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Title: A Bride’s Story Vol 1
Author: Kaoru Mori
Publisher: Yen Press
May Contain Spoilers
Amir is twenty years old when she marries her husband, a boy named Karluk from a neighboring village. Adjusting to life in a new household can be trying for any young bride, but Amir’s husband is eight years her junior! Amir was a strong, sophisticated hunter and horsewoman in her village, but though their villages were next to each other, their customs are very different. As Amir introduces Karluk to the foods and pastimes that were popular among her comrades back home, the warmth she feels for her young husband grows.
A Bride’s Story is a hard book to review, because in order to truly appreciate how special it is, you have to actually look at it. Kaoru Mori’s art is beautiful and engaging, and it takes you to Mongolia. Gorgeously detailed illustrations, elaborately rendered with stunning precision, make you feel like you are part of the story. The finely etched costumes, rugs, and buildings give an added dimension to the story of a girl trying to fit in with her new family. The drawings are so pretty that they actually took my breath away, and this book definitely deserves the first class production values that Yen Press has lovingly granted it.
Much like Emma, the storytelling is subdued and quiet, with events building on each other to chronicle the life of a young, newly married couple. Amir is 20, and she has traveled to her new home, alone, and on horseback. Her young husband, Karluk, is eight years her junior. As Amir settles in with her new family, she has to learn new customs so she can fit in with her new clan. So many things are different – modes of dress, diet, traditions – yet they share many customs as well. Being an agreeable, if somewhat bold, young woman, Amir doesn’t want to cause any waves. She tries hard to please everyone, and she quickly becomes part of the family.
Amir is a wonderful character, and I found that I liked her immediately. She goes out of her way to make her new family happy, and she takes her new position in the family very seriously. She is capable, too, and an accomplished horsewoman as well as a skilled hunter. Her family is nomadic during the summer, while Karluk’s family has given up wandering with their sheep herds. When they go in search of Karluk’s relatives, who still practice a nomadic lifestyle, Amir teaches him about the plains and about sheep herding.
I don’t know how to express how I feel about this book. I enjoyed it immensely, and loved the illustrations. If anything, Kaoru Mori has become even more skilled than in her EMMA days. If you liked EMMA, you will like A Bride’s Story. This is an exploration of relationships and family more than anything else, with subtle dramas offset by the more mundane tasks of everyday life. What’s amazing is the firm grasp Mori has for relationships, and how she makes even the most ordinary events interesting and compelling. If you are looking for a series that isn’t about magic and endless fighting, but instead explores people and how they relate with each other, you can’t find a better place to start than here.
Review copy purchased from Amazon