What if modern Korea was a constitutional monarchy similar to England’s? That’s the backdrop for Goong: the Palace, a manhwa that got turned into a wildly popular drama and musical.
Set in an alternate world where the Korean monarchy still exists, the story follows Chae-Kyung Shin, a strong-willed commoner who attends the same high school as Shin Lee, the crown prince. After accidentally witnessing Shin proposing to his girlfriend Hyo-rin and being rejected, Chae-Kyung unexpectedly learns that she will marry Shin and become crown princess due to a promise between the former king and her grandfather.
Yen Press has released Volume 17 of the series, and you can read on for the review. (For my review of previous volumes go here.)
Back Cover Blurb
Amid the fallout from the king’s decision to make Prince Yul the crown prince, Chae-Kyung and Shin make plans to get back together. Meanwhile Yul struggles to get to the bottom of his mother’s involvement in the accident that may have cost Chae-Kyung dearly. But when he confronts her, the Daebi reveals a shocking secret from seventeen years ago, which will set into motion events that will change their lives forever!
At the end of Volume 16, things are shaping up for Shin to go from Crown Prince to ordinary citizen. Creator Park seems to take great pleasure in putting him in a commoner environment. While Shin does complain about being a “Shinderella,” the mood is optimistic and seems to point toward a happy ending despite him losing the throne. However, things never go as planned, and this time they fall apart because of Yul’s mother.
Interestingly, it’s not her scheming that causes the upset; rather, it’s the sum of her misdeeds catching up to her. When Yul catches wind of her part in Chae-Kyung’s accident, he confronts his mother, and what follows is a candid look into the skeletons in the Daebi-Mama’s closet. She’s shown herself to be pretty ruthless throughout so it’s probably not a terrible shock to Goong fans, but I did find her remark, “Even I have a conscience,” to be unexpectedly amusing.
What follows is a major political upheaval that sends Yul out of Korea and drags Shin back to the palace. The perfect storm of Yul’s backroom bargain with the Prime Minister and the king’s downturn in health pushes the plot toward melodrama, but it also results in a healthy amount of comedy. Yul flees to Africa with–of all people–Mi-Roo. She, of course, has an agenda regarding Yul and the charity work she’s supposed to be doing, and it’s pretty funny to see how the spoiled, manipulative rich girl accomplishes her goals in a poverty-stricken village.
As for Shin and Chae-Kyung, they wind up in a situation reminiscent of when they first divorced. They are separated and trying to get on with their lives but can’t seem to forget one another. However, the main difference is this time Chae-Kyung gets a boyfriend, and he’s not a jerk like the guy in Volume 13. With a normal, upstanding fellow now romantically interested in Chae-Kyung and hordes of girls (as usual) swarming Shin at the palace, it will be interesting to see how Creator Park gets them to cross paths again.
Included as extras in this volume are Words from the Creator from the Korean Volumes 25 and 26 and the first page printed in color.
The driver implicated in Chae-Kyung’s auto accident finally comes back to haunt Daebi-Mama. While it is satisfying to see her squirm, the ones who truly suffer for it are Shin and Chae-Kyung. The resulting political upheaval sends them on a roller coaster of emotions as they go from the verge of remarriage to torn apart by royal duty. The volume ends in familiar territory: the two separated but still pining for one another. However, Creator Park adds a new twist with Chae-Kyung’s wonderful new boyfriend. I doubt it will erupt into a full on love triangle, but it does add make for an interesting challenge to Shin and Chae-Kyung’s romance.
First published at the Fandom Post.