The Monster Duchess and the Contract Lady

Reading Here The young, malnourished Leslie was born to be a human sacrifice for her older sister in order to fully awaken the sister's black magic. Thus, despite being of noble blood, she was a living secret treated worse than a wild animal by her biological family. Supposedly Leslie must be burned in a black fire after she turns ten years old for the transfer of power to successfully go to her older sister. But instead of dying like her predecessors, Leslie triggered her own magical awakening in the fire. Desperate to survive, she runs off to the Monstress Duchess, head of the most powerful household in the empire. She offers her powers in exchange for their protection and eventual revenge; thus begins a journey of self-healing and growth under the tutelage of the duchess. Although the magical setting for the story is intriguing, the plot really just boils down to observing the life of a formerly-abused child adopted by powerful-cool-feminist-icon. The villains of this story are very predictably her family and groups that oppose the monstress duchess, and they are portrayed with zero redeeming qualities. Nonetheless, it's quite amusing to see how shameless the villainy gets. The main protagonists and colorful art style are this manhwa's strengths. I adore the entire duchess' family including their servants. Unfortunately, the writing does fall short of amazing, and the story tends to skip over certain plot elements to speed up pacing. We don't get a lot of detail on Leslie's powers. They keep getting alluded to, but it seems they are not the story's focus. Up until chapter 60, this is mostly a feel-good story portraying a pitiful child finally receiving stability and love. The story gets really interesting after that as the plot dives more into the lore surrounding the empire.This story seems very focused on the emotional aspects but drops the ball when it comes to world-building. But perhaps that will change with time! I have hope. I'm excited to see where this goes from here.