Along with being completely baffled in regards to Andy's forever changing temperament and me not seeing what Kenneth saw in him, thLong story short...
Along with being completely baffled in regards to Andy's forever changing temperament and me not seeing what Kenneth saw in him, the first quarter of the book was me mostly being outraged and horrified at their handling and understanding of intimacy, relationships, and sex. By chapter four, they'd engaged in mutual masturbation, so that they could get it out of their system--in more ways than one--and friends with benefits was the order of the day. Then, two seconds before Kenneth was about to put his mouth on Andy's penis, he stops to ask him if he's clean.
I just don't know.
I get that people find different things about different people interesting to them but I seriously didn't get what Kenneth saw in Andy. He said that he was amazing, sexy, and everything he dreamed of finding in Japan, but that just sounds like a load of s***. I don't see how Andy is amazing other than the fact that his boss said that he's awesome at what he does. Sexy? Okay, well, that is subjective. And "everything he dreamed of finding in Japan." Really? I'm pretty sure all that Andy is wasn't on the short list that Kenneth detailed at the beginning of the story, but whatever.
But the thing I'm most unsure about or just sort of turned off by is the way Kenneth viewed his sexuality. First he said that Andy was "a guy worth coming out for." Whoa there, buddy. Why don't we just put on the brakes, dude? I know there are uncountable reasons for coming out, but I can't get behind coming out for someone else. Come out for yourself, on your own terms. Come out because you are ready to present yourself as who you understand yourself to be. Not because of your attachment to someone else. Well, perhaps if you're trying to be a role model for your child or something, but even then, they should also learn that people have their own timetables and that's okay.
Second, what the heck did Kenneth mean when he said that he never thought it would happen to a bi guy like him? It being falling for a man. Okay, what? That is what being bi is about. Not specifically a man, but wherever your interests happen to lie, you could possibly fall for someone who falls into those categories. I'd like to blame all of this on him being young (22) and naive, but the onus is on Fay. How does she view bi/sexuality?
Anyway, apart from dealing with whether or not Andy was hot or cold on any given day, both guys had their own side quests to complete. Kenneth is biracial with one half of his ancestry being Japanese. One of the things he wanted to do while he was in Japan was visit his paternal grandmother's family. His main hurdle here was that he wasn't quite fluent in language of the land, so he enlisted Andy to help. As for Andy, when he went back to the States during his vacation, it was to attend his ex's wedding for which he was the best man. But an email exchange between them makes it clear that they have a terrible relationship. David is even more immature than Andy. I don't know what Andy's deal is; he seems, at least in intention, perfectly fine with setting boundaries with Kenneth, but David, his ex... I don't know why he maintains a relationship with him. It would never pass for healthy. Though I don't think David cheated, the person that he married was a friend that Andy introduced David to. The story doesn't go into the particulars of that aspect of their history, but it seems like Andy got the short end of the stick regardless.
While not utterly crucial, Kenneth's side quest is a significant part of his story and one of the ways that he relates to or interacts with people. On the other hand, beyond shortening the word count, Andy's relationship with David and all the dialogue and narration that went with it, could be removed from the book and not affect anything.
As is my habit, I talked-to text this read, but eventually I reached a point at which I just stopped commenting and simply experienced the story. Once I did that--somewhere between 60%-70% of the way through--I was able to see the story beyond its flaws. I can't say that the end justified the means, but when I finally finished the story, I didn't hate it. I wanted to like it because I didn't want to dislike it. I wanted to like it because I was asked by the author to review it. But they wanted an honest review and honestly, I think the story was just OK.
Looking at it as a whole, there is definitely a story here: A pessimist with painful past meets an optimist with hope for the future and, through their bonding, the pessimist learns to trust himself again. That's essentially what the story is about. It wasn't about Andy pushing past his trauma and learning to trust Kenneth and falling in love. It was Andy learning to trust the decisions he made regardless of factors he couldn't control and learning how and when to let go. He'd already gotten past what happened, but he was still dragging it behind him. And he trusted Kenneth from day one, but he was afraid to because he didn't want to go down the road that turned him into the person we met at the beginning of the story. There is no guarantee that Kenneth won't be a jerk, and even if he becomes one, that's not Andy's problem, because Andy won't let someone else control his life anymore.
