Mangaka: Jyun Hayase, Yue Matsuyuki
Publisher: Yen Press
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Humor
Tropes/Tags: Marriage of Convenience, magic, grumpy-sunshine
I’ve had this series sitting on my shelf for a while. I read this volume a while ago but never got the chance to sit down and write an actual review. The first volume was published back in June of 2022, and since then three more volumes have come out. I intend to read the next three, but I figured I should actually take the time to write this review first.
I feel like a general trend in the manga industry right now is more Victorian-type romances or fantasies. Maybe the popularity of some of our recent fascination with this era has made it across the globe to Japan? I know the Bridgerton series has had a strong influence on recent romances and other media productions, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same here. The Fiancée Chosen by the Ring has a Victorian-era feel to the world with an overlay of magic and fantasy. The characters are pretty entertaining, but as of the first volume, I’m not sure if the story will get more depth added or stay a kind of lighthearted romance. I’m leaning a little more to the latter.
The story follows Aurora, a young noblewoman who is obsessed with embroidery, who finds herself alone at a party. Suddenly, out of nowhere, she is hit on the head by a ring thrown from across the room. Trying to figure out what is happening, a young man appears and declares that his ring has chosen her as his fiancee. This man happens to be one of the strongest and most popular magic Knights in the kingdom, and Aurora now has to decide whether or not to go along with his unexpected proposal.
I really think this manga has great potential to be an entertaining read. Jyun Hayase is a great artist and has captured the characters, their expressions, and the action of the manga really well. I think without the attention put into these aspects, the humor may not have made it through to the readers. You definitely get a feel for the characters and how exasperating they can be through their expressions and actions. It is especially needed with the character of Felix. The first scene where we see him prostrating himself in apology, begging her not to call off the engagement is hilarious. You really get a feel for his desperation.
I also like the focus on embroidery in this series. Aurora is a noblewoman obsessed with her hobby, always looking for the newest and best fashions when it comes to her craft. But you can also tell she puts a lot of care into it as well. While I don’t think this focus on fabric and embroidered design will be anywhere near the level of who I consider the queen of capturing this art form, Kaoru Mori (A Bride’s Story), I think it could add another level of artistic detail that will bring depth to the manga overall. It is already being integrated into the story and magical mysteries of the world overall. It’s going to be interesting to see how far the author takes it.
The romance and relationship between Aurora and Felix starts off almost like a parody of these kinds of arranged-marriage/ marriage of convenience stories. She literally gets hit on the head by her own engagement ring and has no knowledge who this knight is and what his reputation is among the nobility. Felix is then almost immediately down on his knees begging Aurora to forgive him and not call off the engagement, to act as a shield of sorts between him and hungry admirers. We have the older sister of Felix who is literally trying to push him into any sort of relationship with someone, the galivanting crown prince who stops in to see her in disguise, and a knightly rival who is only too happy to cause trouble for Felix. I would say this makes for a really interesting story full of possible hijinks.
I’m thinking the story won’t get too deep or dark, and mostly stay light-hearted in nature. We may see it dive more into the mechanics of the magic system in the coming volumes. We may also see more relationship mishaps or rivalries pop up between Aurora and other noblewomen. I have to say, I love the loyal puppy-esque feeling I get from Felix when he walks into the Knights HQ with Aurora in tow, keeping a grumpy eye out to deter any knights from approaching her. I think they will eventually have a really cute romance.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this series and what you think. I know it also has a light novel, but I think I’ll stick with the manga. I’d love to hear your opinions and predictions!
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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