Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori (Emma, Shirley) brings the nineteenth-century Silk Road to lavish life, chronicling the story of Amir Halgal, a young woman from a nomadic tribe betrothed to a twelve-year-old boy eight years her junior. Coping with cultural differences, blossoming feelings for her new husband, and expectations from both her adoptive and birth families, Amir strives to find her role as she settles into a new life and a new home in a society quick to define that role for her. -Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads
The art, people, the art. I wanted to make that word longer for emphasis, but it would be too piratical. But seriously. THE ART.
Oh, and story and character and plot. Those are actually really good, too. The setting is so unique- Central Asia in the early 19th century. The costumes and other tribal things are amazing, and I love Amir's character. Despite being placed in an arranged marriage with a boy 8 years her junior (more on this later), she is upbeat, pleasant, and can shoot rabbits from the back of a horse. Damn.
The family dynamics are fascinating, too, and the pacing is perfect, allowing the reader to become familiar with the unique characters and setting while enjoying nomadic slice of life episodes and tensions when an outside force threatens. Everything in the text and pictures blend perfectly to form a truly interesting whole. I'm not surprised, Mori was the mangaka responsible for Emma, another excellent historical manga/anime series.
Buuuuuuuut, the relationship between Amir (20) and her child-husband (12), though historically accurate, sweet and mostly chaste, is, well, slightly icky to the modern sensibilities. It's not a huge deal and it's not the focus of the story, but it's still jarring.
Despite that, I'm hoping that a library in my consortium adds the subsequent volumes soon.