I rarely read manga, comic books or graphic novels. They don’t work well on my kindle (since that’s a paperwhite, and the resolution is just not the best, even if the illustrations are not in color), I prefer not to read on my pc or even my phone. That leaves paper versions, and those I just…. forget about?
But I saw Blissful Land on Netgalley and it was just so pretty, and the blurb so interesting, that I could not help myself to click “request”. Here’s the blurb:
Khang Zhipa is a 13-year-old doctor’s apprentice living in a mountain village in 18th-century Tibet. One day, when he gets back from collecting medicinal herbs, he finds a bride-to-be and her wedding party will be resting at his home for the night. The bride’s name is Moshi Rati and it turns out she’s actually Khang Zhipa’s fiancee from another land, here to stay! Enjoy this heartwarming slice-of-life tale woven by a kind-hearted boy and his mysterious bride.
I was slightly disappointed that the rest of the manga was in black and white. As I mentioned, I rarely venture into this area of books, so this might be a common thing. Even in black and white, the pictures are stunning. Lots of nature and detail. It made for a very peaceful read.
The stories in itself were homely and peaceful too. It is indeed slice-of-life, where you see how the doctor’s apprentice goes about his day, gathers herbs (his passion) ans makes medicine to help his fellow-villagers. The research done on this shows in the details, with explanation of the herbs used and how the medicine is prepared.
What I disliked, was that the pacing seemed off. The stories move at a slow pace, but then you get a unexpected SUDDEN resolution of a problem. Sometimes I also seemed to lack some cultural background to really grasp things. Like why are Khang and his fiancee allowed to go off by themselves for an overnight camping trip? My western view of the 1800’s and their purity culture raises an eyebrow there. You can’t blame the author for this, but maybe the translator could have added some explanations points like these. The genderessentialism also irked me (“women are fragile and complicated! Men don’t understand them!”), which is just a personal pet peeve.
I think I’d like to read the next volume, mostly because of the lovely imagery and my love for depictions of calm daily life.