English: Savage Garden
Published: 2008 to May 2011
Authors: Lee, Hyeon-Sook (Story & Art)
Score: 8.151 (scored by 1050 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
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Oct 4, 2013
With a plot that does not deliver, Savage Garden strangely starts off with some promise. Initially we are introduced, just as the synopsis describes, to a school that, despite housing the well-to-do, has incredibly harsh hierarchy. Gabriel enters, impersonating her deceased childhood friend, and taking on the persona of “Jeremy.” Led by the promise of riches, “Jeremy” tries to lay low without invoking the wrath of some the more prominent – and cruel – noblemen that she dorms with.
As you can well predict, she inevitably lands herself in trouble and becomes tangled up with two brothers. The premise is a little misleading, however, because it eventually becomes a derailed train that crashes and burns.
In regards to the aforementioned plot holes, the author blatantly omits a lot of information in the latter half of the story, as we are suddenly thrust into the ending without any preparation. There is no leading up to it, no real resolutions in terms of the climax of the story. It just lands in our lap, incomplete and ill-conceived. My suspicions are that the author came to an impasse, with no motivation left for continuing, and decided to end prematurely. As a result, many questions were left unanswered and the ending left you wondering if you were still reading the same series.
The characters, who are both interesting and intriguing, are vaguely explored through the story. Once again, this is where the potential really shined through but inevitably fell short. Gabriel suddenly became the traditional damsel-in-distress whereas she had been a heroine with some measure of self-sufficiency in the beginning. Her desire to reclaim her pride from her status of fallen nobility, as a driving force, is far more realistic than the shallow reasons seen in other gender benders.
But, just as with Gabriel, the other characters either dropped out of the picture or were poorly utilized approaching the ending. Rather than feeling like real people, they felt like a means to an end – as though, rather than seeing through the story with the characters she had built and developed, the author used them as a tool to bring things to a close without considering the quality she was losing in doing so.
As for the art, it seems a bit more detailed and a step up from her previous works, which is definitely a positive. Among manhwa, her art stands out as well-proportioned and, in simple terms, very “pretty.” Even compared to many manga, Lee Hyeon-Sook has a very unique style that captivates. There is plenty of good eye candy.
So what is Savage Garden ultimately? A manhwa that initially stands out amongst its fellow creations but inevitably falls short as an underwhelming read with a disappointing ending. As much as it dispels age-old shoujo cliches, it wallows in its own depressing undertones and flickers out like an unnoticed flame. read more
May 27, 2013
Artistically, I was captivated. The characters are pretty and the settings look peaceful. It was indeed the perfect combination with such an intriguing plot.
Setting aside the fact that this was a shoujo fantasy, I find the story quite original. We have messed up characters who are living in an era where there's plenty of political intrigues and where most of their fates were already decided - and with this, our heroine (Gabriel) is no exception.
Since Gabriel an orphan from a fallen noble family, it was already long decided that she's to become a maid. But due to some twist of events, she ended up becoming a replacement for her friend (Jeremy) and entered an elite school for nobles. We find out later that Gabriel isn't only trying to cover up her guilt but also desired to live the illusion of being a noble. However, through Gabriel's perspective, we see that illusion crumble down. The place was nothing ideal and was actually filled with people who cared for nothing but their own greed.
Personally, I like Gabriel's inner strength. There is no guarantee that she will live by doing such a risk - yet, she still managed to show her inner person: spunky, selfless and kind-hearted. Her actions against the nobles' wrong doings is really admirable and therefore, I don't question why some of the guys were interested with her.
As for the romance - I think I'm part of the minority who likes the budding affection between Gabriel and Ray. Gabriel was drawn to Ray more than Euan because they're very similar. Both of them suffered a huge trauma from their past (which is for you to find out) and because of this, they can understand and sympathize with each other better.
(It doesn't mean that I didn't care about Euan though. In fact, he has the best character growth out of all the protagonists. But saying anything more about him will spoil the story.)
Since Gabriel and Ray were both living in the past, it makes sense that they don't have any future goals nor any motivations to work upon it. Certain factors were supposed to trigger them to change the way they live - and this, I think, is what the manhwa's originally trying to accomplish.
However, we didn't get to see any of that cause we arrive to a rushed and inconclusive ending. I don't really need answers to my questions but it would be nice if I get to see what have become of their lives after all that sufferings they went through.
