Virgin Slave, Barbarian King and Raintree: Haunted

Virgin Slave, Barbarian King Vol 1 by Louise Allen and Takako Hashimoto

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This manga will appeal to historical romance fans, and people who enjoy a bit of sweeping adventure in their romance manga. Julia is a noble Roman woman who is quite horrified when her city is overrun by barbarians. She is even more horrified when a barbarian chieftain named Wulfric decides to carry her off in order to force her to serve as a slave. Wulfric’s long blond hair makes him look like a slightly more bloodthirsty version of Dorian from Eroica with Love, which I found amusing. Julia sees that Wulfric is far more humane in his treatment of Roman slaves as he’s sacking her city than their Roman masters were. She begins to start questioning her way of life and the way she unthinkingly took advantage of other people’s servitude. Julia is far too self-assured to meekly start serving anybody, and while she does start to fit in with the Visigoths, she also manages to fight back against Wulfric in some amusing ways. The art in this volume is much more detailed and assured than I usually expect to see in Harlequin Manga adaptations. As the story progresses, Julia begins to learn more of the pressures the barbarians face, as well as the political struggles that Wulfric has to deal with. My main quibble is that the ending felt a bit truncated, and I’m assuming that is because the adaptation of the story was actually split into two volumes. Still, this would be a fun manga for historical romance fans. I was reminded of Red River a bit, although this story didn’t have the complexity of story found in that manga. I’m happy that is releasing some historical romance adaptations!

Raintree: Haunted Vol 1 by Kazuko Fujita and Linda Winstead Jones

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This manga is adapted from a series of Silhouette Nocturne Harlequin books, so I was expecting a contemporary paranormal romance and that’s exactly what I got. Gideon Raintree is a detective from a family with varied psychic powers. He can conveniently speak to ghosts, but he has issues emitting random bursts of electricity and thus will never know the joys of owning a smartphone. He is also occasionally visited by a ghost who claims to be the spirit of his future unborn daughter. Even Gideon finds this a bit disconcerting. Gideon gets assigned a tough yet beautiful new partner named Hope, who finds his numerous eccentricities suspicious even while she admits to herself that he is distressingly attractive. Gideon and Hope work to track down a female murderer who may have a connection to the occult, and along the way Gideon finds himself revealing more and more about his odd powers to his new partner. Kazuko Fujita has adapted a ton of Harlequin manga, and it shows in her attractive character designs and capable art. This is another Harlequin manga with much better than average art, and I enjoyed the way Fujita made the murderess look much more haggard and desperate than the other characters. Sometimes in manga-land everybody is portrayed as equally attractive, with just slightly different hairstyles, so I appreciated the extra attention to detail here. The story continues in the second volume of this manga, but the first volume also had a fairly satisfying conclusion. Also recommended!

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  1. “but he has issues emitting random bursts of electricity and thus will never know the joys of owning a smartphone.”

    Snerk. 🙂

    I probably got more enjoyment out of that sentence than I would out of the actual manga. The art does look pretty, though.

  2. I am glad someone appreciates my sense of humor 🙂

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