You completely feel for Shiki, whose husbands have walked out on him with no warning. He is so heartbroken and devastated you want to reach in and give him a hug. Shiki feels total despair and such a total failure that he believes the only thing that will take away his pain is his death.
Knowing that their children are safe with his family, Shiki decides to go to the one place that he knows will end with his death….. but what he hadn’t bargained on was Ganz. Ganz steps in to stop his being killed, and obviously Shiki is not very happy about this.
Although he is badly hurt, Shiki is slow at healing and it is at this point that Ganz makes a deal with him – to stay with Ganz for two months and allow his body and soul to heal, and if at the end of this time Shiki still wants to die, then Ganz will not stop him. Shiki agrees to this, and his body begins to heal more rapidly, and once he had begun to heal he started taking in more of his surroundings, and Ganz began spending more time with him and the two of them became close friends.
However, he has avoided all contact with his family and his best friend from childhood Blake – but what he doesn’t know is that Ganz has been keeping his family and Blake informed of his progress. Shiki is not happy to hear this, and even when Ganz hands his a phone and tells him to contact his family and Blake, he hides the phone away and doesn’t call.
When the time of their deal is over, Shiki decides that he doesn’t want to die, but asks Ganz if he can say longer, as he is not ready to yet face his family or more importantly Blake. Ganz agrees straight away, but when questioned tells Shiki that he thought he was going to ask to die…..
Shiki finally plucks up the courage to ring the one person he has been avoiding at all costs – Blake, and then we are taken on the journey of Blake and Shiki being best friends, but then it changes to one of lovers…. and wow did we take a journey then, especially as it was not a meet and then jump straight into bed scenario.
I totally loved how the author wrote the change from best friends to that of lovers, how these two men complimented each other - where Shiki was rather impulsive Blake on the other hand came across as being more down to earth. To me it seemed like they were both afraid of acting of the new feelings that were inside them, mostly for fear of losing a precious friendship, but when they finally became lovers, they seemed to grow even closer than they were, but never taking the other for granted.
This is book 1 of this series, and I for one cannot wait for book 2 to be released. I was totally hooked from the start of this book, and could not put it down (well I had to as I had to run errands, but picked it up on my return!!). This book was so full of emotion, the author got this across in a way that it was as if you could feel it coming out of the book.
They quickly figured out that too many of them meant too wide of a circle and they could not approach without poking each other’s eyes out, so they switched to attacking two or three at a time. I smirked and continued moving at the same pace, attacking just when they were counting on a defensive move, trimming down their numbers. Swordplay wasn’t something anyone but the Japanese practiced much these days. Everyone focused on close combat and making do with whatever they found nearby. That was a great strategy for times when you were surprised and needed to be confident in your victory. I supposed one wolf mocking your rules qualified for that, unless said wolf was me.
The last group approached, anger and murderous thoughts making their eyes burn. They had seen their pack-mates fall and I knew they wanted to tear me to pieces. They were going to do just that eventually, but I wasn’t planning on making it any easier for them. I wasn’t looking for an easy out. What I wanted was one last stand, one more chance to be the samurai I’d always seen myself as. Fight many, die with honor. Like my parents had done before me, I wanted to find my death on the battlefield. Sure, they hadn’t gone looking for their untimely demise, but then again, they’d been together until the moment they died. They’d only thought they’d have to face the world without the other and did the craziest things they could in that short amount of time.
As the last one got wounded badly enough to cease the fight, I placed each blade on one side and sat on the ground, my legs crossed in front of me. I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, clearing my mind of the battle I had just survived and focusing on the next one. The second wave was getting closer, I felt it, and that some of them had already started shifting to their human forms, trying to find the best potential weapons, just like their tribe mates before them.
Not all the wolves that had been in the first attack had died. Some were just wounded and I saw them crawling away, dragging their bodies over the unfriendly terrain and away from me. If they had any brains, they’d use whatever energy they had to shift. It would still hurt like a bitch, but the wounds would heal faster. They might even get their chance at revenge before the fight was over.
Being an otaku is pretty much being the Japanese version of a geek or nerd. You know, video games, animations, comic books, everything tech. Plus amazing cosplay in some cases. Now, a lot of otakus are,
just like the nerds, thought to be unattractive and uninteresting. Well, here comes my Shiki, who’s strong, sexy, and heavily into the Visual Kei look. Visual Kei, if you are not a Japanese music fan, usually
entails a lot of makeup and a lot of crazy outfits. Just watch a few Gackt videos (that Japanese rock idol is the physical and sometimes behavioral inspiration for Shiki) and you’ll get what I mean.
There were a few reasons why I wanted to make sure Shiki was into anime and video games and a voracious reader of manga. First off, I think all those are cool, I grew up with Japanese animations, so
why not have character share my passion? It’s the best way to point the world in the right direction.
Secondly, I loved to break him out of the usual otaku perception, and make him act and look so far from a true nerd, it would make everyone question their assumptions. Labels, of all kinds, are sometimes annoying and I love to mess them up. Thirdly, Visual Kei is way too awesome to be ignored and I think men that wear heels and make up and tight leather pants are freaking amazing!
I had to make sure Shiki went back to his passions throughout the book, hence his stroll through Akihabara, how he catches up with video games and anime when he gets back from Ganzorig’s territory,
and how a cosplayer triggers memories of his former mates. It couldn’t be just me saying he loves that stuff, it had to be present throughout. Cause any real otaku would make damn sure they caught up with episodes they’d missed! Heck, I sometimes spend months waiting for a new chapter in a manga serial I am reading :D
I spent a lot of time thinking of how to treat the androgynity issue, but I decided not to go into very detailed descriptions of my characters. Yet, in how I made Shiki act, and speak, I wanted him to be as alpha as he could be, yet still wear makeup. If you’ve seen pictures of Gackt, you know he’s quite androgynous, but hearing him speak or seeing him train (he’s also a martial artist), there’s no doubt about how masculine he comes across. So I used that as inspiration, and hope that Shiki managed to reflect most of it.
In the end, he’s just endearing as hell when he’s too busy playing video games or watching anime to take care of important tribe business. And I think at times we should all celebrate the slacker in ourselves!