Bride of the Water God, Vol. 1-4
written by Mi-Kyung Yun
Soah is a young Korean woman chosen to be the bride of the water god. While that might sound romantic at first glance, it’s actually supposed to be a gruesome fate. Her people are suffering a drought and believe the only way to get rain is to sacrifice a girl. Soah is bedecked to be a beautiful bride and sent out in a boat to die. A storm throws her into the water, but instead of drowning, she washes ashore at the land of Suguk, where the gods live.
This includes the water god Habaek, who it seems would like to literally marry Soah after all. She can’t help hoping he’s attractive. After hoping this, she’s visibly disappointed to discover the fearsome water god has the body of a little boy and a rude mouth to go with it. So much for romance.
But then there’s a twist. At night, Soah discovers a dark and handsome young man she falls for. Despite his sometimes unstable personality, she’s beguiled by him. The readers soon learn that this man is the water god, and that he changes form. During the day, he’s a boy. At night, he’s a man. Soah begins to suspect this is the case, but is unable to prove it. She also learns that the water god had brides before her…but what happened to them? Did he love them? Where have they gone? And if he did love them, could he love her?
Other gods become part of Soah’s life. She’s most intimidated by Seowangmo, Habaek’s mother. Mothers-in-law in general can be scary, but Seowangmo is the goddess of punishment, torture, and disease. Soah has to stay on her toes when this goddess is around. And while there are many powerful and interesting beings living in Suguk, it’s not always clear whom she can trust.
Bride of the Water God has a fascinating and alluring setup steeped in religion and mythology. Its great artwork casts its own spell, showing beautiful people, clothes, and scenery. It’s unclear how exactly this series will end, which is always a plus. There’s definitely a darkly romantic element to it, and Habaek’s night form is very attractive, but it’s yet to be seen if his character can improve itself. There are times when he can be outright cruel. Sometimes Soah’s own temper rears up to keep people from walking over her. The two of them are drawn to each other, though she’s still unaware in the fourth volume that the night man she has eyes for is also the water god.
This can be an ideal read for people who enjoy stories with mythological and mystical bents, and anyone who’s a fan of lovely artwork. The Bride of the Water God has many interesting aspects to it. It’s been a top-seller in Korea, and doubtless will have many fans in the United States as well.