A cruel king rules over Goguryeo, an ancient kingdom in Korea. It is the year 18 A.D. In the past, King Yuri caused the death of his eldest son, and no one would put it past him to kill more of his children. Lately, Yuri’s son Yeojin has been missing and must be found before it’s too late. Unless it’s already too late…
That brings us to another one of Yuri’s sons. Muhyul is a handsome and well-meaning young man who goes in search of his missing younger sibling. He asks the Lady of the Serpents if she’s seen Yeojin, and the Lady rises up out of the waters to answer him. She’s a beautiful, divine woman. He continues his search, and she’s far from the first otherworldly being he’ll come in contact with.
Kingdom of the Winds has an interesting blend going on. It has many moments of Asian high fantasy. There’s talk about demons. However, it is also a historical book grounded in reality. King Yuri was real. Muhyul was real. Where do fact and fantasy meet?
That means that both fans of historical fiction and fantasy might be very interested in Kingdom of the Winds. (The only issue might be fans of historical fiction who want everything to be as accurate as possible, and not sometimes based on a writer’s fancy.) Pages are sometimes footnoted to explain the historical people in the story, and several pages at the end of the book discuss the history more thoroughly. This manhwa might be an excellent tool in history classes. No, it doesn’t tell outright history, but it brings the historical parts more alive and could get students interested in learning the real details.
The artwork is sometimes fairly complex and it’s often lovely. This manhwa was originally published in Korea in 1992, though it was only recently brought to America by NetComics. It does have that 1980s-to-early-1990s feel in manhwa. Despite the fact it takes place 2,000 years ago, there’s something about the way people are shown that can be reminiscent of 1980s fashion. Be that as it may, it doesn’t mean that the fashion is shown inaccurately. The clothing people wear is quite detailed.
Other than fans of manhwa, history and fantasy, fans of Kimjin ought to also flock to this title. She’s also the writer and artist behind NetComic’s Lethe series and THE STARRY NIGHT. While Kingdom of the Winds gives an interesting take on historical people, it doesn’t have to be read in an educational way. That’s a bonus. It can just be read for the sake of a good story.
Reviewed by Danica Davidson on October 18, 2011
Kingdom of the Winds, Volume 1