Nevertheless, it's quite a surprise that we get a "not so tragic" ending from this artist + I really enjoyed reading this manhwa - so I'm still somewhat satisfied. read more
Dec 8, 2010
Around this plot another plot but connect takes place involving two brother (Raymond and Euan Kensington) sons of a very powerful duke who tries to blackmail the eldest son Euan for his own greed;. Euan, pisses off his father, he engages himself in sexual acts with not only fellow male students but also maid ( Yavonne - a cunning character) a at the school. He also harbors a deep secret he wants to keep from Raymond because he fears it may bring back tragic memories he may not be able to handle a second time.
This clever manga does have another cunning character named Angela. Her first appearance she is introduced as Raymond's fiance. She secretly likes Raymond brothe Euan. And the first change she gets she blackmails Euan into engaging her.Causing a ruckus and havig the engagement between her and Raymond broken up. She has an older brother named Will who is suffering from a incurable and irreversible disease that keeps him in a appearance as he was at age 10 that's slowly but rapidly taking his life away.
This manga is so thrilling i was smiling and staring without blinking at each page..at times there are confusing parts but its not hard to bypass and forget later. This I recommend for people who are into suspense, thrillers,and mystery readers.
Feb 23, 2011
Aug 11, 2011
Oh boy, here we go again.
On the originality factor:
Cross-dressing= double CHECK
Rich hubbies= [wouldn't you know it] CHECK!!
Extreme luck and a lot of coincidences= CHECKITY CHECK and CHECK
Yes, so there's not much going for it, HOWEVER, in the first volume (dare I say it), I have to say, that it was/has parts that are... Original
There, I said it!
Yes, it has the same ingredients but it was a different type of cake; meaning not overly girly and *GAG* cute.
Audience: Cake! What cake? Is it the chocolate kind, mmmm...
No people, we are not talking about cake (specifically), SNAP OUT OF IT!
So yes, the story was DIFFERENT because of the fact that it had great scenes where the nobility looks bad, unfortunately, that only lasts in the first volume. It even had; suspense. I know it sounds hard-core awesome but, damn it, it doesn't last!
Then it gets all mushy and I love you and no, I don't love you back and et cetera, et cetera.
Audience: considering it's a romance, shouldn't it be that way...?
Yeah, well, then it's not sooo bad a romance
The characters weren't the most realistic, however at some points, realism *gasp* is present. Aside from the insufferable love topic, the characters were nice, friendly, open and really livened up the story.The author should be thanked for having suspense added into the medley, and I mean the good kind of suspense, not the 50% off kind.
The art was a very good standard of 'okay' at the start and then became a shaky standard of 'okay' as it went on. I guess it was proportionate; it may have had a bit of shading. Some of you may not be surprised that the characters don't have many detailed (anything) *cough* features. However, considering it's a Manhwa and that proportionality is rare these days, it's standard was pretty good, at least it didn't have lava-lamp eyes; yeah, they were a little big, if you don't like it so sue me. It may not be top calibre art but it isn't bad calibre, either.
In spite of all that, it was one of the better I'm-a-cross-dresser-that-has-many-rich-snobs-falling-in-love-with-me stories and in fact, I would recommend this story for its’ depth because, in it's weird way, it has depth and many concepts that are almost never touched upon. It's not as shallow a read as the rest of its' brethren so read it, enjoy it, laugh a little, you probably won't realise it's ended until you don't have anymore chapters to read. read more
Dec 10, 2010
For one, I'm really happy that the author makes the gender bender concept work. Although it's not like the premise is realistic, you won't be thinking it's unrealistic because the story and character behavior is well-executed. You're not working hard to suspend your disbelief; the artful execution of the manwha suspends it for you. That's really a key indicator of success for me!
To describe it, well, the feel is a little hard to describe. It's suspense and character emotion. I don't want to say it's dark, because the mood is not as heavy as the word might construe, but drama and reliance on characters' stories creates a tinge of emotion. And it's dramatic; you'll be pulled in and wondering what happens next and how the pieces of the backstory fits together.
There is a lot of romance tension and triangles, and if were any less well-executed, it would seem scoffable or too heavy. But it's not, so the romance pulls you along. It's good. read more
Sep 25, 2009
Jun 18, 2012
So, it could be said that I was captivated by the art at first. For people like me, this manhwa is full of beautiful drawings, beautifully drawn characters and equally beautiful backgrounds. From the soft eyes of Jeremy/Gabriel, to the mere shoes she wore, it was all enchanting. Every page made fueled my love for drawing and encouraged me to draw, draw and draw.
But if you're more interested in the story don't fear. It's well told. It may be confusing sometimes but it all clears in the end and that is what makes the story so good. The characters all have their unique personalities and they stick to it to the very end. Even when they're all grown up, you can still see the younger 'them'. It's beautiful.