Title: Goong – The Royal Palace #1
Author: So Hee Park
Publisher: Ice Kunion
May Contain Spoilers
Set in an alternate Korea where the monarchy still rules, Chae-Kyong is a 17 year old high school student from a humble background. Her father is unemployed, and her mother sells insurance to keep food on the table. When she learns that her grandfather made a promise to the deceased king, she’s horrified. It seems that they agreed for her and the crown prince to wed. While most girls would be delighted by the prospect of marrying into royalty, Chae-Kyong is opposed to the idea. The crown prince, Shin Lee, is a total jerk, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with him!
I stopped at Borders on my way home from my crushing defeat at the horse show, wanting to use my Christmas reward points before they expired. I was surprised to see Goong on the shelves; it’s been delayed so many times I half expected it to end up in vapor land. With my reward points, the book was free, so I picked it up.
I thought the premise of the royal heir attending a public high school while the rest of the family attends the exclusive Royal High a little shaky, but I dismissed this as nit-picking. All of the girls drool over the handsome prince, including Chae-Kyong. While taking out the trash, she has a run-in with Shin, and quickly forms the opinion that he’s an arrogant jerk, while Shin finds her a clown. He only agrees to marry her because he thinks she’ll give his family a hard time with her embarrassing antics. The tables are turned on him when Chae-Kyong allows reporters to take an unflattering picture of her, and it ends up on the front page of every newspaper.
I have to agree with Chae-Kyong about the prince. He’s a jerk. To keep his girlfriend, pretty Hyo-Rin, out of the glaring spot-light, he agrees to marry Chae-Kyong and brutally makes her fully aware of the reason he’s putting up with the marriage. He doesn’t like her, and he doesn’t care that she’ll be miserable being subjected to the constant scrutiny of the press. Can you feel the love?
Yul, his cousin, and the crown prince before his father died, returns to Korea after living aboard. He’s a more sympathetic character, and I’m almost hoping Chae-Kyong ends up with him instead. I love his reason for attending their high school instead of Royal High; he can wear his hair any way he likes, and won’t have to cut it. I guess decisions to attend academic institutions have been sillier, but I can’t think of one right now.
Chae-Kyong is opposed to the marriage, but after seeing how tired her mother has become trying to take care of the family, she agrees to go along with the plan. When she tells the queen that she’ll marry the prince if it means her family can live more comfortably, she is firmly put back in her place. She’ll not be allowed to impose conditions on the wedding, though the queen has already considered helping her family. I found the queen to be a very intimidating character, and I don’t envy Chae-Kyong her new family!
While nothing special, the art moved the story along and it was easy to follow the panel layouts. I didn’t care for the comedic deformed characters as I found them ugly rather than funny. I love the colors and textured look of the cover.
Included is a rather lengthy interview with the creator. She discusses the Goong manga, and the tv series that is based on her work. There are also photos of So Hee Park to accompany the text.
Rated for Teen 13+