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Review: Saihoshi Redemption (Part 01)

Reviewer: Lissa Pattillo
Saihoshi Redemption (Part 01)
Available Now @ YaoiProse

Author/Illustrator: KOSEN
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: February 5, 2010

Format: Downloadable eBook

Synopsis: “It’s been two years since Sastre, The Guardian of the North, decided to betray the Order and run away with Kaleth, servant and lover of prince Anel. Since then, they’ve lived in an isolated cabin in the Forest of the East. This is Yinn’s territory, the Guardian who helped them in their escape. However, Sastre’s betrayal has come to light, so the Order sends the only warriors who can defeat a Guardian: the fearsome Executioners. Now, Sastre, Kaleth, and Yinn will face retribution for their acts in a journey that will reveal the obscure secrets of the Order and will put their feelings to a test…”

Sastre has recently begun sensing something is amiss. He’s also never forgotten that his past could catch up to him at any moment, his Guardian sect known for their harsh penalties for desertion. At the same time his partner, Kaleth, senses his lover’s uneasiness and the monotony of their stable though rhythmic love life isn’t helping ease the pressure any. Unfortunately their married life is the least of their problems.

Saihoshi Redemption is a digital novel sequel to KOSEN’s Saihoshi series, originally released in English in a two part graphic novel series by Yaoi Press. This follow-up story takes place several years after the original ends. Saihoshi’s two leads Kaleth – previous attendant to royalty – and Sastre, a now retired-of-sorts Guardian from a sect of honed warriors – are still together, living a humble life in the woods selling the furs procured from the same hunts that provide their food. It’s a big change from the royal lifestyle and hardened warrior path that the two lived before, and though they seem content to live their days in peace, there’s an obvious unrest brewing as the past threatens to resurface.

Not a whole lot happens in this opening chapter events-wise but to fans of Saihoshi, it will prove more than sufficient. It’s a nostalgic reconnecting to the characters for those of us who haven’t read the original in some time and it’s nice being eased back into their world before being thrown headlong into a new plot.

Readers learn how Sastre and Kaleth are living today and witness different exchanges between the two, both good and bad. The chapter itself ends on a cliffhanger, bringing in a new character who seems set to uproot Sastre and Kaleth’s generally happy home life.

Keeping with conventional boys’ love hooks, there is a sex scene in this opening chapter. Not only is it enticing simply on the grounds of being so well executed, but it also speaks to the experience and comfort Sastre now has compared to his first-time hesitance back in Saihoshi. As a beautiful bonus, this portion of the story is accompanied by a gorgeous piece of artwork by KOSEN that will go well in appeasing the visual smut-seekers. (Note: The sex scene illustration is not available in the free version download). There are also two screenshot-style promotional images included in this download as well.

The writing in this opening chapter of Redemption is solid, which lends further hope to continued good reads in the future. KOSEN has done a nice job laying out the necessities for a strong re-introductory chapter while the English rewrite is cleanly adapted. It’s descriptive enough to set the tone and environment while being simple and straightforward enough to read fluently and without confusion.

Saihoshi Redemption starts a little uneventfully but nonetheless on strong footing. With the end hanging on a tense note after a well-constructed catch-up portion, there’s more than enough teaser here to keep readers looking forward to the next installment of what lays ahead for Kaleth and Sastre. Plus, if future chapter come with artwork of the same caliber as that offered here, then all the more reason to look forward to it.

Review written February 4, 2010 by Lissa Pattillo
Complimentary digital copy provided by Yaoi Press

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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