Can I just gush a bit over how gorgeous this cover is? Not only is the illustration lovely, but the rose detailing on the corners is printed in this sparkly, metallic ink that gives the cover this iridescent look that’s simply beautiful! I appreciate it when publishers put a little extra effort into a book’s presentation like this, it really makes it feel like a prestige release.
Alright, gushing over. Now on to the review!
Due to a certain prophecy, Aristia la Monique was engaged to crown prince Ruveliss as a child and was raised to be the future empress, undergoing a strict education starting at a young age. Then, a girl from another world suddenly appeared and everyone realized that they’d got the prophecy all wrong. This new girl by the name of Jieun is revealed to be the actual destined partner of Ruveliss, so when he becomes Emperor, Jieun becomes his wife and Aristia is relegated to being a royal consort.
Stuck doing all of the behind the scenes work for the Empress while Jieun basks in the love and affection that Ruveliss never showed to her, Aristia endures a series of humiliations, abuses and tragedies – until she finally snaps! Her mental state having deteriorated from grief, Aristia attacks the emperor in a fit of rage and despair. Ruveliss (unfortunately) survives and sentences her to death for treason. Having lost everything, Aristia can only curse the fact that she had ever loved Ruveliss in her final moments.
Then, Aristia wakes up in the body of her ten-year-old self back in the time before she moved into the royal palace and was still living on her family’s estate. Having unexpectedly been given a second chance at living her life, Aristia is determined to alter her fate and avoid getting embroiled with Ruveliss. Using her knowledge from how events played out in her original life, Aristia attempts to carve out a better future for herself and the people she cares about.
Ina’s The Abandoned Empress is an adaptation of a novel by Yuna and the story is a take on the “Villainess Gets a Reset” trope, though I don’t know if you could really describe Aristia as having been a villainess in her original timeline. True, she did stab Ruveliss, but that was only after he’d done something particularly cruel to her. I honestly don’t blame her for it.
Poor Aristia had a terrible life in the original timeline. She had to endure multiple heartbreaking events and Ruveliss was always nasty to her, despite the fact that she was in love with him and had spent her entire life trying to mold herself into the perfect partner for him. This is all made even sadder when we later learn the reason Aristia had such strong feelings for Ruveliss, despite his poor treatment of her.
But now Aristia has the chance to turn things around. Her mind has traveled back in time and she has the advantage of her knowledge of events in the future, plus all of that training she did in preparation of becoming Empress. While she was always intelligent, Aristia is now seen as being brilliant thanks to her insights, and she uses this perception to try and alter events and forge a new future. One, hopefully, without Ruveliss in it.
I found Aristia to be a very sympathetic character and I’m rooting for her to find happiness. I especially liked seeing how she was able to use this do-over to build a closer relationship with her father, who had always been awkward with her before. Their dynamic was really cute and I loved the joke about how her father secretly wanted her to address him as Papa, instead of the more formal greeting Aristia usually used.
One of the most appealing aspects of the The Abandoned Empress, however, has got to be the art. Since it was originally a WebToon, this is a full colour manhwa and it looks fantastic! I loved all of the details that went into the character’s clothes, especially the adorable dresses that Aristia wears as a child. Everything looks great and this manhwa was a real treat for the eyes.
If you’re a fan of stories where the villainess gets a do-over, like I Swear I Won’t Bother You Again or Tearmoon Empire, then The Abandoned Empress is a title that you are sure to love. The main character is determined and smart and the story is exciting, with plenty of drama, intrigue and even some romance. I really enjoyed this first volume and I can’t wait for more.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
For more information on this manhwa, visit Yen Press’ website.
What did you think of The Abandoned Empress? Has anyone been reading it online? Let me know in the comments!
Interested in reading more comics staring a villainess getting a do-over? Check out these reviews!
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