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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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11/02/2008 Entry: "Yaoi Novel Review: The Guilty vol. 1: Verdict"

The Guilty vol. 1: Verdict
Story by: Katsura Izumi
Illustrated by: Hinako Takanaga
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1-56970-614-x
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-614-5

Review by Kris

Toya Sakurai is content with his life. He has a beautiful fiancée and a highly coveted job with a publishing company. He is happy with the way his life has turned out so far. Yet, he seems to be far more passionate than he is even aware of. He has recently been transferred to the mysteries division, which he is ecstatic about. He specifically took the job with the publisher who worked with famed mystery author Kai Hodaka. He has loved reading books written by Hodaka and would love to be able to read his work before anyone else.

Hodaka won a prestigious award and to celebrate the publisher is throwing a party in his honor. Toya is so excited to possibly have the honor of meeting the author he has idolized for years. After an embarrassing run in with Hodaka at the party Toya feels he is doomed for eternity in the eyes of his hero. The next day at work he is in for a surprise. It looks as though he made a memorable impression on Hodaka, and they are assigning Toya to be his editor. He is known to be a bit tough on editors, but Toya is a professional and will do all he can to please both the company and Hodaka.

Toya didn't know what to expect from Hodaka the person. All he had to lean on in regards to his personality was what he heard from coworkers to the tabloids. None of it was positive, but the person he met at the party seemed to be personable and approachable. That’s what he believed. But as time goes by he sees another side to Hodaka and none of it is pleasant. Soon Toya is to give sexual favors just to get the manuscript. What on Earth has he gotten himself into?

I don't know if I liked this book or not. I did find myself drawn into the story and couldn't put it down. Whether it was out of morbid fascination or if I liked the book, I'm still trying to figure it out. I have always struggled with the forcing yourself upon someone and then the one being forced falling in love with the forcer. That's how it all starts. Yes, Toya did agree to the sex out of desperation, but who bets sex in the first place. In one way I did find it heartbreaking for Toya's fiancée. She saw that work was taking an extreme toll him, yet he chose not to confide in her. Then he was a bit callous when he broke it off with her. I think things could have been handled better in regards to that part of the story. One thing I can tell you that I did like about this book is Hinako Takanaga-sensei's art. I've only read Little Butterfly (a manga series, also published by Juné). Little Butterfly has more of a cutesy look to it, but there's no cutesy here. It is all very, very sexy. Although, now that I think of it, we are dealing with adults in The Guilty and we were dealing with high school students in Little Butterfly. Regardless, the art is very well done and it does compliment the story.

This is a series of books written by Katsura Izumi-sensei. I know of at least three, but if there are more I couldn't tell you. I'll probably have to read it through again to make up my mind on whether I really like this book or not, but that is part of the fun of reading. This is probably a book that you'll have to decide on your own if you want to read it. Because I'm still trying to decide whether I like it or not!

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