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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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05/18/2008 Archived Entry: "Yaoi Novel Review: Immoral Darkness"

Immoral Darkness
Story by: Miyu Matsuda
Illustrated by: Yukariko Jissohji
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1-56970-713-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-713-5

Review by Kris

We all know what it's like to be lonely, right? I know I do. The blurb on the back has a pretty good description. It goes as follows:

"Beautiful, cool, Shiina Jun has always been admired by the women around him. But he would give up their admiration for just one ounce of affection from his family, or a chance at true love from anyone who could save him from the dark loneliness he's lived in for so long.

His teacher, Sasagawa Tetsuya, wants to be his savior. But is Sasagawa offering a way out, or pushing Shiina deeper into darkness? Can Shiina trust his heart to a man who forces himself on him?

Masterfully crafted by Miyu Matsuda, this story of a forbidden, passionate, love between a student and his teacher is definitely must-read! Are the two willing to overcome all obstacles to get what they truly want in life?"

Shiina has been blessed (or cursed) by extremely good looks. Girls fawn all over him. But Shiina acts aloof because he prefers to keep everyone at a distance. He has trust issues. His family life sucks. His parents ignore him and his younger brother thinks that he's the bees knees. There isn't anyone that he's drawn to. Yet he's intrigued by his math teacher. Sasagawa has a tough exterior and wears a dirty lab coat. Shiina also is carrying on an affair with an older woman. He chooses to sleep with her for cash.

One day while waiting for the train at the train station after meeting with his sugar mama, he is hassled by a couple of punks. They try shaking him down for cash but are stopped by some tough dude that he caught sight of earlier. The guy turns out to be Sasagawa and gives Shiina the excuse that teachers from the area take turns keeping the peace at the train station by scaring away bullies. Things progress to the point where Sasagawa rapes poor Shiina in a dark, dank, out of the way men's room. Yeah, that's the way to win the heart of your beloved, rape in a disgusting place.

Shiina the next day doesn't know how to handle being around Sasagawa because of the situation in the men's room. Sasagawa says that he knows what's going on and can save him from the sadness and darkness. Because of what happened the night before Shiina let's Sasagawa know that he has no intention of turning to him if he is in need of help. Shiina would prefer to just suffer in silence. Soon, Shiina is in need of some help when he is locked out of his house due to the rest of his family going to go visit his grandparents. Shiina, with no place to go and hardly any money decides to turn to his homeroom teacher for help. Nakahara-sensei offers as much help as he can. They get a hold of Shiina's mom and find out that they will be gone for a week. Because Nakahara's wife is about to give birth any time now he isn't able to promise too much. Luckily, earlier in the day Shiina had gotten a job and now has a better outlook on things.

A few days after the crazy incident with being locked out, Nakahara's wife goes into labor. Because Shiina's family is still out of town Nakahara entrusts Shiina to last person he wants to see, Sasagawa. Nakahara doesn't know what has happened between Sasagawa and Shiina and doesn't see a problem. You can see where this is going! Will Shiina go with Sasagawa? Will they work things out? Pick up a copy of Immoral Darkness to find out!

A common premise in yaoi is that the relationship between our two leading men starts with rape and then the victim ends up falling in love with the attacker. I have a hard time with reading it in either manga or novel form. For some reason for me, though, it's harder to read in novel format. The basis for the story is not new to yaoi either. The forbidden teacher/student relationship is a constant and can get boring. For the most part it wasn't too bad of a story, but I did have a few issues with the ending. I would have done things a little differently, but I didn't write it, so beggars can't be choosers. Do I recommend it? Hmmm... I don't like to discourage people to not read something because we all have different tastes and I'm sure others will think that the book couldn't have ended any other way. I say the discretion is yours and you make up your mind whether you like it and recommend it. I'm pretty indifferent.

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