Pig Bride 1 by KookHwa Huh and SuJin Kim: B+

pigbride1From the back cover:
Lost in the mountains on a trip to summer camp, eight-year-old Si-Joon fears he’ll never make it out alive. When a strange girl in a pig mask appears before him, he follows her to a house deep in the woods, where he is told that he must marry the pig-faced girl to atone for the sins of their ancestors. Si-Joon’s not too keen on getting married, but that wedding feast looks so delicious! It’s only afterward that he realizes what he’s done and… wakes up. Now in high school, Si-Joon Lee has been dreaming about the pig bride for as long as he can remember. But it’s all just a dream, right?

The only son of a rich and elite family, eight-year-old Si-Joon Lee has, once again, been sent away to summer camp due to his parents’ busy schedules. Bored and miffed that his games and cell phone have been confiscated, he heads off into the mountains and gets lost. He encounters a girl wearing a pig mask and, when she drops it and flees, runs after her to return it. The chase leads him to a house where a woman announces that she’s been waiting for him. She tells Si-Joon about a folk tale wherein a man marries an ugly shrine maiden who then protected him, and that he is the descendant of that man while the girl in the pig mask, Mu-Yeon (also cursed with a hideous face), is a descendant of the shrine maiden. His marrying Mu-Yeon will release her from the curse but, more importantly, he’ll then be able to partake of the sumptuous feast prepared for the wedding festivities. He complies.

The next day, Si-Joon is rescued by a search party and, in the intervening eight years, has managed to convince himself the entire experience was a dream. Mu-Yeon, however, had promised to return to him on his sixteenth birthday and proceeds to do just that, knocking at his door and announcing, “I have come to consummate our marriage.” Si-Joon persists in thinking it’s a dream for a while, but mostly just a) wants her to go away since he likes someone else and b) wants to know what she looks like. His roommate Ji-Oh is a little more savvy, realizing both that the girl Si-Joon likes is not wholesome and sweet like she appears to be and that Mu-Yeon seems to be protecting Si-Joon from an unseen supernatural threat.

While there are a few problems with this volume—it’s extremely unclear why Si-Joon is being targeted and also very obvious that his love interest, Doe-Doe, is a Mean Girl—I ended up enjoying it quite a lot. Si-Joon could’ve been an unlikable character, with his stated dislike of strong women and preference for someone quiet and gentle, but his genuine puzzlement over why girls make such a fuss over him makes it clear that it’s not feminine strength that he objects to, really, but just the shrill pushiness that he faces day in, day out as girls try to curry his favor by hurling boxes of homemade cookies at him. I also quite like Mu-Yeon’s calm competency and aura of mystery as well as Ji-Oh’s discerning nature and level of participation in the story.

This series is off to a very promising start and I’ll be interested to see where it goes from here.

Pig Bride is published by Yen Press. Volume one is available now and volume two will technically be available in August 2009, though Amazon shows it as in stock. The series is complete in Korea with a total of five volumes.

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  1. I am glad you 1) got a copy of this (no thanks to me) and 2) enjoyed it! 🙂

  2. I’m glad to see another review on this series. I had some of the same perceptions as you did, and I think it will be interesting to see where this story goes.

    • Hi, Laura! Thanks for the comment. One thing I’m especially happy about is that the series is only five volumes long, which seems to indicate it’ll maintain that fairy tale feel and wrap up before things get drawn out for too long. We’ll see. 🙂


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