A Devil and Her Love Song

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Review: Secret Moon

Reviewer: Jaime Samms

Author: Siira Gou
Manga-ka: Sato Tomoe
Publisher: June
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: December 2008

Synopsis: “Nearly a hundred years ago, a spurned lover ended Tomoe’s life. Madame had given him new life, but this gift was not without its limitations. Living again in Japan after an extended time abroad, Tomoe was on the prowl for a new lover. But he may have gotten more than he hoped for in young Taichi Yamagami. Influenced by the ebb and flow of the moon, he could be a sweet, naive intellectual, or a rough, demanding lover. Tomoe has never had a lover quite like this…”

This is by far one of the most interesting yaoi light novels I’ve read. Both characters are flawed, fascinating creatures with at once super human abilities and very human foibles. Tomoe has known too much loss in his life. The idea that he could lose this newfound love he’s discovered leads him to make poor choices. It’s natural that those choices could end up turning Taichi away from him anyway.

Over a hundred years ago, Viscount Akihiro Sanders Tomoe made a mistake. He betrayed his lover, and paid the ultimate price for his indiscretion. A Madame had pity on him, and gave him a new life. Now, as a half-breed vampire, Tomoe has had lifetimes to make up for his mistake, and he’s finding, as time goes on, it’s getting harder and harder to live his lonely existence, watching one lover after another die or move on.

One night, after moving back to Japan in a move to hide his identity, he happens across an alley altercation at the center of which is a young man with glowing red eyes and superhuman strength. Tomoe rescues the young man, Taichi Yamagami, and spirits him away to his bed where Taichi proves himself Tomoe’s match and more. Now, Tomoe is faced with a choice: teach his newfound young companion how to survive in the city, and risk his feelings growing stronger, or let him go, and continue his lonely existence.

One of the best parts is Taichi’s strange transformation from shy intellectual young man to completely, impolite wild man when the moon shines on him. He’s a fantastic character with almost two personalities, and a boatload of insecurities over which version of himself Tomoe likes better. It takes a very special kind of character to be jealous of himself.

This story is a very different take on vampirism, and a new but at the same time old look at werewolves. I found it interesting to see how the different circumstances of these two men’s lives changed what we would expect of them, and gave the author more scope to toss in a few extra twists. She managed to give both men flaws and also the means to ease each other’s difficulties.

What I thought was the best bit of all was the ever-changing power dynamic. Not only did she re-define vampires and werewolves for us, but she gave us a new and fresh look at what it means to be seme and uke. Nothing about these characters is cookie cutter expected, and that kept me interested in the book right to the end. Even the sex scenes are never one sided. Both characters strive to be in charge and struggle not to reveal their vulnerabilities.

The detailed art is lovely. The front colour plate is romantic and pin up worthy, as far as I’m concerned. I confess to having gone back and looked at it more than a few times.

Really, I think my biggest problem with this book is that it’s over. I loved these characters, and I had a great time watching them dance around who was leading who, who was in control, and who wanted to be lead. It was fascinating. If you’re looking for a new take on a lot of old ideas, Secret Moon is a great place to find them.

Review written April 25, 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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