Yona lives her life as a spoiled princess of Kohka, hoping to one day marry her sweet and handsome cousin Su-won and being constantly annoyed by her bodyguard Hak. On Yona’s sixteenth birthday her life changes dramatically, she witnesses the murder of her father at the hands of her beloved Su-won. Hak and Yona flee the palace, and set off on a journey to find Yona’s destiny and the companions she needs to achieve it.
Series: Yona of the Dawn
Author: Mizuho Kusanagi
First published: 2010
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Date read: May 8, 2020 (reread)
Volume 7 picks up right where volume 8 left off, as our gang tries to follow through with their plans to take down Kum-Ji.
I know I said this of the previous volume, but I really do love watching Yun rise to the occasion and act so selflessly. As for the other characters, Jaeha is such a great addition to the group and I love his hilarious personality, and Kija is so pure and sweet, I just love all the characters. We also, finally, got a look into what Su-Won is up to. Of all the characters in the series, I find him the most intriguing and I hope that his motivations are more explored later on in the series.
This was the most action packed volume so far, and while I do prefer the quieter moments of the series, I did really enjoy the action and believed in the stakes, especially in regards to Yona and Yun’s situation. This volume also had a lot of touching scenes, the found family that is developing here is my favourite and is so sweet, and I was sad to see the gang say goodbye to their friends in Awa. I do have a complaint about this story arc though, I wish Kum-Ji was a more developed villain. We know everyone in Awa is afraid of him, but we don’t really know why, I would have liked a bit more insight into just how he’s controlling the city.
As for that last chapter in the volume, while it moves the story forward in no way whatsoever, it was my favourite and I love it when Kusanagi focuses on the humour and everyday lives of Yona and her crew.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Date read: May 11, 2020 (reread)
After finally convincing Jaeha to join them, the crew must now look for the Yellow Dragon, but maybe he’s not so difficult to find after all? Also, why is Su-won visiting the Earth tribe?
This was actually one of my favourite volumes so far, because while it didn’t do anything massive, it did answer some major questions I was having, like what both Su-won and Yona’s goals are (at least in the short term). We also end off the volume with a more filler/character development type of chapter where the gang is just being their cute selves and those are always my favourite.
We finally get to meet Zeno in this volume, and we still don’t really have Jaeha’s backstory. I imagine we’ll be getting more insight into both characters in later volumes though. I also enjoyed seeing a hint of a deeper side to Zeno, and Jaeha is extremely perceptive when it comes to Hak and what he’s feeling. Hak and Jaeha’s relationship is easily my favourite non-romantic dynamic of the series.
As for Su-won’s chapters, in his chapters we get to properly meet one of the tribe leaders, General Geun-tae of the Earth Tribe. Su-won’s chapters definitely had me questioning exactly what the role is of a chieftain, because while it’s clear that Geun-tae knew about the turmoil in Awa, I’m not exactly under the impression he was trying to do anything about it. I enjoyed that Su-won’s chapters were more or less in Gun-tae’s perspective because it allows the reader to get more of an understanding as to how the citizens of Kohka perceive the king. It wasn’t initially obvious just why Su-won decided to hold a festival in the Earth tribe, but now that I know the outcome I thought all that resulted from it a bit too convenient. I also don’t really understand why Su-won bothers to put on such an act. We know there’s this hidden side to him, but I don’t know why he feels the need to hide it. Also, if Su-won and Hak end up facing off one day and Hak loses to this guy, I’m going to be so unimpressed. I do think Su-won and Yona are two sides of the same coin, they have the same goals, but completely different ways of going about it especially in regards to what they have available to them. It’s interesting in that I don’t think Yona could be making the changes she wants for her country as a royal, and yet Su-won is the opposite and can only make those changes because of the position he is in.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Date read: May 25, 2020 (reread)
Volume 9 picks up where Volume 8 left off with Yona and crew back at Ik-su’s place. Yun is visiting a poor Fire Tribe village and the rest of the group decides to tag along, which results in some pretty unexpected outcomes.
And with this volume The Black Dragon and the Happy Hungry Bunch are born! I love the name the gang has chosen for themselves; the ridiculousness of it lends to some pretty funny jokes and I like that the HHB never take themselves too seriously. I feel like I say this every time, but the different interactions and dynamics between the characters never ceases to amuse or endear me to them, they’re so sweet and funny.
This volume also has some chapters which focus on Shin-ah, and the trauma he’s faced as a child. There’s a lot to unpack with his character, especially when it comes to his power, and I found the darker nature of the Blue Dragon particularly interesting.
We also get further exploration of the Fire Tribe lands, and through the shenanigans of this volume we’re able to see the type of political turmoil that goes on in the Fire Tribe. I’m looking forward to eventually seeing more of every tribe.
If you’ve read Yona of the Dawn or plan to, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading! 💗