Stories are often about how people grow and change, but this story ended with them being pretty much the same as page one. It's not a bad thing at all. For me, anyway, it shows that not every person needs to change; sometimes it's really just their circumstances that need a face lift. And in this story's case that was achieved by Andy letting go and Kenneth holding on.
So, I got all of that, you know, it's a solid idea, it's just that a lot of the stuff that it took to turn that paragraph into a novel wasn't grounded enough and often didn't ring true.
I try not to take every read so seriously, but it is hard for me. It's one of the reasons I tend to bypass fluff. And because of that (and other reasons) I may not be the best person to judge some titles. However, this story does have some merit and I don't feel like I completely wasted my time reading it. I know this will hit the spot for someone less stodgy than me.
NB: I received an advanced copy of Flight Partners in exchange for an honest review. ...more
This was very cute and, as usual for Ichikawa, the pacing was perfect. The first three chapters were from Narasaki’s (megane) rather matter-of-fact anThis was very cute and, as usual for Ichikawa, the pacing was perfect. The first three chapters were from Narasaki’s (megane) rather matter-of-fact and mellow point of view. You see them go from strangers to something like friends with a few surprise kisses thrown in. Narasaki seems like he’s just along for the ride most of the time, but if he hadn’t decided on taking advantage of a few opportunities, they might not have gotten as close as they did.
I was already enjoying the story, but when it switched to Terashima’s point of view in the 4th chapter, it got even better. You get to see what he was thinking before they met and how he reacted to their first encounters in the library. And it’s just so funny and sweet how different their views were.
One of the things you don’t see in a lot of romance manga is someone talking about their “type.” I guess it’s primarily because there’s that “one true love” thing that most of them stick to. But I like the idea of characters who have a type or have dated before and it’s not an integral part of the plot. It was a brief moment in this story, but that it was there was good enough.
It would be awesome if Ichikawa got the opportunity to write more about them. Narasaki and Terashima make for a very interesting couple and they were super cute at the end, especially Terashima....more
I know war is never without its casualties, but I would have been done it Long fell.
AH!!!!! Partners for life! Sealed with a kiss! Hu Lei and Xiang LiI know war is never without its casualties, but I would have been done it Long fell.
AH!!!!! Partners for life! Sealed with a kiss! Hu Lei and Xiang Lin are killing me!
OH MY GOD! Emperor!
Again! I’m all for the heart to heart, but they are in the middle of a fight and Yan Lang is just staring in confusion.
I don’t even need my BL goggles to understand the end of the battle. All I saw was Tuo Ren and Li Fang slow dancing on the battlefield and then Yan Lang had a mild heart attack. Then Tuo Ren stood and watched as his partner seduced another man right in front of him. He decided that he didn’t mind a threesome and Yan Lang considered it for a moment, but declined when he realized who it was that he really wanted to be with. He basically told, them that he was ok with just his hand and then he got off by himself while everyone stood and watched. An exhibitionist until the very end.
I feel like I had to go there because Morimoto doesn’t want to call this BL. But it’s hard to believe that when the scene returns to Jusenkai and the returning party is greeted by Feng Yu and his shadow, the Emperor, who has his hand on Feng Yu’s waist. Not to mention everything else that has happened up to this point. Really.
The denouement was nice and touching (both in terms of my heart and the characters). The extras about the Deputy, the banquet, and Li Fang’s parents were good as well. It had its moments where I really wanted to toss a book across the room, but overall, it was a good story with a strong plot, and very likeable characters. I think I will dig into the rest of her catalogue....more
Shun is such a creep! When he revealed his secret to Xiang Lin, That scene is the equivalent to a rohypnol non-con scene. I am not amused. Morimoto caShun is such a creep! When he revealed his secret to Xiang Lin, That scene is the equivalent to a rohypnol non-con scene. I am not amused. Morimoto can slap any kind of label she wants on it, but if it walks like a duck…
WHAT! Who the heck takes a break in the middle of a fight? This isn’t the Weihnachtsfrieden! They crack me up with these pseudo-magical girl transformation trances–their enemies just stand and watch in awe.
