Webtoon Review : SubZero

Webtoon Review : SubZeroSubZero by Junepurrr
Series: SubZero
Published by Line Webtoons Genres: Epic, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Bookshop.org
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three-stars

What would you sacrifice to save your family? How far would you go to protect your people? For Clove, the last princess of a near-extinct Dragon clan, the answer is the unthinkable: MARRY your greatest sworn enemy in an effort to bring peace to your land.

After seeing A Geek Girl’s Guide First Look at SubZero, I knew I had to read this webtoon about a marriage alliance between the prince and princess of two warring clans of dragons, designed to bring peace to their people for the first time in centuries.  Though I used to be a very big fan of manga and anime, this was my first time ever reading a webtoon. I immediately was sucked into webtoons by the convenience of reading a story on my cell phone, and SubZero, with its story, which has romance, political intrigue, and duh, dragons, only helped to bolster my enthusiasm. Plus, the art style is absolutely gorgeous and the music that accompanies some of the episode really helps to create an epic atmoshpere.

 

SubZero boasts a whole enemies to lovers story line, through the heroine, Princess Clove of the Azure Clan, and Crown Prince Kyro of Crimson Clan. However, I found that the whole enemy part didn’t really last long at all. It was more a by product of the centuries long war between the clans and initial mistrust, than actual personal dislike between the leads. Though I was disappointed that there wasn’t more of an enemies period between Clove and Kyro, along with a gradual earning of mutual respect, before love, the couple still has their work cut out for them, dealing with prejudice, scheming generals, assassins, and former lovers.

 

 

Though the world this webtoon takes place in is beyond beautiful, with gorgeous backgrounds and lovely dress, readers don’t know much about the world itself, or even the kingdoms. For instance, I don’t even know how the war between the two dragon clans started. SubZero hints that it may just be a dragon’s nature to fight each other, with the different colored dragons almost having a Yin and Yang relationship, but if that’s the case, then why do dragons of a similar color get along without difficulty? And what will it mean for Kyro and Clove, and their respective dragons, when they have children?

 

By far my favorite part of SubZero is everything having to do with the dragons that Clove and Kyro host. I think it’s a really cool idea to have humans of the royal line not only have the ability to shapeshift into dragons, but also to be able to converse with them, and to gain other abilities in the process. Hint hint, the title SubZero has to do with these other powers. I wonder at the dragons’ inability to see the potential problems of gifting royalty with access to their strength, abilities, and cunning, but perhaps they just don’t care about the havoc they wreak on mere humans, and even their hosts. We aren’t told why exactly their wars began either, which is something I’d really like to know. I’d also be very interested in why these two clans feel that they need to continue these dragons’ wars, as it’s leading to huge losses for their people. We are never told these reasons, so the readers has to assume it’s mere human greed, edged on by the might and machinations of the dragons.

 

I am, however, slightly confused by how this whole dragon host thing works. It appears that all of the royal line of the two clans have access to dragons, but that they are also possibly descended from the first two Azure and Crimson dragons? It appears that Kyro’s dragon, whom he refers to as Red, recognizes Clove’s Azure dragon, and knows her personally. It also appears that Clove’s dragon was her late mother’s dragon, as the Azure dragon feels extreme amounts of guilt for Clove’s mother’s death, and that of all of her other hosts throughout the centuries. I am a little confused whether every dragon is the same dragon, or descended from the same dragon, and how exactly this works. Kyro’s sister can also shift, is she also the host for the same dragon as her brother? And likewise, Red, seems to personally know Kyro’s late brother, who also hosted a Crimson dragon.

 

This all begs the question, are these all the same dragons presented in every royal line of the clan with the same memories, or if they are different, do they share a consciousness? If they are the same dragon, how does it not conflict to have the entire clan changing into them at possibly the same time? And if they are the same dragons that originally started the war, what happens if Kyro and Clove have children? Is there a third, mixed dragon that their child will host? I have an endless amount of questions about how this whole dragon host thing works, and it’s never really explained beyond members of the family hosting them. It would make sense if the royal line only presented shapeshifting abilities to the heir, which were then passed to the host once the last host died, but that is not the case, and all family members have the ability to shift, regardless of how many others in their clan have the abilities. I could really use some clarification on how exactly this all works, because otherwise, it seems like a very significant plot hole.

 

 

Though I tore through SubZero and am anxiously awaiting Season 2 of the webtoon, I have to admit that I had a few others gripes with the story beyond my confusion of the dragon hosting. The gender roles in SubZero are definitely frustratingly traditional. It is clear that Princess Clove is the one who is married off for the treaty, journeying to join her new husband Kyro in his kingdom. She is the one who is constantly put down as “other” and her inability to fully shapeshift only strengthens this divide. So not only is the Azure Kingdom, who is losing the war between clans with heavy casualties and a starving kingdom, seen as inferior, but so is Clove constantly, just for breathing air.

 

Her own bodyguards and family members see her as something of a fragile and pure flower, to be protected and sheltered at all costs. They were absolutely horrified by her decision to marry Kyro. Likewise, the Azure Dragon she hosts does not even want to speak to her. And Kyro’s generals and courtiers immediately see her as a simple tool used for their political scheming for power, at best. Kyro, at first, views her as a possible threat to his power, believing her capable of betraying him, and later sees her inability to shapeshift as a deadly weakness that must be hidden at all costs, as it threatens both of their safety, their treaty, and their people. Since their nuptials, Kyro has not even visited the Azure Kingdom once, with Kyro looking down on any Azure Clan attendees at their wedding, and it’s clear that Clove and her kingdom got the short end of the stick in this marriage treaty.

 

 

As Kyro can shapeshift, communicate with his dragon, still has his mother and sister who also have dragon abilities, I really wish Clove had a bit more going for her. She is the last Azure Dragon of her clan, can’t even shapeshift, her parents are dead, and she seems woefully unprepared to be an Empress. I wish that Kyro, at least, was the one who isn’t able to shift, as his sister, his general, and his mother are all able to shift. Or at least, could Clove had made up for her lack of dragon shifting abilities, by having an extremely intellectual and politically inclined mind? Sadly, that is not the case, and Clove is completely naïve and out of her depth. I am hoping this will change, at least to some degree, in the next season of SubZero.

 

Despite wishing the gender roles weren’t so traditional and predictable, and wishing the story were a bit more developed or explained in many areas, I really enjoyed SubZero. It is a great first start to the world of Webtoons, and I’ve become completely addicted to reading them since my first foray into them.

 

 

Season one of SubZero is available now to read on Line Webtoons. 

three-stars
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Webtoon Review : SubZero - Blogging with Dragons

Posted March 5, 2021 in Webtoons

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One response to “Webtoon Review : SubZero

  1. Haruka Fang

    Ok so I didn’t write this webnovel but I do have a theory on the shape shifting prosses. The dragons themselves are different usually matching to the personality of there host however they all share the memories and knowledge of those before them allowing them to recognize cloves azure dragon because like the crimson clan dragons it holds the memories of all the dragons that came before and with those memories comes the emotions as well. If a child were to be born of clove and kyro it would most likely take an ombre effect in color smoothly transitioning from red to blue or vise versa and like with all the other dragons theirs too will have memories of both. The azure and crimson dragons. but like I said this is all theory and I think its a bit cool to think of genetic memory but up to you?

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