By Kaoru Mori, released in English by Yen Press
A Bride's Story is the story of Amir Halgal, a young lady of 20 years sent of from her tribe to an arranged marriage in the 19th century on the silk road. Her husband is 8 years her younger and we follow her and him as she adjusts to her new life in the village. Over these 5 chapters we are treated to some of the more splendid bits of manga story telling out there, resulting in a book that is a great read.
One of the first things you'll notice with Mori's work is the detail in the design work of the manga. The panel lay out here is breathtaking, as the full page spreads give pull you into the action and the pacing of the story. Design work is elegant and beautiful, resulting in some of the most beautiful clothing designs I've seen in a manga for awhile. And the full page spreads are a delight to see as they help convey the setting in a way few comics and manga do.
Of course all this would be for naught if the characters weren't good, and luckily here we have a great lead. Amir is a strong, interesting character who get to know first through a well done action scene of her hunting a rabbit on horseback. Over these pages we get to see how resourceful she is and her skill and toughness. Her softer side is shown later in the volume when she takes care of her husband Karluk, worrying more about him than her own healthy.
Karluk is well done here as well, portrayed nicely as a man between his youth and soon to be blossoming adulthood. He is unsure in places, but is also strong when he needs to be. It is to Mori's credit that the relationship between the two is handled in a mature way, as we feel the care between them as well as the issues they must face.
Yen Press did a bang up job with this volume, as the hardcover is one of the more beautiful for a manga release I've seen. The paper quality is top notch and the art work is reproduced sharply. Add in a fabulous translation by William Flannagan and you have one of the better English titles on the marketplace. Yen should be congratulated for releasing and doing such a high quality job on this title.
A Bride's Story is the type of manga I'd love to see more of in English. A mature, slow paced story told beautifully through some breathtaking full page spreads. There isn't much else like this out there in English and it deserves to be read by everyone. My highest recommendation to pick up and read.