Yona of the Dawn is a fantasy series about an immature and pampered princess who will have to toughen up and regain her kingdom after a terrible betrayal. The story and setting are very reminiscent of Yuu Watase’s Fushigi Yuugi (minus the harem) and certainly there is room for the characters to grow over the 20 volume series.
Story: Yona, daughter of the gentle King Il, has grown up with two best friends: General Hak and Su Won. Now 16, her feelings for Su Won has meant everything to her; he helped her when she lost her mother and his kindness shelters her. On her birthday, a terrible betrayal permanently breaks up the close friends and forever alters Yona’s destiny. Now, she must quest to find the resources that will help restore her kingdom.
The art is fine and serves the story. This early in the series, Yona is childish, selfish, and pretty hard to like. But that gives Kusanagi room to grow her over the the long series and give her strength and conviction. So although this first volume is frustrating for Yona’s one-dimensional note (she’s more interested in her hair than in possible assassinations), there’s hope that hardship will harden her.
This first book is mostly backstory of Yona and her two boys – memories of how they became so close to give perspective to how cruel the betrayal was that split them. It’s a starting point for the many chapters to come as Yona quests to find the four dragons that will unite the kingdom again. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.