- Paperback: 250 pages
- Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing (May 27, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1569707340
- ISBN-13: 978-1569707340
- Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.7 x 6.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,679,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Better Than A Dream (Yaoi Novel) Paperback – May 27, 2008
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He plods on in his daily life, opening the café, serving customers, and looking at Tsukada's beloved mountain. Former schoolmate Shin comes by everyday to keep him company, and to share a drink, often spending the night. Yuuki can't even drink however, as his depression has him so keyed up that drinking before bed makes his sleep worse, and he can't get a decent night's rest without sleeping pills any more anyway. Into this walks a mysterious, scruffy stranger. He walks into the café, orders one of everything on the menu, and then critiques the food. Yuuki is surprised at the scruffy man's actions, though intrigued. He's tall, athletically built, but walks with a pronounced limp. And then there is the strangely nostalgic ruck sack he carries...it is exactly like the one Tsukada carried. The stranger turns out to be named Kamishiro, and he has come to take the position Yuuki has advertised out front. Yuuki was hiring someone to mind the tables, but this guy turns out to be a five star chef, and he is intending to work in the kitchen. Telling Yuuki that he'll work for the small salary plus room and board, he demonstrates he can cook foods that the locals will be happy to eat. With no reason to say no, Yuuki accepts, to Shin's dismay. There is something about himself Kamishiro is not saying, and when added to the fact that he is a lot like Tsukada, Shin realises this could change things for Yuuki, and not necessarily for the better. Just what secrets is Kamishiro hiding, and what made him come seeking the small café known as Fuuka?
I quite enjoyed the gentle melancholy pace of this tale. A lot of ground actually gets covered in the 200 odd pages, touching on topics such as the rights of gay couples, to how one deals with grief and moves on. With relationships built on mutual attraction, deep affection, and feelings of tenderness, this is one of the few Boy's Love stories that I can see really fits firmly into the romance category. It is quite simply NOT about the sex, though we do get some of that. Instead, Sakuragi delves deeply into the emotional and psychological aspects of love and so hands us a beautiful portrait painted in muted colours. The depiction of the emotional watershed moment for Yuuki is as manic as it should be, and while the lovemaking scene after it is so frenetic as to be almost comical, it strikes a chord with those who have experienced deep loss as to the extremes one can go while dealing with the well of buried emotions that come erupting forth, perhaps inappropriately. Yuuki has trust issues in general, and when you understand how he was dealt with by Tsukada's family the day of his death and afterwards, it is no wonder. Toss in the feelings of abandonment suffered by those who are left behind as part and parcel of their survivor's guilt given circumstances like those, and one fairly wants to weep with compassion for the friends and family left affected by the tragedy one year ago.
The cover alone wanted to make me read this, though I have to admit from the cover one would expect a plethora of steamy romps through the kitchen and bedroom from that image. Which, of course, is NOT what one gets, though once read, the cover is seen from a different perspective, and yet, remains appropriate. The book's illustrations are just as gorgeously rendered by the artist, Katsumi Asanami. They have a feeling of delicacy about them that almost belies the utter realism of the backgrounds and facial expressions. There are not a great many pictures, but what is there adds much to the story and it would be a poorer book without them.
Rated at an 18+ due to mature themes and depictions of sexual situations, this is available as a paperback from most manga outlets and as well as a Kindle edition to own via Amazon. This title can also be rented short term by persons of age over at the publisher's online reading service, Emanga.com,so you can try before you buy,and also where you can also read a sample for free before buying. I'd like to thank Digital Manga for providing me with my review copy.
As for the 3 characters, Yuuki, Kamishiro and Shin, each of them is distinct and well developed despite this being a slim 250 pages Yaoi novel. Theirs is a love triangle revolving around the cafe/house owner, Yuuki. The mangaka has done a remarkable job dwelling into Yuuki's emotional pain. Yuuki could not move on as he could not let his dead lover, Tsukada, go. He could not bring himself to accept Shin's love. Shin is Yuuki's close friend and has been a pillar for Yuuki since Tsukada died. Then one day out of the blues, a rugged man with a limp appears. He is Kamishiro with a mysterious background. Kamishiro is also a chef by trade and more or less forced Yuuki to hire him. Thereon, it is one emotional ride for the 3 guys as they try to sort out their feelings, more so for Yuuki who is forced to confront his pain and feelings. I really enjoy this one and finished it in one sitting. The sex scenes are well done too and the graphics interspersed among the pages are lovely. As commented by one reviewer, both Yuuki and Kamishiro are not your typical uke and seme. Yuuki is strong in his own way and a pretty aggressive sexual partner. Kamishiro is special in his silence and I wish the mangaka has written the story from his view point too as I would love to read how his feelings for Yuuki grows.
This is one emotionally driven love story, with angst filled and touching moments. One could easily forgive the publisher for some typos. Strongly recommended for Yaoi and M/M romance fans.