There will be spoilers for the manhwa series The 101st Heroine.
A young woman is reincarnated as the only daughter of a humble family in the countryside of a fantasy novel. Under her new identity of Evie Collins, Evie is determined to live a normal, productive life with her soon-to-be-husband. Unfortunately. Evie's world is rocked when her fiance returns home from the capital with a new woman on his arm.
In a fit of rage, Evie signs up to join the kingdom's latest competition: to marry the crown prince. She doesn't sign up thinking she will actually get chosen. 100 noblewomen are selected, with the final 101st contestant randomly selected from all the commoner submissions. Surprise, surprise, though, Evie is selected as the 101st contestant. Now, country Evie will have to face off against 100 noblewomen, all while her efforts are being aired to the entire kingdom.
The art is pretty good for the most part. It has its moments where it isn't the best, but it's not offensive in the least. There are some lovely scenes in this manhwa. The love interests are some of the best-looking men I've seen in manhwa, and that is always a plus.
Speaking of the men, the love interests are some of my favorites. There are two main love interests: a man named Violet, who is later revealed as the crown prince. He is super attractive, talented in magic, and super romantic. Their relationship is so sweet from the start. I love how protective he is and how forward he is with his love. Unfortunately, I find that with a lot of manhwa, a lot of time is spent dancing around the fact that they like each other. Violet, however, has no problem letting her know how he feels, which is really refreshing.
The second love interest is her knight, Renok. He is noble and is the heir to his family name. His love, unfortunately, is unrequited, but even knowing that he still goes out of his way to protect and care for Evie. He is also super attractive and talented, which makes the fight for Evie's love feel fairly balanced. I often felt that Renok might actually win her over since he spends so much more time with her, but he couldn't win out over Violet.
The best part about the love, though, is how it comes to fruition. Evie goes through the entirety of the competition, not realizing that Violet is actually the crown prince, and for the final match, she must greet the crown prince. The catch is that the person who has been portraying the crown prince has been a fake doll powered by Violet. No one was expected to know the true identity of the crown prince, so when they went to greet the doll, they would lose. Not realizing the truth, Evie goes to greet Violet instead of the prince and professes her love for him. In doing so, she inadvertently wins the final competition by welcoming the actual crown prince.
However, all the romance aside, the concept of this story is super interesting. Typically, in these reincarnations into a novel/story/fantasy world (isekai) stories, we have one person who is not from the world, and we follow their point of view. However, in this story, multiple people have ended up here, but they all have different goals based on their reincarnated character. The novel they have reincarnated into is actually a series of 101 books, all with a different heroine, thus the titles of this series. That, to me, is a super cool and super fun idea.
However, the story itself is painfully lacking. The concept of there being 101 different heroines feels pretty glossed over to me. There didn't seem to be much substance to it, so part of me feels like it was a waste. I wish they had come out with sequels and side stories for each of the 101 heroines, as I think that would have been really fun to explore and would give some meat to the concept, but unfortunately, that is not the case.
Not to mention, a lot of the character growth and the competition also feel like a secondary thing. Evie getting PTSD from being interviewed felt super contrived and not at all believable. Evie's ability to fight against the competition itself as a Katniss-like figure also didn't feel all that believable, which is probably partly because her character development was so contrived. The romance was definitely much more well-developed than the characters or the story itself.
Overall, this is a very superficial story. If all you want are some super cute moments with some super attractive male leads, then you will probably have no complaints about this series, but if you are looking for romance with some substance, you are better off trying something else. I still enjoyed this story for what it was, but I wouldn't go out of my way to read anything else from it.
Have you read The 101st Heroine? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!