Kaoru Mori is best known for her work, Emma, an exquisite romance/slice-of-life set in Victorian England. Her latest work to be released in the United States, A Bride’s Story, is also a historical/slice-of-life but is vastly different than Emma. Set in Central Asia in a rural town near the Caspian Sea during the early 19th century, A Bride’s Story revolves around a young woman, Amir, who arrives from a distant village across the mountains to marry Karluk, a boy 8 years her junior. Volume 6 has recently been released, and you can read on for the review. (For reviews of other volumes, click here.)
Back Cover Blurb
Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori’s tale of life on the nineteenth-century Silk Road heads back to Amir and Karluk. In the year since his marriage, Karluk has grown a good deal, but Amir can’t help but feel overprotective of her much younger husband. Karluk wants nothing more than to prove that he can be a strong and competent man–and he may soon have the opportunity to prove just that. Desperate for land to feed their flocks, Amir’s former tribe prepares to attack her village with a fearsome arsenal of cannons and guns provided by their new allies. This time the Halgals are not interested in capturing Amir–no one is safe from their terrible assault!
After spending the last couple volumes with twin brides Laila and Leily, the story returns to its original bride Amir and her native clan’s as of yet unresolved dilemma. It’s been a while since the story’s touched on this particular arc, and Mori-sensei provides a handy recap of the circumstances that drove the Halgal to try to take Amir from her new family. While the Halgal’s failure to retrieve Amir resulted in a happy ending for her and Karluk, it left the Halgal with no solution for their predicament. Now, with winter approaching, the tribe is desperate, and the one who really shines in the tumult is Amir’s brother Azel.
Recent chapters have spent a lot of time on kids starting to take on the role of adults. Even Volume 6 opens with Karluk arguing with Amir because he wants to wear the clothes of a man, not a boy. However, once Azel returns to the story, everything changes. He is without question a man. Most of this volume is told from his perspective, and these chapters paint him as both a sympathetic and sexy character. Mori-sensei seems to revel in showing off Azel’s masculinity, whether on horseback, hunting game, or on the battlefield. She even finds an excuse to have him go shirtless for several pages, and yes, it is dazzling eye-candy.
The Halgal’s crisis causes a split among generational lines. Unfortunately, seniority trumps all, and Azel and the other young men must obey their elders despite their misgivings. The clan chief’s eagerness to ally himself with the Badan is the weakest part of the plot. The deal’s so obviously fishy that a disgusted Joruk says, “Even I can see that, and I’m an idiot!”
However, if you can ignore the fact that the Halgal elders are wholesale fools, the rest of the book is an excellent read. The subsequent joint attack on the village is thrilling with battle scenes that jump off the pages. Karluk and Amir once more display their bravery and devotion to one another, but Azel is the one who really shines. I have a feeling that his fangirl following will rise sharply after this installment.
Extras include Mori-sensei’s manga style afterword.
The Halgal plot another attack on Karluk’s village. This time it’s not about seizing a bride but taking everything. Amir’s older brother is the star of this volume, a stunning contrast to his seemingly deranged father. If you’ve wanted to see the strength of a nomadic herdsman exemplified, this volume showcases Azel’s skills both in the solitary wilderness of the mountains and in the heat of battle.
First published at the Fandom Post.