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Manhwa Musings

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The Monster Duchess and The Contract Princess

Review by: Rachel Blue

Genre: Drama/Fantasy

Status: Complete 


     Heart wrenching, funny and magical, this story follows Leslie, a young girl who was fated to die in place of her sister in a cruel family tradition. She escapes her parent’s home to offer herself on contract to the ominous Monster Duchess, but to her surprise, the Duchess wants to adopt her! And another surprise! The Duchess is not a monster! She’s a badass sword master with a bad reputation. Although she offered many great contributions to the many wars she participated in, a facial scar she covered with a mask and a steely attitude earned her the rude nickname.



      The magic element mixes in so well with the historical factor because there’s wizards and magical sword powers but also horses! Carriages! And very pretty ball gowns! All things I love and wish would come back to mainstream society. It is interesting how advanced the magic and the world can seem, with magic that can help them travel and an almost modern court system, but then they take carriages and wear stunning ball gowns. It is a contrast that seems so abrupt but gives the world a distinctive feel.

The art in this particular manhwa is so beautiful, I personally have reread this several times, everyone's hair is unique and the artist always surprises me with their captivating dress designs. The dialogue throughout really showcases how awful Leslie was treated and how much she just doesn’t know about how a family is supposed to love and support you. Leslie is a very lovable character who sadly wasn’t given any affection from her family, it really tugs at your heart when you see how the Duchess’ family welcomes her without a second thought. She gains two older brothers from this adoption and the sibling banter is quite cute. Her two brothers are very protective and take to her very quickly, which is always a plus in manhwas like this, since a lot of the time the step-siblings are the worst. The Duchess’s husband is quite endearing too, we learn he had always wanted a daughter to spoil and he tends to splurge on her, despite her apprehension. 

     The drama element stems from her old family! Of course they still need her to die in place of her sister, so they take the Duchess to court to fight for Leslie back. However it is all resolved and her family is dealt with, justice is served! Through the court case she also finds that the tradition from her previous family dates back many generations, as the second child is always born with silver hair like her own and then sacrificed to amplify the first born’s powers. It is tear jerking watching Leslie discover this, and realize that she was only born to die for her sister. 

     The ending is quite bittersweet in my opinion though, it's a cute little romance and a farewell to Leslie. I enjoyed how she grew as a character and in accepting the love she deserved so it was hard to let her go.

With all that being said, I love this manhwa. It was one of the first to get me into manhwa as a whole, and I have followed it since it only had a few chapters published so I am a bit torn that it has come to an end. If you enjoy historical fantasy and found family, this might be your next cup of tea.

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