This is a Royal Diaries book I’m reading for the very first time while reviewing, and I’m not sure how I missed it on its first publication.
To start with, I have to freely admit that my knowledge of Korean history is sadly, embarrassingly lacking. I had to do a quick Wikipedia visit to familiarize myself with the actual historical Sondok (also transliterated Seondeok), a reigning queen of Silla, which was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. Silla lasted for 992 years, and I would venture a guess that the amount of time spent on it in an average history class is about zero minutes. I have two degrees in history and I had not heard of Silla before reading this book.
Now that we’ve talked about how my lack of knowledge probably contributed to why I didn’t read this book in the first place, let’s get started.
Sondok doesn’t keep a journal, per se, but writes on parchment that goes into the Ancestor Jar of her recently-deceased grandmother. She already knows at this point, as a teenager, that her father intends to make her his heir since he has no male sons, and is desperate to make herself worthy of his decision. She loves stargazing and astronomy, but this is considered a male science in Silla, and not something she should concern herself with—which is upsetting to her, understandably so.