Devil’s Secret

Hinako Takanaga – DMP / 801 – 2008 – 1 volume

With the news that DMP is postponing their print releases until the middle of 2013, I wept copiously over the 6-month delay to the last volume of The Tyrant Falls In Love, which I’ve raved incoherently about on here many times before. To console myself, I turned to other Hinako Takanaga books. There are several more available in English, but Takanaga’s fondness for young-looking submissives and non-con make me very cranky if the wrong ratio is present. I’ve tried two of her other books and had to put them down. I’ll pick them back up eventually, but for now, this one was dialed down a bit. Plus, I really like demons. In theory, this also had all older couples in it (another preference of mine), but Takanaga draws characters to look so young that that factor is mostly negated.

This volume was… okay. Takanaga is capable of writing amazing stuff (Croquis, Little Butterfly, and Tyrant are all very good), so perhaps I’m judging this based on her other work. Maybe it’s really great, for a BL one-shot… but I thought it was only okay. The title story takes up two chapters at the beginning and one at the end. A tall blonde guy with horns and a tail washes up at a church, and both the (very young-looking) minister and the blonde guy talk themselves out of the fact that he’s a demon. Then the not-demon seduces the minister, and it’s later revealed that he’s an incubus with amnesia, to nobody’s surprise. The first chapter is more about the seduction, the second about finding out the demon is an incubus, and the third more about the demon’s brother. Lots of sex, but I didn’t wind up liking either of the main characters, and the story itself doesn’t venture outside the usual seduction territory.

“Let’s Do Something Useless!” is a one-shot story about a student teacher who is constantly pestered by one of the students, who declares himself in love. Despite the fairly straightforward story, I wound up really liking this one. The student is very honest, bubbly, and upbeat, and the student teacher fairly curmudgeon-y and straightforward with his rejections. The student teacher even denies his affection after the seduction is complete in the end. It’s the same sort of chemistry that makes Tyrant work so well, and I would have loved to see it made into a longer series.

The final story was “Before Winter Comes,” a more drama-tastic story about a couple that had graduated high school. One rejected the other, but promised to think the whole thing over and reply. After about 6 months, he realizes he’s being a jerk and tries to reply, but can’t. You know how this goes. Again, a fairly straightforward story. Sweet, but I’ve read a lot of this stuff, and it wasn’t anything special.

Mostly, it’s only okay, with one really good short story. It’s out of print, but not very expensive right now, so it might be worth picking up if you need some Takanaga to tide you over until the end of Tyrant appears. Then again, you could read Awkward Silence, which is a current SuBLime title. I’m not currently in the mood for a “shy boy with a crush” story, but I’m sure it’s probably along the same lines as Little Butterfly, which was really great.



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