Author/Manga-ka: Narise Konohara
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.