Gentle Cage

January 11, 2012

You Shiizaki – June – 2008 – 1 volume
this is a novel

Another June BL novel. I have… maybe one more I haven’t talked about yet, aside from the second half of Ai no Kusabi. I’m just trying to clear off my plate. Actually, I have a mountain of BL books I need to talk about, but I’ll start by clearing the novels off my to-be-reviewed stack.

The premise here is that Itsuki is sent by his employer to convince Tokiwa, a reclusive sculptor, to come speak to his boss, who is himself an aging sculptor with an opposite aesthetic. Tokiwa scoffs at Itsuki initially and sends him away. While trying to figure out the best way to convince him, however, Itsuki slips and falls into a creek, breaking both of his ankles, and is saved by Tokiwa. Worse still, there’s a blizzard, and Tokiwa lives on the top of a mountain, so Itsuki is stuck with two broken legs at the top of a mountain in the middle of a blizzard with Tokiwa. I’ll give you one guess as to what happens. Yeah, I couldn’t figure out how that would work with broken legs, either.

To be fair, the sexual relationship actually progresses rather slowly. Tokiwa and Itsuki seem to know each other from the past, and initially it sounds like they were artists in the same studio where Itsuki is employed. But that’s not the case, and part of the fun is the way the book goes about slowly revealing the connection between the two, and precisely what is up between Itsuki and his employer. At first, Tokiwa seems to hate having Itsuki in the same house, though he dotes and takes care of him, but he slowly softens up and Itsuki begins feeling more like himself the more time they spend together. Tokiwa occasionally slides into asshole seme patterns (the two broken legs makes Itsuki a textbook helpless uke, too), and there are some parts that don’t quite make sense, even after their past is explained, but for the most part, the mystery behind their relationship makes this an interesting read. There’s also a transformation element to Itsuki’s character that makes the story more interesting, too.

There are some logical fallacies, too. The sculptor that Itsuki works for… his restrictions are plot devices that explain why Itsuki and Tokiwa can’t be together, but his employment rules and relationship with Itsuki just… do not make sense in any context. It also doesn’t really make sense that Tokiwa would take Itsuki back after what he does to him. Twice. There were a few other head-scratching plot points, too (Itsuki’s sister leaves him is another good one), but… I mean, I didn’t go into this thinking it was a great work of literature.

I got what I came for, a good romance about artists. It’s not the most romantic, nor the best of the novels I’ve read from June, but it was a satisfying and unlooked-for read (I accidentally ordered this instead of Caged Slave). As per usual, if you read the plot summary and it sounds like it will appeal to you, odds are it will, provided you’re familiar with the genre quirks of BL.

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