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Review: Cold Light

Reviewer: Jaime Samms
Cold Light

Author/Manga-ka: Narise Konohara
Publisher: June
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: August 2010

Synopsis: “Fujishima’s wound he suffered from protecting Tooru has healed and he’s finally been released from the hospital. Their life together starts again once more. Tooru wants them to live together as lovers, but Fujishima refuses, saying “I have no intentions of loving you.” Is Fujishima afraid of Tooru remembering something in particular if he regains his memories? The bonds of the past are finally becoming clearer…”

Konohara has taken a lot of chances in this second book of the Cold Sleep series. She might easily have stepped over a line with her character, Fujishima. This book is written entirely from his point of view, detailing his past and how he knows Tohru. There are not many pleasant memories in this poor man’s past, let me tell you. He is deprived of a father’s love, smothered in reprehensible and down right abusive ways by his overbearing and frightening mother, and reviled by Tohru for things he did that he shouldn’t have.

All Konohara has is the long forgotten love of a small boy to remind him that good can happen, and that he can’t just give up. In his adult life, however, he’s kept so many secrets and is plagued by so much guilt, it’s a wonder he’s as stable as he is. His one grace, as he sees it, is his care of the man he wishes he hadn’t hurt, and the love he has for him that he doesn’t dare express.

I can understand his wish that Tohru never remember his past, and his fear that once the man does, he’ll want nothing more to do with his benefactor. That leaves Fujishima with a dilemma: continue to lie and keep secrets and deny them both a love that might actually heal them, or tell the whole truth and risk his heart breaking forever.

This is more a story about a man finding the will and the strength to forgive and redeem himself than it is a love story. It’s very, very powerful, and in the end, it’s a lot like real life. There are no guarantees. One can only do one’s best and hope for a happy, beneficial conclusion. Some people might be disappointed with this ending, but for me, it was satisfying, because it didn’t contrive to make everything okay. It told the truth, which, really, is what this story is all about in first place.

The illustrations, for my taste, were too few and too far between, but that could be because I craved a bit of something at times, to break up the angst and sadness of poor Fujishima’s life. Plus, Konohara does very nice work, and like in book one, she picked moments to illustrate that obviously meant something to her. It also gave us a bit of insight into some of the characters that shaped this man’s life but maybe didn’t get as much page time as she might have wanted. Very nice, indeed.

So while it was hard to read in places, I’m very, very glad I did, because I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. Cold Light is definitely worth reading for anyone who craves a little more than fluff to go with those pretty boys.

Review written October 12, 2010 by Jaime Samms
Digital copy provided by eManga 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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6 Responses

  1. judi(togainunochi) says:

    I had identical reactions to Cold Light. There were some points were I had to put it down especially concerning the mother. I can honestly say I was fearful at some points. This was a much better novel than the is first because it felt more realist to me. I'm glad I bought it for that reason.

    This was a very good review, imo. Thank you.

  2. Tame Adams says:

    thank you for the excellent review :) I read Cold Sleep, and really liked it, but yes, I had to put it down in spots due to the intensity of the subject matter, so this gives me encouragement to continue on with the series!


  3. Jaime Samms says:

    Hi, Judi;

    Yeah, tough to read in places, wasn't it? But worth it in the end because it does deal with tough subject matter and it does look at it all in a pretty cold light, but without losing teh warmth of the character's intentions and love for his partner.

  4. Jaime Samms says:

    Tame, if there are any more books in this series, I will defineitly be picking them up. This was a very good story. Do finish the book. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  5. JRB says:

    "Some people might be disappointed with this ending, but for me, it was satisfying, because it didn’t contrive to make everything okay."

    V3 (Cold Fever) is scheduled for December, and I'd bet a dollar on a happy ending coming out somehow. The market for downer endings is very, very slim…

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