One Thousand and One Nights | By Han SeungHee and Jeon JinSeok | Published by Yen Press | Rated OT (16+) – Volume six ended with storyteller Sehara facing English invaders alone as Sultan Shahryar was lured away from Baghdad by his brother’s calculated betrayal. This volume picks up with Shahryar who races back to Baghdad to save the city (and Sehara) even though he must reveal an important secret to an enemy to do so—one that will threaten his own life from here forward. Meanwhile, Sehara does what he can to influence the invading king by telling him a story from the future about another western power invading Muslim land to “liberate” its people from a tyrant.
Any existing pretense of a linear timeline is thrown away completely in this volume and though this is a bit jarring at first, the payoff is substantial. This is also the first overtly political volume in the series, and though the rhetoric is simplistic and far from new (“Christians and Muslims differ in language and culture,” Sehara says, leading into his story, “but we call the same God by a different name and go to war over it.”), Sehara’s true message is clear. It is not the innocent who profit when countries go to war, though it is they who bear the heaviest burden and suffer the greatest loss.
This volume’s modern story is moving and well told, just as all of Sehara’s tales have been, though with so much momentum having built up in the primary storyline it is hard not to feel impatient by the time the volume approaches its end. The end itself, however, is wonderfully heart-wrenching and perfectly crafted to make the wait for the next volume excruciating for us all.
With its gorgeous art, fantastic storytelling, and emotional (and now political) resonance, One Thousand and One Nights continues to be a manhwa series well worth recommending.
Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at PopCultureShock