I’ve been tearing through the isekai genre lately if you all haven’t noticed, and Lucia kept popping up on my radar while I kept avoiding it. I’m notorious for failing to read the official summaries before reading the available text itself, and that means I sometimes judge a series by their cover (though, more often, I do so by their title). I know the old saying that warns us not too, but–come on, we all do because if we didn’t, publishing houses wouldn’t have weekly cover design meetings and we wouldn’t get the beautiful art we see above. When I saw the art above, though, I was left feeling odd about the title character.
She’s clearly drawn to be pretty (the large eyes are a huge give-away) and somewhat innocent looking given the pale color pallet of her wardrobe (and, again, the large eyes). However, the image is still odd to me, off even. Her hair is red, which generally signifies a fire-personality, and the flowers that surround her are made overwhelming by their vibrant color and sharp looking dark green leaves. Her hands are pulled in close to her chest, making it feel like she’s hiding something. Her large eyes are almost closed, but she has a wide smile, yet I don’t get the feeling that it’s an honest smile, perhaps because that eyes-half-closed look feels more calculating, given my experience with seeing that look on other comic characters. Plus, her hair is widely spread out and caught on the flower bed behind her, but given the way the dress is falling, that’s not because she’s laying on those flowers. She’s standing in front of those flowers. What does it all tell me? This character isn’t trustworthy–in fact, she might be the villain of our tale.
I read the synopsis, and here is a copy of what TappyToons provides: Lucia, the sixteenth princess of the kingdom, has seen her future through a strange dream. But it was a vivid nightmare of a terrible marriage that continues to haunt her. To change her dreadful fate, she suggests a contract marriage to Duke Hugo Taran, a well-known womanizer. Can this setup break Lucia from her fate? Or will her choice lead down a path even she couldn’t foresee?! Based on the hit novel.
I wasn’t convinced that any of my initial judgments were wrong and the premise seemed very similar to the set up I was seeing for the isekai subgenre of “villainess now reborn tries to change fate,” but when I gave the series a chance I was pleasantly surprised to find something different. I was right about the reborn/reliving part, and right about her hiding things, but she’s not the villainess protagonist of the tale.
I won’t say that the story is great yet because at 30 chapters we’re just barely getting started on a plot that goes beyond our initial set up of avoiding the bad marriage she saw in her “dream.” However, I will say that the set up takes an interesting approach as we see her through the eyes of her new husband, Duke Hugo, who is still trying to work her out and we see him through her eyes as one navigating between rumors about him and what she sees herself. The romance isn’t really there yet, but its starting. Even without the plot, though, if you just read it too look at the art, you’d probably be satisfied. The artist(s) has a clear handle on color and uses it effectively to add to the story. I mean, look at this image from chapter one:
The words, “another day has dawned” is emphasized by how we see the light hitting out title character’s face coming from a window shown to us in the previous panel. Her body is still covered in the shade of her bedroom, and since she’s sitting up and we have a top-down view of her on her bed, it’s easy to imagine even without seeing the window that morning light is coming through.
It’s gorgeous, and this art carries through. For example, in Chapter 28, the Duke’s close aid, Jerome, is sent to speak/serve Lucia temporarily. During this time and slightly before, Jerome has come to see Lucia as a light among the darkness of the Duke’s household. She knows that the Duke has a child he’s named heir, and she’s okay with that. She knows the Duke isn’t planning to love her and may even continue seeing a mistress and is still happy to be there. In fact, she’s delighted to fulfill her Duchess duties of maintaining the house while at it and is delighted at simple things, unlike the Duke’s arrogant and crude mistresses. In other words, Lucia is lovely by comparison of the other’s he’s dealt with who knew significantly less about how the Duke would treat them. As such, while readers read Chapter 28 and you technically see how both Jerome and Lucia are thinking, because of the way the artists frames each scene–primarily over Jerome’s shoulder or from behind him–you almost get to see Lucia the way the servants do–that she’s a light among the dark home. In fact, the more we pan out from her in the scenes, the darker the edges tend to become.
Which brings me back to the cover.
Having read the first 30 chapters presently available on TappyToons, I have high expectations for the story that is to follow. It will probably take time, a long time, but I’m willing to stick it out because there is no way in my mind that the cover art doesn’t hold some significance in the overall story. Not when the art in the text emphasizes as much as it does while reading.
As the story continues, I’ll probably write a more thorough review. As of right now, the plot doesn’t mean much to me because all that’s happened so far appears to be set up–set that concludes the initial premise of avoiding a bad marriage.
Plot: 2.7/5 | Art: 5/5