Goong: The Royal Palace 5 by Park SoHee: B+

goong5With Shin off on an extended visit to England, Chae-Kyung is left alone in the palace with no allies except Prince Yul, whose interactions with her are half manipulative, half sincere. Her maids are concerned because she’s losing weight and refusing their herbal remedies; Chae-Kyung is more concerned about Shin’s coldness than her health, since he hasn’t returned any of her phone calls or e-mails. When Shin returns from England with scandal at his heels, their relationship is in for another rocky patch.

The strength of Goong continues to be the relationship between Shin and Chae-Kyung; their scenes together are riveting and Shin’s tentative steps toward more gentle treatment of Chae-Kyung are wonderful to see. Unfortunately, this means that the scenes in which they are separated are not as interesting in comparison, especially the more comedic parts, like some strange pages detailing the visiting Prince William’s friendship with the wizened palace eunuch. One notable exception is the wonderful moment in which we see Chae-Kyung’s parents, whose visit with their daughter has been cancelled by Yul’s mother, watching her on television and marveling at her new composure and confidence while simultaneously finding it somehow sad.

Goong really is a terrific series. Each time I finish a volume I wish I had the next.

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

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