Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori's tale of life on the nineteenth-century Silk Road continues as the young bride, Amir Halgal, struggles to remain with her new groom despite the wishes of her family, who would see her wed another. Will Amir be able to preserve the bonds she has cultivated in her
Before we begin the review for A Bride's Story Volume 2, if you would like a better grasp of the book's characters and it's setting, please read my review of volume one. For returning readers, thrills and adventure abound!
Amir's journey continues with Karluk and it's time for the problems with her family to come to a head. While outside the village, Amir and Karluk come face to face with her brother, cousins and uncle. Of course, her family think Amir will just come home. Fair play to Karluk, because he stands up to them despite being completely outnumbered. This is a different Karluk than the previous volume. He, once he realises what their intentions are, just stands in front of Amir, protecting her. Too bad he gets overwhelmed, though it turns out alright in the end.
Amir is the focus totally in this volume. I know that the series is supposed to be about Amir but Mori focuses on Amir and her feelings in this volume. I feel sorry for her when she realises her sister is dead. After she hears that from her brother, she just stops dead in her tracks. After it's all over, Grandmother Eihon simply comforts her and in one line puts a protective cloak around Amir. For Amir, I try not to think how it felt to hear such news. I have all brothers so I'd be destroyed if anything ever happened to them. Plus if thinking about her sister wasn't enough, her brother and cousins return to the village to take her back. The entire village goes to repulse their scheme but I focused on was Amir. Poor girl goes through a gamut of emotions. One one hand, its her family and she doesn't want to upset them because she loves them. But if they loved her in return they wouldn't be doing this to her. So as the town rallies against the Halgals, she sits in her home with Karluk, fidgeting. Should I go help the villagers? Should I help my family AGAINST the villagers? I can tell she's thinking those things thanks to Mori's direction in those scenes.
Pariya is a girl that I'm curious about. Younger than Amir, a bit brasher, yes, but still I see traces of Amir's character DNA in Pariya. She sits, in many ways, in a tighter noose than Amir. Amir is older than a new bride should be but she lives her life as she sees it and is happy being with Karluk. Pariya isn't able to find a husband because people perceive her as being cheeky and not marriage material. I know in our day and age that sounds strange but in her world, that is a virtual social death sentence. So I hope that Amir takes Pariya under her wing and helps her to blossom. I don't mean I hope Amir helps Pariya become acceptable to her culture, I mean I hope that Amir shows Pariya the parts of her character that she hasn't had a chance to discover for herself.
I've noticed that Amir's character could be perceived as a very subservient person. The way she tends to Karluk's every need and the way she and the other women do, and I hate this term, "women's work". But this behaviour is part of their culture so I can't say that this is anomalous behaviour. The men in this story who are part of Amir's new clan treat their counterparts with dignity and respect. They do speak of other clans as being totally disrespectful of the women in the clan. Indeed, Amir's sister was sent to such a clan. I guess what I'm trying to say is that in every society there are complete wastes of space and then there are good examples of the male gender. So, Amir is lucky to be in such a loving group. She shouldn't have to feel "lucky" but that's the world she's in. Her family loves her for being her and that's all that matters in the final analysis.
Kaoru Mori's art continues to draw me in and I like where she takes me in terms of narrative structure and art design. Read the part where the women of the clan explain their family patterns in the embroidery they sew. As you see the fine work on Mori's art, you also get a sociology lesson. We in Ireland have ways of passing memory from generation to generation so I feel a resonance with Amir's people in their ways of doing so.
A Bride's Story continues to plumb new depths for development and emotion. Try it yourself, you might be surprised.