So Wang’s previous warning to Na Sha comes to light! And Na Sha’s the idol of Jusenkai; only in the shadow of the Deputy Emperor and Feng Yu.
It hurts so much to see the agony that Li Fang is in and poor Tuo Ren is suffering because in wanting to recover him, he’s only adding to Li Fang’s pain.
I am such a fan of Long. I think I realized it in the last volume.
My goodness! The Emperor and Feng Yu; Hu Lei and Xiang Lin; and Tuo Ren and Li Fang, they’re all so grossly in love with each other–it’s embarrassing!
I love Long. Long and Wang flirting up a storm. Too bad they’re enemies. But he’s pretty sweet on the Deputy as well.
So all the injured have been tended to. Now only Tuo Ren vs. Yan Lang and Long vs. Wang has to be settled.
Once I let go of the power system, I began to enjoy the story more....more
Now the Emperor is stepping up his I love you game.
What’s going on in Hu Lei’s head? He acts like he hasn’t been traveling with Li Fang for days. DidNow the Emperor is stepping up his I love you game.
What’s going on in Hu Lei’s head? He acts like he hasn’t been traveling with Li Fang for days. Did he forget that Li Fang is generally lighthearted, but that no one should ever mistake that for being carefree? Why would he approach Li Fang like that? That really pissed me off. Also, Li Fang doesn’t need any more reasons to feel inadequate or like he isn’t pulling his weight. Xiang Lin would be so angry with him if he knew he did that, although he probably understands something about Hu Lei that would explain why he did it. When I think about it, it’s Hi Lei who isn’t taking this whole thing seriously. He’s constantly jumping ahead and having close calls that sometimes pose a threat to Xiang Lin. His enthusiasm and determination are great, but he needs to stop and think sometimes.
It’s the little things. I love that Li Fang went to Xiang Lin the next day and told him what happened. It implies a lot. And he stepped to Hu Lei to settle it in a way that would really speak to Hu Lei’s way of thinking.
So the there is only one portal entry from Earth to Jusenkai. Since that is the case, why don’t they already have some sort of capturing spell or shield to automatically apprehend anyone that comes through?They could sort out the good and the bad afterwards. A war has been on the horizon since the story started, you’d think they’d have something in place already.
The first tier rebel soldiers are idiots. All they care about is filling their kill quota so that they can be promoted. They aren’t even fighting for the actual cause. I guess it’s only right that the go in first to wear down the Imperial army by getting themselves killed.
So I know I said I should just give up on the power system, but when a character who can revoke someone’s power comes on the scene, how can I let it go by without at least a mention? And now Li Fang’s have been clarified as well and they are actually close to what I first surmised.
Hurrah for the boarding school AU!
10,000 hurrahs for Long informing Li Fang how to pay respect!...more
Did Tuo Ren seriously catch a falling boulder to keep it from landing on Li Fang? That’s just crazy! He was straining a bit, but honestly, between graDid Tuo Ren seriously catch a falling boulder to keep it from landing on Li Fang? That’s just crazy! He was straining a bit, but honestly, between gravity, momentum, and coordination, the odds were really stacked against success.
I like Li Fang. In the beginning he was a bit too cheerful for my taste, but his usual straightforwardness and swift dismissal of foolishness has endeared him to me but also kept be cracking up.
So Jing uses a cleansing flame. And Shun, a rebel, teleported in volume 3, by himself it seems, but when the group sensed Na Sha’s ki, they hand to teleport her in. So, are Shun and other rebels special in that they can do it alone or is it something else? I think I just need to give up on understanding their power/skill system; it can’t do anything but continue to frustrate me.
Tuo Ren’s parents were the absolute worse and probably deserved each other, but no child deserves to be cursed with parents like them.
With the prophecy being revealed, I wonder how much more protective Tuo Ren will be when it comes to Li Fang. It’s amazing to think that Tuo Ren still has room to grow. I’m hoping for some sort of advance in Li Fang’s abilities so that he can stop being the only one who doesn’t recognize his progress.
