Duo Brand. – DramaQueen – 2006 – 1 volume
For some reason, I was browsing the internet looking at fantasy-themed BL books one night, and randomly decided to pick up the White Guardian/Crimson Wind pair from DramaQueen. One of the major selling points is that it was written by Duo Brand., who is a popular BL author (technically plural, since Duo Brand. is a 2-person team). I haven’t tried their work yet, and I’m always up for a new favorite.
Honestly? Not my thing. Really, really not my thing. Mostly because I still cannot get past the BL rape plot element. The main character, a prince in disguise named Linth, gets himself aboard a military ship led by General Sei, a man he grew up admiring as a hero. General Sei saves his life in a very gruff way, and when Linth goes to thank him, General Sei rapes him. While Linth is threatening to turn him over to the King, Sei tells him to go ahead, he seemingly has a death wish. After the rape, Linth reveals his identity and signs Sei up to be his bodyguard, apparently because Sei’s deathwish came as a result of the corruption in the kingdom that Linth is trying to get rid of. Also, because Sei scolded him for recklessly boarding a battleship, and Linth liked that he didn’t change his attitude when he found out Linth was the prince. As if the rape was a non-issue compared to the prince being on board a battleship.
So yes, immediately after he was raped, he signs the rapist up to be his bodyguard.
Later, after we find out that Linth and Sei are now a couple, we meet Touri, a duke of the kingdom. Touri is Sei’s former lover, and after leading the prince down a deserted hallway and ripping his shirt off to reveal hickeys, Touri rapes Linth as well. Touri then drags Linth’s unconscious body over to Sei as a kind of challenge, and when Sei tries to kill Touri, Linth stops him. A few days later, after Linth has healed, he signs Touri up to be his advisor, since Touri is also very anti-corruption. Sanely, Sei objects, since Touri raped him in order to spite Sei and get him jealous, but Linth likes giving people a second chance.
So now the two men who raped the crown prince are his bodyguard and advisor, the two men closest to him.
The rest of the comic is about Sei having sex with both Touri and Linth, because he likes them both. Linth doesn’t really mind, and Touri is angry, but apparently okay with it. Sei is embarrassed that both of them know. Later, the volume goes into a plot about another kingdom invading. Before this can resolve itself, the volume ends, presumably to pick up in Crimson Wind. But the preview of Crimson Wind included with this book implies that it’s about the past of Touri and Sei, so… I don’t know? Maybe it covers both?
Aside from my problems with the rape, the story just isn’t that good. We never really find out much about the “corruption” in Landa, and neither Touri nor Sei are terribly sympathetic. Sei gets more interesting later, but I couldn’t get past his surly and violent introduction. Also, the romance between the three isn’t handled very well, so they just wind up having sex briefly a lot. The art is wonderful, though.
I’ll probably read Crimson Wind because I bought it, but… uh. This is really, really not so much for me. I actually picked up another Duo Brand work a week or so before this without realizing it was by Duo Brand, and have another one drifting at the bottom of my to read pile from forever ago. I hope that they generally write better books than this.