Review: The Lizard Prince Volume 1

Lizard Prince 1
The Lizard Prince Volume 1
By Asuka Izumi
Publisher: CMX
Age Rating: Everyone
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Comedy
Price: $9.99
Rating: ★★★★☆

Canary is the princess of the kingdom of Linaria.  Her father, the king has promised her hand in marriage to Heath, the handsome prince of the kingdom of Gazania.  Canary isn’t crazy about this, because Heath has a bad reputation.  The Prince has his own reservations, and gets his brother Sienna to pose as him on their first date, convinced he’ll drive her away.  But the plan backfires when chemistry ignites between the two.  The only problem is, Sienna’s been under a spell, which turned him into a lizard.  And once he’s done posing as his brother, he reverts back to that form!  Will love really conquer all in this mixed up triangle?

The Lizard Prince is a fairy tale turned quirky romance.  It starts out much like the Frog Prince, but is able to transform itself into a funny and charming romance with wide spread appeal.

At first glance, this title doesn’t seem like it has anywhere to go.  The first chapter was originally a self contained one-shot that was then expanded on.  After reading this first chapter, one does wonder how the story can continue.  As in the original fairy tale, the curse is lifted and the lizard becomes his princely human self.  The easiest way of course is to say the curse wasn’t really lifted, which is exactly what this title does, but not with any kind of retconning.  The prince is still a prince, but because he was a lizard for so long, he can switch between the two forms, though not necessarily at will.  He can’t always control when or where he will transform.

This quickly becomes a plot device.  Prince Sienna’s changing into a lizard can be either the cause or the solution of a problem in a chapter.  Sometimes it can even be both.  Add to this the need to keep Sienna’s changing form a secret and suddenly there is a myriad of stories one can come up with.  Fortunately, Asuka Izumi is able to do this competently and creates some entertaining chapters that feel neither contrived nor forced.

Part of this is thanks to the characters.  Princess Canary is not your typical fairy tale princess.  She’s strong willed and doesn’t back down from anyone.  She’s got the physical strength to back up her will, though she rare says much, letting a kick speak for her more often than not.  She doesn’t look tough, which makes her strength all the more menacing.  Sienna, the title character, is courageous as would be expected of a fairy tale prince, but he’s also not very assertive.  He’s very caring of others, and his soft heart sometimes gets him into trouble.  He got cursed in the first place by trying to protect his younger brother.  Canary and Sienna compliment each other very nicely, making reading about them very enjoyable.  Even when they don’t get along.

Overall, The Lizard Prince is a fun read.  I honestly didn’t think it could keep the momentum going after the first chapter, but it pleasantly surprised me.  The art is very nicely done, with a lot of delicate line work.  Though, I have to admit Sienna’s lizard form does bother me a little.  He looks more like a worm than a lizard, but that’s a minor squabble.  The quirky characters and a good variety of stories more than make up for it.  This seemingly average shojo is anything but.  It’s a light read that girls from 9 to 99 will enjoy.

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