The Promised Neverland Vol. 1 by Kaiu Shirai (story) & Posuka Demizu (artist) (Promised Neverland #1)
Publisher: Viz Media
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Available Through The Book Depository: The Promised Neverland Vol. 1
Summary: Life at Grace Field House has been good for Emma and her fellow orphans. While the daily studying and exams they have to take are tough, their loving caretaker provides them with delicious foods and plenty of playtime. But perhaps not everything is as it seems…
Emma, Norman and Ray are the brightest kids at the Grace Field House orphanage. And under the care of the woman they refer to as “Mom,” all the kids have enjoyed a comfortable life. Good food, clean clothes and the perfect environment to learn—what more could an orphan ask for? One day, though, Emma and Norman uncover the dark truth of the outside world they are forbidden from seeing.
My Rating: ★★★★☆
My Thoughts: The Promised Neverland Volume 1 is a promising start to an intriguing manga series! Following a unique cast of characters set in the Grace Field House Orphanage, things are not quite as they seem for Emma, Norman & Ray! With intrigue, mystery, & with both a great cast of characters & equally unique story, this first volume will have you turning the page, wondering what’ll happen next!
So after finishing The Promised Neverland, I was feeling so accomplished because this is the first book I’ve finished in a little over a week (which felt like so much longer, if I’m being honest 😭💔💔). I’m also happy that this delightful manga is getting me out of my reading slump!
I’ve also really been wanting to start this series because I’d heard so many positive and great things about it! After turning the last page of this first volume, I really can’t wait to see where the story is headed!
The Promised Neverland Volume 1 introduces the reader to the Grace Field House Orphanage where the main character Emma lives! She’s the oldest (11 years old) alongside Norman, Ray & a few others who are also her age! She lives a pretty normal and happy life with the other younger kids and “Mom”, their loving caretaker.
But, things take a surprising turn when a mystery begins unraveling after Conny, a girl at the orphanage who’s getting ready to see her new family, leaves her toy behind and Emma alongside Norman, try to get it to her. Though, leaving the orphanage at night is forbidden.
I don’t want to spoil too much about this volume because the way the story unravels, its best to go in without knowing too much! Though for me personally, that’s why I’m leaning more towards a 4-star rating! From my own personal expectations I was expecting a more quiet contemporary story (with light fantasy elements), but those were just my personal expectations & Promised Neverland really takes a different turn!
I will say that my favorite parts about this manga, aside from the phenomenal characters, intriguing story, & world-building, is the themes that are interwoven throughout this volume.
If you’ve read this series, I highly recommend checking out Jeannette Ng’s wonderful thread which delves into important themes & core elements of what makes Promised Neverland filled with “defiant hope.” Her thread also inspired a lot of the themes I found while reading it and want to further explain!
Intrigue and intellect are explored heavily throughout this first volume & mainly through the older orphans like Emma, Ray, & Norman. There’s moments where they find themselves tested and facing situations where you really see the depth of their character & to the point where its clear these characters are really thinking about what’s best for everyone instead of just themselves.
Their trying to formulate plans all while gathering intel, with the perfect amount of intrigue that keeps you guessing! I never knew where the story was headed and was worried for them when their plan became a little more complicated.
No matter what conflict Emma is faced with, even if it changes how she sees the world, there’s this thread of hope & positivity that is present throughout this first volume and its inspiring!
I loved the friendship between Emma and Norman! They complement each other really well and we see that through their conflicting personalities, where Emma is energetic and confident, Norman is strategic, quiet, & resourceful.
Alongside that, I just love seeing the dynamic between Emma, Ray & Norman when they all begin working together.
Each member of the trio is unique in their own way and you see that they each have their own abilities which seems to foreshadow a bit of what strength they’ll lend to the group as their plan continues to develop. Emma is not only energetic but incredibly athletic, Norman is brilliant & strategic, and Ray is quiet, very knowledgeable and observant.
Overall I found myself connecting to each character and found each one, no matter when they were introduced, to have quite a bit of depth and feel very well developed.
The setting itself was not what I was expecting: it mixes dystopia, a bit of sci-fi, but in a whimsical sort of way that I really enjoyed & was hoping for.
As for the art-style it was wonderfully detailed. The backgrounds, character designs, and pacing/development all flowed so well!
The Promised Neverland Vol. 1 is the start to a manga series both intriguing and mysterious! There’s a mix of sci-fi, dystopia, and mystery! The page-turning plot, dynamic cast of characters, and great artwork all come together in such a unique way! This manga series balances dark and hopeful, while also having intrigue, mystery, and so much more!