Translation/Adaptation: Kakao Entertainment
What They Say
Once upon a time, there was a lovely young princess who suffered under her cruel stepmother…that is, until a children’s clothing designer is reborn as the evil queen! All Her Majesty, Abigail Friedkin, wants to do is dote on the adorable Princess Blanche and give her the happy childhood she deserves. The problem is, the previous Abigail has garnered a reputation for being extremely jealous and materialistic-and to top it off, her smile is the stuff of children’s nightmares! Will Abigail be able to convince her stepdaughter that she might not be so wicked after all?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
When a 30-year-old children’s clothing designer dies from overwork, she finds herself in the body of Queen Abigail, stepmother to the adorable 11-year-old Princess Blanche. All the resurrected woman wants to do is dote on the princess and give her the happy childhood she deserves. Problem is, Princess Blanche – and the entire palace staff – are terrified of her!
Not-Sew-Wicked Stepmom has a convoluted title, but the work itself is actually a fun take on the isekai-ed villainess subgenre. After dying of overwork, a modern Korean woman is reincarnated as the stepmother in a Snow White scenario. Basically, the original Queen Abigail dies under mysterious circumstances, but she suddenly returns to life before they can bury her. It’s during this brief death that the Queen’s soul is swapped with that of our recently deceased protagonist, and she wakes up in her new world in Abigail’s coffin and – conveniently enough – with some of Abigail’s memories.
Those memories, however, don’t include the circumstances under which the Queen died, which has her wondering if someone’s out to get Abigail. Even more pressing is that our protagonist recognizes that she is now in the position of the evil stepmother of the Snow White fairytale, and if she doesn’t improve relations with her stepdaughter Blanche, she’s bound for a BAD END. To make things more difficult, although Abigail has a pretty face, the fact that she is this world’s villainess means that her smiles always have a grotesque quality and her laughter has a diabolical tenor no matter how hard she tries to come off as kind and harmless.
Thus, the story has pretty good stakes, and the contrast between Abigail’s actual expressions and how she tries to be perceived provides a hefty source of visual humor. I should mention that even though she’s longing to sew outfits for her stepdaughter, we haven’t seen her making anything for Blanche yet. For now, she’s obsessing over the girl and showering her with gifts in a manner that screams daughter-complex. Meanwhile, everyone in the palace is struggling to determine whether the Queen’s plotting something or if she’s had a real change of heart.
The supporting cast does their part wonderfully in portraying the confusion sown by the reincarnated soul. For Abigail’s attendants, we have the long-suffering head attendant Norma and the newbie Clara. Norma was thoroughly abused by the original Abigail while Clara has only ever known the Queen with her new soul. Their differing behaviors and reactions toward the Queen demonstrate just how awful the original Abigail treated others while simultaneously providing fodder for comedy. The magic mirror of this story is considered a defective magical item because of his smart mouth. He (and everyone else) fully expects the Queen to destroy him because of his frank personality, but she astonishes everyone by making him her chief confidant instead.
Princess Blanche as of yet does not have much personality to speak of; she’s merely there to be the object of the Queen’s obsessions. Abigail’s husband, however, is another story. The original fairytale didn’t have much to say about the king, but in this version, he’s actually the cause of the misery in his family. He neglects his daughter and wants nothing to do with his wife, whom he married purely for political reasons. His rejection of Abigail’s affections was why the stepmother Queen’s personality warped in the first place, and the reincarnated Queen feels nothing but contempt for him. However, this volume hints that the king himself is somehow a victim. As such, it looks like this couple’s relationship is in store for future twists and turns.
By the way, this book is printed in full color on glossy pages. The illustrations are fun, funny, creepy, and adorable as the scene demands it. It has a European fairytale palace setting, so be prepared for tons of flounces and frills.
Extras include an afterword from the illustrator.
A modern-day woman gets reincarnated in the body of an evil Queen! All she wants to do is spoil her stepdaughter, but no matter what she does, everyone suspects she’s up to no good. Not-Sew-Wicked Stepmom is a funny, brilliant isekai and Snow White retelling. I especially appreciate the fact that the king is actually an active player in the story and not just an absentee father/husband. Looking forward to the next volume!
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: August 22nd, 2023