Leigh says

    Oh, teh drama!

    Heh. I would say “melodrama,” yet somehow Goong makes it work. I’m concerned that sexual desire in almost-adults (they are 18 years old, I believe) is somehow seen as a weakness, but in this situation all affection and emotion could used against either party so I suppose it makes sense…it still bothers me, though.

  2. Yeah, I think what was bothering Chae-Kyung was that her attraction and feelings seemed so very one-sided, and she couldn’t be sure that any overtures she made in that area wouldn’t be received with disdain by Shin.

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