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Review: The Aristocrat and Desert Prince

Reviewer: Jaime Samms

Author: Haruhi Tono
Manga-ka: Ai Hasukawai
Publisher: June
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: August 2009

Synopsis: “In his young life, Takeyuki has never really known hardship. The youngest son of a wealthy family, he has never had any difficulty getting anything he desired. Now, though, Takeyuki is enjoying his last month of freedom before he begins working at his father’s import company in Tokyo, and he has decided to spend that time with his brother and his sister-in-law in Cassina, a small country in the Middle East. Little does Takeyuki know that his prideful manner will soon land him in hot water! In Cassina, some dangers are very real and some people are not who they seem. For example, who exactly is the charming, majestic man who won’t stop staring at Takeyuki during their flight to Cassina, and why do his blue eyes make Takeyuki feel like his chest will burst?”

This story was enjoyable to read. Despite the fact that the main character, Takeyuki, was a bit of a brat, and almost terminally foolish, he still had a likeability factor that made me sympathise with him. He’s a caring man, though he’s seldom had opportunity or reason to show it. When he finally gets past himself to see the world around him, and think about the people who have helped and cared for him, he turns out to be quite a likeable guy.

The story’s twist was pretty predictable, but the way the author managed to make the story about Takeyuki’s ability to get past his pampered, spoiled upbringing to see the truth the audience already knows is quite well done. There’s an emotional connection to Takeyuki that I wasn’t expecting.

Takeyuki’s prince is the perfect, mysterious white knight, complete with nefarious reputation and big black horse; just the kind of bad-boy hero you can’t help but like. And when he stops to let Takeyuki bath, and sits down to read (in plain view of Takeyuki’s skinny dipping) you have to admire his brazen declaration of desire without ever speaking a word. That’s the sort of moment in a book that makes me want to look up an author again.

The writing for this story was engaging. There were a few typos, missing words and the like, but on the whole, the writing was much better than some I’ve read.

The one sex scene, as graphic as it is, is also emotionally charged, if, perhaps, slightly over-written. The colourful language doesn’t diminish the sentiment, though, and the final chapter closes off the story nicely.

I enjoyed the illustrations as well, especially those of the mysterious hero. All of the illustrations are very good, but I like the looser feel of those depicting very emotional moments in the story. However Ai Hasukawa achieved that feeling, it makes for a couple of very memorable images. The colour palette on the front of this book might be my favourite picture I’ve seen in a long time. A good kiss is always sexy.

As far as yaoi translations go, I would really recommend The Aristocrat and the Desert Prince to anyone who likes a good, cool, really heroic hero.

Review written February 7, 2010 by Jaime Samms
Book provided by Digital Manga for review purposes

Jaime Samms

About the Author:

Jaime Samms has been writing gay romance and fiction for quite some time now, and reviewing it for almost as long. She's published with e-publishers Freya’s Bower, Lovyoudivine Alterotica and soon, Total e-Bound and Drollerie Press. "Writing is quite a passion for me. I’ve been asked many times why write about love affairs between men, when I clearly am not one, and really, it feels right to me. Not a terribly informative answer, but there it is."

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