Wow… where to start with this one. First off let me start by saying that I was asked to review this novel by the author and given a free copy of the eBook (it is also available as a hard copy book as well). I jumped right into the 117 page story (it is a novella so shorter than a full novel but longer than a short story) and finished it off in one day. The eBook copy I had was full 8.5” x 11” size and, like Sleight of Hand, contained no illustrations other than the cover.
The story itself is best described as a psychological thriller with some twincest thrown in for good measure. The author, Silapa Jarun, has clearly done her homework when it comes to this historical novel. The main characters are the two twin samurai, Aki and Akeno, and a brother and sister duo who take them into their home upon their arriving separately in the U.S. (ironically enough, they come to Wisconsin upon their arrival, my home state and current resident). The story deals with a few different intertwining issues: Aki and Akeno dealing with their feelings for one another as well as the push and pull of what it means to be a twin; the ongoing research into trying to find a cure for the plague that haunts the residents of the area as well as the sister, Klara; and the secrets Klara and her brother Konrad keep hidden from all around them.
This is not a light read and if you are looking for a fluffy yaoi novel, you will need to look elsewhere. If you are looking for an incredibly good novel, well researched, that will keep you guessing right until the end, this is it. Of all the novels I have read, the psychological games in this one kept me on edge right until the end. Just when I thought I had everything figured out, yet another twist would present itself that fit so perfectly into the story. All of the stray strands of the plot tied themselves so perfectly together in the last ten or so pages that I am still baffled as to how Ms. Jarun pulled it all together without leaving any unanswered questions. This is not your typical happily ever after story but I was very satisfied with how it ended. I can’t really reveal any more than that without ruining the story.
The sex scenes between the twins, although only a few, were described in a way that pulled you into the deep emotions one would image twin brothers in love would have. You could almost taste their desire to consume one another while having to deal with outside influences that threatened their very existence. More sex scenes would have been even better but knowing the full story, I would rather it remain the same if it meant compromising the flow of the story. This is one story where plot wins out over sex for me (what!?!?).
As far as the other aspect of the book itself, there were a few things that I think could use improvement. I’m not a fan of the cover itself; I think if it were redone it would probably pull in more readers. The one other thing is that I would suggest the author have another editor take a read through. There were a few typos and a few scene changes that I think need to be looked into. Considering how well put together this story is, I don’t think either of these things warrants not reading the book. They were really the only two things that I found fault with in an absolutely wonderful read. If you are hesitant to invest in the hard copy then for a mere $3.24 you can get the eBook in PDF format. Either way, this is just one story I feel those looking for substance must read.
Plot = A+
Characters = A+
Sex Scenes = A-
Cover Art/Editing = B+
Overall Grade = A
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