Title: A Royal Proposition
Original Story: Marion Lennox
Manga: Harumo Sanazaki
Publisher: Harlequin/ Softbank Creative Group
Available at eManga
Ugh! I so don’t want to say “Ugh,” but I’m afraid that I must. This romance was so clumsy and awkward that I was never drawn into the courtship between Alastair and Penny-Rose. The dialog was stiff and lifeless, and the characters had zero personality. At least there was a cute puppy, so the read wasn’t a total waste of time.
The story kicked off to a rocky (forgive the awful pun) start when Penny-Rose, a pretty young girl who wants to be a stone mason, meets the queen of a little podunk country. Immediately charmed by her friendliness, the Queen decides that Rose is the perfect mate for her son, the handsome prince of Castaliae. Rose comes from a disadvantaged background, and she has worked hard all of her life to provide for her siblings because her father is an alcoholic bum. Luckily for Rose, Alastair has only recently ascended to the throne after the death of his uncle. In order to keep it, he has to marry a woman of virtue and remain married for at least one year. Since Alastair’s girlfriend is a calculating, experienced older woman, she doesn’t fit the bill and is out of the running to become the next princess. At least for a year.
This is a quick read, and it is marred by a terrible translation. The dialog is so stilted that it is humorous. The awkward dialog stumbles along, and it fails to capture any romantic tension that may have existed between the protagonists. It was so distractingly bad that the usual text spilling outside of useless word balloons hardly even registered. Instead, I was caught like a deer in the headlights by the glaringly awful sentences tumbling from the characters’ inked lips.
The art is a tad dated, but after a few pages, I started thinking it wasn’t too bad. Especially the panels where nobody talked. I came to look forward to those few pages where the art spoke instead of the leads. The ungainly character proportions seemed masterful next to the train wreck that is the dialog. Even the smudges around Penny-Rose’s eyes became appealing after wading through the painful dialog.
Avoid this one. I guess there are times when even fairy tales can be rendered clunky and unsatisfying.