The more I read this manhwa, the more obsessed I become. The story, the art and the characters keep dragging me into the series, like I’m next to main protagonist Penelope while she faces her ordeals.
In Volume 3, we continue to see Penelope trying to survive. The affection meters of the main male characters are growing slowly, and Penelope has put all of her hopes on Eckles, the slave she acquired and hoped to make her knight. But his slave status doesn’t make things easy. He’s derided by the other knights and the guards of the duke’s house, but as he promised Penelope that he will make them accept him, Eckles can’t retaliate. At least, not until Penelope finds out… She has learned her lesson. She won’t be a doormat anymore. If someone does her wrong or impacts negatively her chance of survival, she’ll fight back.
And when it comes to survival, it seems like Eckles is really her best option. But the duke and his sons might be hiding their true feelings. When Penelope is ridiculed once again by her brothers, she explodes, rightfully. Her lives as Penelope and as Ivonne have been miserable with families that, instead of supporting and protecting her, left her to her own devices when they weren’t bullying her. But enough is enough. When one of her brothers pushes her beyond the limits of her self-control, Penelope disregards the meter affection and finally talks back, unleashing the feelings she was hiding. No longer will she dutiful comply to his wishes and be thankful for a scrap of affection. Her goal is to survive, and as she has been reincarnated in the game in hard mode, being meek is not enough anymore.
But maybe this is what she needed. The people around her start to change their attitudes and realise that they can’t control her as they previously did (I’m talking to you, Mrs. Dona). And her new attitude seems to have an effect on her adopted family too. Now, to make sure she arrives safely at the next turning point of the story, she needs to survive the hunting tournament organised by the crown prince.
In this volume, we can see the characters grow, especially Penelope. Her lives as Ivonne and Penelope seem to mirror each other: mistreated, bullied and disregarded. Even being starved and ignored by the people who were supposed to love and care for her. There are hints in the story that might make it seem like Penelope’s father and brothers, both in real life and in the game, are tsundere, but I can’t accept that. Their behaviour has always been awful and cruel, and even if they realise how wrong they were about Penelope, it would not be enough to make them redeem themselves. Penelope channels her feelings as Ivonne and as the real Penelope to let them know what she thinks, and this is finally the turning point. She wants to survive, but she won’t beg for it, nor for any scraps of love they are willing to throw at her. She has found her worth.
Eckles is, without doubt, my favourite character. So far, he’s the only one who hasn’t mistreated Penelope. Maybe it’s because he’s a slave, but although his relationship as Penelope’s guard started almost out of survival instinct, he’s starting to accept and acknowledge his mistress. Will it turn into love? I don’t know yet, but I’m shipping them. And also the crown prince. Both characters have had a minor presence in the three volumes so far, but I’m sure they’ll become more prominent in the future.
As usual the art is amazing. The gothic and fantasy settings, and the use of pastel colours make it almost seem fairy-tale like but with a darker twist. Almost in-between the Disney happy-ending fairy tales and the original Grimm’s stories. The characters’ outfits resemble the British Victorian era, of course mixed with some magic, which I hope we can see more of soon.
Villains Are Destined to Die by Gwen Gyeoeul and SUOL is released in English thanks to Ize Press with a translation by David Odell. Volume 4 is slated for release in August 2023.
Our review copy from Ize Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.