Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Tale of an Unknown Country, vol. 1

By Natsuna Kawase
Published in the US by CMX Manga

Slugline: Yet another Princess disguised as a maid romance

Rosemarie is the princess of a small and poor country whose brother has arranged her marriage to a neighboring prince. Prince Reynol rules over a wealthy and technologically advanced country and a marriage with him would be a benefit for Rosemarie's country but she has heard many rumors about him, few of them good. Rosemarie disguises herself as a maid to work atReynol's castle in order to learn the truth about him and despite him knowing that she is really the princess, they still managed to get to know each other and decide to go forward with the betrothal. But there are always new challenges as he returns her favor and visits Rosemarie at her own castle.

Most of the book is a lightweight romance until Rosemarie's brother turns into a control freak and reveals that most of the couple's troubles are the result of his own machinations. He is testing the couple to make sure that their love is strong, or something similar is the justification he is using to justify himself. If a parent tried to manipulate their kids this way, there would be no sympathy from the readers but somehow here it is supposed to be acceptable. Any relationship would be hard-pressed to survive similar revelations because t he couple would be continually questioning whether their feeling are real or manipulated. This is another example how the storytelling and art are fine, but the concepts that lay underneath the surface, that help drive the story, are of concern.

A Tale of an Unknown Country, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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