Goong: The Royal Palace 4 by Park SoHee: A-

A promise between their grandfathers leads to the wedding of regular girl Chae-Kyung to the crown prince, Shin. Their relationship was antagonistic at first, but Chae-Kyung eventually realizes she’s fallen for the mercurial prince while formerly friendless Shin gets a taste of what it feels like to have someone always by his side.

In this volume, the thawing of relations between the married couple continues while unforeseen political enemies grow in power. By wrangling to have a posthumous honor bestowed upon her late husband, Shin’s aunt earns a place for herself in the palace with the power to make Chae-Kyung’s life miserable. Both the romantic and political aspects to the story are interesting, and I’m continually impressed with Park SoHee’s ability to make a simple conversation between two people such a riveting thing.

Particularly worthy of praise is the development of Shin’s cousin, Yul. When initially introduced, Yul was a sympathetic character, a former royal grandson who lost his title, his home, and his fiancée to Shin upon the death of his father. The gradual revelation of his sly manipulation of Chae-Kyung has been well done, throwing new light on all of their prior, seemingly innocent, interactions.

One minor flaw the series possesses is the unattractive artwork that crops up during comedic moments. Most of the time the art is very pretty, though, and it’s true that these ugly episodes are occurring less frequently as the series progresses. I also wasn’t keen on the gag occurring at the end of the volume.

With its engaging characters, (generally) attractive art, and political intrigue, Goong has me pretty well hooked. How long ‘til volume five?

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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  1. Well, I haven’t read Goong (maybe I should wait until it’s complete in English), but the reviews make me think it has a little in common with “Marry Me”, with the whole ordinary-person-randomly-marrying-a-celebrity plotline.

  2. It’s not entirely random in the case of Goong, but probably there are some similarities. 🙂 At this point the story’s more about the political intrigue and how that will affect Chae-Kyung and her homesickness.

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