Book (Manhwa): The Broken Ring : This Marriage Will Fail Anyway by: CHACHA KIM, CHOKAM, Cheong-gwa

Cover Art for The Broken Ring: This Marriage Will FAIL Anyway

The Broken Ring : This Marriage Will Fail Anyway
by: CHACHA KIM, CHOKAM, Cheong-gwa
published by Tappytoon (chapters 1-65 (2 seasons) with Season 3 starting / ongoing)
2022 – present

This story isn’t what it seems.

At first, it appears that our heroine, six year old Inés Valeztena de Perez, turns down a promise of marriage to the (child) emperor in favor of the (child) Cárcel Escalante because she declares him good looking. How light-hearted! How silly! Sure, she grows up to find Cárcel to be a hopeless womanizer and declares herself indifferent to his antics, but we think we know what is going on.

But. It’s all much harsher and darker than that. And so this is a general spoiler warning, without details, but still a warning. Okay?

This isn’t Inés’ first time living this life.

Her prior efforts to live and fulfill her obligations to her family and empire ended horrifically. They were the stuff of nightmares, and each time her life was unbearable – and short. So this time, when she finds herself back in childhood before her doom was sealed, she decides to chart a new course at age 6 — with the burden of memories of the horrors that befell her, which return to her from time to time. She chooses hapless Cárcel as her future husband ESPECIALLY because he has always been a sweet side character who witnessed her tragic endings, and is surely harmless. He doesn’t even need to love her, and she is determined to feel nothing for him.

Her plans may be complicated, unwittingly, by Cárcel himself, and possibly others. Can she survive? Can she do better than survive? Will Cárcel be an obstacle to her desperate plan, or can he help her finally have a life worth living?

Lovely drawing of our tragic heroine, Inés
Lovely drawing of our traumatized heroine, Inés

I found this series to be a real page-turner. The initially simple-seeming story wasn’t so simple, the way reincarnation is used is different from the other stories I’ve enjoyed, the horrors that Inés experienced were beyond the pale, and her desperation to avoid repeating them is a powerful force. Her determination to survive according to her newest plan appears to be interfering with her success, but considering what she has been through, it’s difficult to blame her!

While feudal Europe is a common setting, this story is set in a fictional version of SPAIN, which is refreshing, and which means everyone has great names! (I’m from California, so obviously we love Spanish names!) Also: excuses to use good lace. (I’m a fan!). Cárcel experiences character growth, or… is it something else? Does he… know something?

The suspense and my hopes for Inés (WITH Cárcel!) have me eager for a non-tragic ending this time around. While this has one of the darker backstories I’ve read in my recent obsession with Korean webtoons (which is really saying something), I’m eager to read the next season!

Note: I’ve been reading the “all ages” version, but there is a sexier mature version available (for sale in Mature mode only, and subject to typical webtoon censorship standards) that I haven’t purchased.

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