There will be spoilers for the manhwa series A Kind Goblin's Bird.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to prostitution, rape, torture, violence, child abuse, animal abuse, suicidal ideation, suicide, murder, and character death as it appears in the manhwa.
There is a tale about a woman who can help grant wishes in people's sleep. All she has to do is sing as the person falls asleep, and in their dreams, they will see their wishes granted. She is an oracle and one that Sah Heonyoung seeks out to test her powers. When he sees her, they are inexplicably drawn to each other; Sah Heonyoung, in particular, is drawn to the oracle. However, his identity as the twin of the crown prince, a goblin, makes it impossible to want anything without fear of losing it.
The oracle in question has never had a name. She is forced to live out in the woods of the mountain, surviving on weeds and grass in between the few times she is called to perform her wish-granting ceremony. Over time, her body has accumulated many scars, her legs have weakened to the point that she can't stand for long, and her eyesight is poor at night. Her life is an endless struggle until she meets the goblin in the red mask. He whisks her away, gives her a name, and asks her to be his bride. In an instant, her life has changed, but the imperial family, his family, threatens to steal away her happiness forever.
This is concise at just over 30 chapters, but don't let that fool you. It will make you feel all the things in that short amount of time. You're going to feel immense joy, unending horror, and disgust, but more than anything, you're going to drown in a well of sadness. This thing is really, really sad. I've read this twice, and I've teared up every time. I'm not going to say that you're going to sob or anything, but this will cause you some pain.
Now, before we get deep into the story and why it's good and sad, let's talk about the artwork. It's beautiful. It does suffer from eye distance issues from time to time, with their eyes sometimes being miles apart, but it's perfection 99% of the time. I love the designs of everyone, particularly the male lead, Sah Heonyoung. He's often described as beautiful and like a woman by Song Youngyoung, and it's true. He really is beautiful, even more so than Youngyoung, I think. He's a sight for sore eyes, for sure.
I wouldn't say the story is that well-paced. It's very slow and subtle to start, intermixed with sexy time and romance that will tickle your heart. Then, suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, we are sped through a multitude of tragedies and violence. First, Youngyoung is beaten to death, which sends Heonyoung off on a vengeful rampage that is fairly satisfying but ends soon after. Everything is wrapped up within six episodes or so, which feels rather abrupt. I wish we could've seen a bit more into the exact revenge Heonyoung wreaks upon his family, and I would have liked to have seen more about what happened after he brings Youngyoung back home. It makes it seem like she is more of a captive than a wife, but that isn't clarified.
I will say Youngyoung is, of course, the ultimate victim, but I don't see Heonyoung as an innocent victim. Youngyoung's entire existence is being used. She is kept uneducated and ignorant of the world so her father can use her as an oracle. Then, under the care of Heonyoung, he leverages her ignorance to keep her at his side. Their romance is predicated on unbalanced power dynamics between a man of royalty and a woman who has never left the mountainside her entire life. She is also plagued with various health problems and disabilities, forcing her to rely on whoever will have her. This casts a shadow over the rosy romance and ultimately makes this a tragedy more than anything else.
It sounds like I thought poorly on this work, but I really enjoyed it. The pacing could use some work, and the romance is questionable morally, but I enjoyed the story. It's pretty to look at and does make my heart flutter. I also love a good cry, so I like that it can facilitate that, too. However, if you are looking for a well-paced, deep story, then, unfortunately, you won't find it here. It was worth a read, but don't expect anything out of this world.
Have you read A Kind Goblin's Bird? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!