A Devil and Her Love Song

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Review: The Lonely Egotist

Reviewer: Jaime Samms

Author: Hikaru Masaki
Manga-ka: Masara Minase
Publisher: June
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: March 2009

Synopsis: “Minami has gotten a hot start as a young interior designer. In fact, he’s just been chosen as the primary designer of a new luxury hotel. When Minami enthusiastically goes out to meet his client, Asakura, the hotel owner turns out to be a dazzling, sexy man. On top of that, the overwhelmed Minami finds his contract is actually for a love hotel! Seeing as how Minami lacks experience in this particular area, Asakura promises to show him the ropes. But is it really necessary to try out ALL the beds…?!”

To start off with, I have to share a bit of a personal preference. I’m not a huge fan of forced ‘seduction’. I know, it’s an often-used device in uaoi, and a legitimate plot within the genre – it’s just not one of my favourites. So, that said, now let’s now put my personal preference aside and talk about the book… it’s good.

Asakura is not just a pushy, egotistical rich brat bent of instant self-gratification- that’s just how he first appears. He’s actually a much deeper man, and his hidden vulnerabilities are what make him likeable, even though I could have really disliked the story. Those hidden depths are what Minamin finally falls for too, though he does spend a great deal of the book resisting both Asakura and his feelings for the older man.

One thing that never happens in this book – Asakura never changes his selfish, demanding ways. Minami just accepts that’s the way he is and goes from there. It’s refreshing when so often, the characters are required to transform themselves from what they are to what readers think they should be, to deserve love. I like that this book is about both characters loving and accepting each other for who they are, whether they deserve it or not. It’s a much more realistic look at what love really is.

The sex scenes in this book are frequent enough that they could have become repetitive, but the author escaped that trap by focusing on Minami’s emotional growth. It was fun to watch him evolve from inexperienced and frightened to just plain exasperated, and still, he retained enough uncertainty that Asakura never quite gets to relapse completely into selfishness. If he wants to reassure Minami that they are meant to stay together, he`s forced to be honest about his own feelings. They turn out to be a good compliment for one another.

The writing and translation of this book are pretty decent, too. I didn`t encounter that many typoes that I remember, and the prose flowed very smoothly. There was a nice amount of description, and I guess that`s a good reflection on the fact one of the characters is, essentially, an artist. It was a nice parallel.

The drawings make me happy. For starters there were plenty of them, and the character expressions, especially Minami’s, are fantastic. The detail in her work is fascinating, and makes me want to go looking for all kinds of manga from her. I hope I can find some in English! If not, I`ll have t just enjoy the pretty pictures here in The Lonely Egotist.

So, all in all, while this book pushed a certain bad personal button for me in terms of the strong aggressive behaviour of the seme, I found the uke managed to hold his own in the end, and the writing and art let me enjoy it well enough anyway. At the very least if the idea of forced seduction is one that works for you, then I whole-heartedly recommend this book.

Review written April 22, 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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One Response

  1. JRB says:

    “The detail in her work is fascinating, and makes me want to go looking for all kinds of manga from her. I hope I can find some in English!”

    Masara Minase has two books in English, Empty Heart and Lies & Kisses, both from currently-struggling DramaQueen and therefore somewhat hard to find. (Personally, I think Lies & Kisses is better, but Empty Heart was pretty good.) You might be able to get them directly from DramaQueen or from Akadot; if not, you may have to hunt down used copies.

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