Harlequin Manga: Ridge: The Avenger, Codename Prince, and An Officer and a Princess

Ridge: The Avenger by Leanne Banks and Keiko Kishimoto

I tend to like Harlequin manga the most when the art is ridiculously old fashioned. If the adaptation has art that looks a little bit like a throwback to the 80s, I tend to enjoy the goofy storylines of these books even more. Kishimoto has a lush style, featuring bee-stung lips. In some scenes I was reminded a tiny bit of Yumi Tamura’s Basara, especially with the angular proportions of the hero’s face. The hero in question is bodyguard Ridge, assigned to protect the goddaughter of a presidential candidate. He thinks Dara is spoiled and silly. Ridge has an ulterior motive in being assigned as Dara’s protector. What could it be? He is out for REVENGE! Ridge’s tortured past (this must be why he seems to be pouting so much) has led him to want to destroy Dara’s godfather and his political future.

Ridge and Dara bond with each other over assassination attempts and their horrible fashion choices when rollerblading. While they fall in love, Ridge is still out for REVENGE and he might destroy Dara’s life! But he loves her! The art in this title is really much better done than most Harlequin manga. There were interesting panel layouts, perspective shifts, and the character designs were attractive in an old fashioned way. This was a fun read.

Codename: Prince by Megumi Toda and Carla Cassidy

Codename Prince is the third book in the Stanbury Crown series. Royal cousin and military man Ben is posing as his cousin Prince Nicholas in order to get himself kidnapped and collect intelligence on the group who has kidnapped the King of Edinburg. His captor is the attractive woman Megan who has been blackmailed into helping her brother with his nefarious schemes. Megan has a young daughter who the kidnappers threaten to hurt if she doesn’t help them. The story opens with Ben tied up on a bed with a teddybear placed next to him, slowly developing a hopeless crush on Megan. Codename Prince is very short, and doesn’t really contain the type of spying shenanigans I was hoping for based on the title. The art is simple and fluid, without some of the stiffness that seems to plague many of these quick romance novel adaptations.

An Officer and a Princess by Megumi Toda and Carla Cassidy
This series wraps up with the final volume, where the princess of the family decides to go undercover with her crush to unravel the mystery behind her father the king’s disappearance. Isabel had to give up her dream of serving in the military for her princessy duties, and her good friend and fellow officer Adam tends to view her only as a princess and not as a woman. When they pose as man and wife, will their love finally blossom?

By the end of the series, I think I liked the concept of linked books with overlapping characters a little more than the actual execution of it. The King certainly managed to stay kidnapped for a long time, as four royal couples managed to get married off while he was missing. A certain level of sameness started to settle in with the plots of this series, so while these manga weren’t the worst Harlequin manga ever, they ended up not being all that great either. These were still perfectly serviceable for someone wanting a quick summer read.

Access to electronic copies provided by the publisher.

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  1. Kishimoto is THE BEST!!!! LOVE all her works.

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