REVIEW: ‘The Abandoned Empress,’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Abandoned Empress Volume 2

The Abandoned Empress Volume 2, first published online as a webcomic with the original story by YUNA, has been adapted and Illustrated by INA. It was published in print by  Yen Press, and its additional publishing credits include translator David Odell and lettering by LYS Blakeslee. This manhwa follows a young woman who receives a second chance at life and wakes up with a desire to take destiny into her own hands. This second volume of the story details more of her future allies and how precarious navigating court life can be for young Tia.

In her previous life, Aristia la Monique, affectionately nicknamed Tia, suffered and missed out on so much. In this life, as a child, she soon finds that she is adored by not just her father, the knights, and most if not all of the Monique household. She’s experiencing an actual childhood, and she’s being doted on and protected, which is equally heartwarming and tear-jerking if you think about her past life where it was implied that she was without. This second volume of The Abandoned Empress dips into life outside her home, the royal palace and its inhabitants that always seem to beckon their servants to bend the knee. So seeing just how precarious it is to enter the palace and be in the intimidating and dangerous presence of both the King and his son, the crown prince, is telling. It is a cause for worry for readers who are starting to feel emotionally invested in our young heroine.

Tia has a brilliant idea to cut ties with the Imperial family in an attempt to stay closer to home. She sets a plan into motion to one day name the official heir of the family Monique, which means knighthood, and she would ideally have to be worthy of leading the Second Order, which is her father’s job. Female knights aren’t unheard of, yet it is possibly a task too much for Tia as she was a child born with a delicate constitution. Seeing her train and train and train is a testament to how committed she is to playing the long game: grasping at a chance to change her fate and strike out at her happy ending. Which does not include her past life’s lover and tormentor, Crown Prince Ruvellis, his cunning father, The King, and the trappings of the palace.

The biggest sell for many, including myself with The Abandoned Empress Volume 2, is the consistently superb artwork that never fails to capture my attention and make my eyes linger on each page. I continue to love, love, love to gaze upon the detail of the clothing: from every outfit Tia wears, accessories, and all to the few panels of the flashbacks that hint at the history between Ruvellis and Tia in their earlier years that will leave readers with questions on their relationship before. Some of my favorite pages include the dramatic outdoor scene of Alllendis’ farewell to Tia, complete with dramatic lighting and coloring with all the vibes of pure shojo sparkles shot directly to my heart.

A neat surprise to discover is that the physical copy of this second volume looks to continue with the look and format of the first volume: a book cover that includes glittery details and the extra double-page spread colored illustration at the beginning of the book. As noted in my review of the first volume, this was a pleasant surprise to see as a reader. Seeing the second volume similarly feels like a bonus.

The stakes remain incredibly high, and The Abandoned Empress Volume 2, which is fast-paced like the first, continues to build upon Tia’s new life and her attempts to rewrite her own story. The latter half of the first volume introduced Allendis, the second son of a duke and already considered a young genius. Getting to meet other nobles is eye-opening, especially since not everyone is an ally — adding to the ever-complex web of individuals and families that Tia has to be mindful of and take note of.

Tia, Allendis, and Carsen are young offspring in noble families already marked for greatness. It was so great seeing them, while not all together yet, interacting and getting a glimpse of what the world looks like from their point of view. Readers will be happy to see more backstory of their respective families and how they contribute to the empire, such as leaving for military campaigns to aid the country and separating them from their families.

With a narrative as intricate as it is loved, this second volume of The Abandoned Empress doesn’t slow down in laying down the foundation of this incredibly layered story about a young woman’s quest to prove fate wrong. Prophecies have nothing on this adorable little girl who is fighting tooth and nail to keep from becoming a political pawn used by others. If you missed picking up the first volume, you’re in good company to catch up and immerse yourself in this amazing story.

The Abandoned Empress Volume 2 is available now from Yen Press.


The Abandoned Empress Volume 2
5

TL;DR

With a narrative as intricate as it is loved, this second volume of The Abandoned Empress doesn’t slow down in laying down the foundation of this incredibly layered story about a young woman’s quest to prove fate wrong. Prophecies have nothing on this adorable little girl who is fighting tooth and nail to keep from becoming a political pawn used by others. If you missed picking up the first volume, you’re in good company to catch up and immerse yourself in this amazing story.