The Villainess Turns the Hourglass Volume 1 Review

In a fantasy world, Aria Roscent is considered a villainess for mistreating her younger stepsister, Mielle, and her punishment, according to the law, is to be beheaded. In the last few minutes before the sentence is carried out, Aria finds out that Mielle has manipulated her like a marionette—she knew what buttons to push for Aria to lose control and act out, turning everyone against her. Aria vows revenge if she gets a second chance, and someone, or maybe something, answers her plea.

Aria returns to the past when both she and Mielle were in their early teens. She can’t believe it! She has the chance to destroy everyone who caused her ruin in her past life—from Mielle to her brother and even the servants in her adoptive father’s house. They are all fair game. Even the people who didn’t do anything in her previous life will just become stepping stones for Aria to catch her bigger prey.

First order of business, though, is outshining Mielle. As Aria and her mother were poor before her mother remarried into nobility, she now has to learn everything, from embroidery to etiquette, to make sure she is considered a noble lady. Once she gets those down, she can start phase two of her plan: pursuing Oscar Frederick, Mielle’s crush.

And then an encounter with a mysterious man threatens to ruin Aria’s machinations. She needs to put a contingency plan in motion, and Mielle seems to be the perfect scapegoat to deal with the consequences of Aria’s actions.

The Villainess Turns the Hourglass is the most recent isekai series from Ize Press with a shojo theme and it’s adapted from the web novels of the same name by Sansobee.

The story takes place in a fantasy world that resembles the Victorian era in both the fashion and social aspects. This seems to be common in these villainess-turned-heroine stories. So far we don’t know if magic exists in this world, but we know there is something going on as the hourglass that ends up in Aria’s possession allows her to turn back time. We don’t know yet where it’s from or how she got it, but Aria is too busy having fun with her revenge to care—at least for the moment.

While in her previous life Aria knew that her actions were bad, we shouldn’t call her a villainess as she just played into Mielle’s hands. Moreover, her new step-family didn’t really give her a chance. Even her mother was quite indifferent to Aria after she married into nobility. If Aria had known the truth of what was going on, her end might have been quite different. In this new life, she’s self-conscious about her strengths and weaknesses and what she can do to use them for the best. She doesn’t waste any time in putting everything in motion, and I can’t help but cheer for her.

There are mentions of a crown prince in the story, and although Aria didn’t have anything to do with him in her previous life, things might be different now. The readers are given hints that the mysterious man that crosses Aria’s path might be the prince. Their interactions give off an enemies-to-lovers vibe.

The volume’s cover shows Aria wearing a ball gown, but other than that it’s pretty simple. We just get some spot UV on the manhwa title and that’s it. Moreover, both front and back covers have been trimmed a tiny bit too short compared to the text pages. The illustrations use mainly light and pastel colours to give a ‘princess’ and ‘innocent’ vibe, especially for Mielle and Aria. I wonder if the more Aria completes her revenge and Mielle’s true self comes out, the more the colours will become bolder to showcase the changes in their personalities.

The Villainess Turns the Hourglass is written by Sansobee and illustrated by Antstudio. It’s released chapter by chapter on TappyToon, but the print edition in the English language is released by Ize Press. Volume 2 is available in February 2024.

Our review copy from Ize Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.

7 / 10


Number 1 fan of Solo Leveling who also happen to be a self-proclaimed bookworm with a special love for manga and YA, romance and fantasy books. I'm currently obsessed with Korean webtoons.

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