The Royal Palace Goong Volumes 1-4 Review

 “Monarchy ended long ago in Korea, but there are still other countries with Kings, Queens, princes and princesses. What if Korea had continued monarchism? What if all the beautiful palace which are now only historical relics were actually filled with people? What if the glamorous royal family still maintained the palace customs?”

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Hello everybody! Today we are reviewing the first four volumes of a Korean manga by So-Hee Park. I am very happy to be back with manga reviews starting with this series.

DSC_0140bThe story follows a high school girl named Chae-Kyung who is betrothed to the Crown Prince Shin Lee due to a promise made between Chae-Kyung’s grandfather and Shin’s late grandfather. The first three volumes are pretty easygoing. Most of it is Chae-Kyung and Shin adjusting to life with one another.

Rating: 4.5/5 happy clouds Crop_45 Clouds Transparent

Chae-KyungI really feel bad for Chae-Kyung. She’s thrown into the royal family with no prior notice all on a whim of a promise decided upon eve before she was born. She has to learn customs, royal etiquette, carry the burdens and the duties that come with the title of Crown Princess. Her selfless personality and her willingness to compromise with others to keep the peace (well, except when it comes to Shin), makes it really easy to sympathize with her character.

At the start of the series I thought Shin was going to be the stuck-up loner prince who doesn’t talk to anyone but falls for the princess as soon as they marry and starts opening up to her. Fat chance. Shin is obnoxious, difficult and self-absorbed. At first, I really disliked these traits but then I realized that if monarchy had continued in Korea all the way to present day, it’s no surprise that a prince like Shin, whose been raised as royalty, protected by all and waited on by hundreds of servants, would appear.

Capture2Shin’s your typical too spoiled prince who doesn’t give a lick about the royal family’s throne. Because he’s so different from Chae-Kyung in both social status, personality and upbringing, Chae-Kyung is slowly teaching Shin what compassion and true kindness is. At the same time, someone with Chae-Kyung’s personality could never survive in the ruthless court of royal politics and it’s really Shin who teaches her how to stand up for her own beliefs without kowtowing to other senior family members.

It’s rare to see a romantic drama where the two main characters are so at odds with one another. However, it’s also vastly amusing to observe from a reader’s point of view. We know that Chae-Kyung and Shin are going to live happily ever after at the very end of the series but for now, Shin’s decided to divorce Chae-Kyung in two to three years and give up his position as the Crown Prince. Will Chae-Kyung change that about him and how will it all happen?

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Capture3While all this is happening with the main characters, other figures in the royal courts are planning their own agenda.  Yul is Shin’s cousin and the original Crown Prince (before his father passed away) and there is some serious tension between him and Shin. Yul’s mother is trying to break Chae-Kyung’s spirit so that the Crown couple will crumble and Hyo-Rin, Shin’s past friend/girlfriend who is trying to win Shin back.

Capture7There’s definitely a lot of political drama but it’s balanced out with Chae-Kyung’s inner thoughts and comedic expressions from time to time. Eunuch Kong is another comedic figure to the story (LOL especially when he totally interrupts Chae-Kyung and Shin’s romantic moment in the waterways). I would recommend this to older shojo readers who are perhaps interested in Korean monarchism. Fans of historical dramas and ancient Korean series will also enjoy this story. There’s a fair share of Korean terms used in the royal household that take some getting-use-to. What I truly admire about the series is its realism. Chae-Kyung and Shin’s interactions are totally believable and I could see the story really unfold in reality if the Korean monarchy were to continue.

The series recently finished last year and there are (whoa) twenty seven volumes in total so it’ll be a long and exciting read especially if you’re waiting for the officially translated versions.  Volume 13 comes out on Sept 24 and I would recommend buying this series if you like the sound of story.

I hope you guys enjoyed this review, more manga reviews are coming soon 😉 Thank you so much for reading!

– Cloudy

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