Miyo Saimori lives a Cinderella lifestyle as the de facto servant of her abusive family. Neglected by her father and stepmother in favour of her younger half-sister Kaya, Miyo is resigned to this poor treatment and doesn’t dare dream of anything better. But everything changes when the family of the handsome and successful Kiyoka Kudou unexpectedly chooses Miyo as his bridal candidate, which even makes Kaya jealous. Kiyoka is initially cold to Miyo, dismissing her as just another gold-digger after a taste of his wealth and status. However, her sweet and caring nature wins him over. He soon falls for her and swears to protect Miyo from her family’s abuse.
My Happy Marriage shows genuinely sweet moments in this relationship—as well as some comedy coming from Kiyoka’s initial over-the-top efforts to put Miyo off. But instead of them spending more time to develop their relationship together, the story splits its focus between the romantic elements and some disappointingly clumsy fantasy worldbuilding. Early exposition explains that Miyo’s family devalues her because she was born without the “Spirit-Sight” needed to defend their world from monstrous “Grotesqueries.” Kiyoka, on the other hand, has risen to a high rank in the military because his pyrokinetic powers make him especially skilled in combat. One would think that this lore would eventually become relevant to the plot, and yet it actually turns out to be so tangential that not a single “Grotesquerie” ever appears on the page. It makes you wonder why these supernatural powers exist in the first place when the story could have played out almost exactly the same way without them.
As this is only the beginning of a series, the author will likely develop the magical elements of the plot much more in the sequels. But on its own, the first volume of My Happy Marriage feels a bit like fanfiction. It’s as if an amateur author focused on the fun romance between their two favourite characters from a more complex fantasy saga, and sidelined all the more unique elements of the setting in the process. And while said fanfiction might be enjoyable to other fans of the original work, anyone who comes across it without being familiar with that context might wonder why the romance is so bogged down in unnecessary details.
The fantasy of being saved from a traumatic past by a kind-hearted bad boy certainly has some appeal, but this attempt to dress up that concept with a supernatural twist falls flat. Romance readers who prefer an in-depth focus on interpersonal relationships to gratuitous worldbuilding would likely be better-served elsewhere.
My Happy Marriage is published by Yen Press, and you can find the first volume on Amazon available in digital and paperback copies.
Title: My Happy Marriage, Vol. 1
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: January 18, 2022
Type: Light Novel
Author: Akumi Agitogi
Illustrator: Tsukiho Tsukioka
Translator: Kiki Piatkowska