Even if I overlook the the undefined power aspect of this story, I can’t even will myself to do the same for these feather light BL relationships. With Tuo Ren and Li Fang professing their love every chance they get and Xiang Lin and Hu Lei constantly engaging in bickering that reads more like flirtation, it’s practically impossible. Gosh, they’re so cute!...more
**spoiler alert** Now it’s getting into the origins of the rebellion and prophecy. Shen Wu, the rebel that killed Na Sha’s partner, had a chance to ki**spoiler alert** Now it’s getting into the origins of the rebellion and prophecy. Shen Wu, the rebel that killed Na Sha’s partner, had a chance to kill Na Sha, but restored some of her energy instead and basically told her–while she was unconscious–that she didn’t know who her real enemy was. So, are we talking about a traitor in the imperial court or something bigger than all of them?
I am still confused about their powers; they’re too vague. I am enjoying the story, overall, so this vagueness isn’t ruining it, but they use them all the time and this is the third volume and it’s really no more apparent than it was in volume one. When reading something that falls under supernatural or fantasy, once you understand the world the story is set in and once you understand what the powers are, you start to set expectations for how things should play out. I can’t do that here and it’s frustrating because it’s like a whole layer of the story is, not so much missing, but it’s not pulling its own weight. If this was primarily a BL with supernatural elements, I could probably let this slide, but it is quite the opposite.
The powers are integral to the story, especially now that I’m understanding that Li Fang’s latent powers awakening will play a significant role in the prophecy, but all I really see is explosions and wind. It’s this inchoate aspect that’s keeping the volumes from scoring higher.
I think my confusion rests in the fact that it’s hard to distinguish what someone’s power is versus what techniques they’ve developed. Na Sha is all about binding people with cloth and so far, she’s the only one I’ve seen do it, so I’m fine with assigning that as one of her techniques. She also sent electricity coursing through someone. For that as well, she’s the only one I’ve seen do it. However, I’m not sure what it is. Initially I thought the cloth thing was her power, but now I realize that I made that assumption because, up to that point, Tuo Ren was the only one to completely incant the spell to send the rebels back–on the page, that is. It wasn’t until this volume that someone other than Tuo Ren said it. So this also negates my assumption about the evil/pure, light/dark aspect of his power. Well, not entirely, there’s still a chance that Tuo Ren’s power is related to light vs. dark, but I can’t base that fully on the incantation to send people back, because Na Sha says pretty much the same thing when she uses the binding while she’s sending rebels back to Jusenkai. Also, they mentioned that some people may have two powers, so it’s hard to even play process of elimination to figure out which category a defensive or offensive action falls under.
Shun, Xiang Lin’s teacher and a rebel, uses a teleportation technique. When Li Fang’s latent powers begin to awaken, he exhibits the ability to block direct attacks. He also has the power/ability to exchange energy with anyone. Xiang Lin can make perfumes out of thin air. I don’t know what’s what.
Am I going to be able to survive the elusory shounen-ai between Hu Lei and Xiang Lin? The extra story about how they met and got together doesn’t help. And then there’s Tuo Ren getting jealous of Li Fang sharing his energy with others to the point that he loses control and nearly annihilates everyone and everything.
There was one other thing that soured me on this volume in particular. Ang, another soldier, was in love with Tuo Ren, but because of the way he is and her timidity when facing him, she never said anything to him about it. However, when she sees the relationship between Tuo Ren and Li Fang she gets upset and jealous and goes on about how Tuo Ren isn’t supposed to be gentle and how she wants him to be the cold and aloof guy. Just thinking that wasn’t enough for her, so she confronted Li Fang and told him to leave Tuo Ren alone and that he wasn’t a suitable partner and so on.
I’ve never liked these scenes. She shouldn’t exact her jealousy on Li Fang; it’s her own fault that she never approached Tuo Ren. One of the reasons she’s upset is because she wanted to be “the one” who could comfort and save the hostile loner and seeing that it was Li Fang who isn’t just as tragic and also isn’t a Senkaijin (so she assumes), just kills her. She’s looking for a relationship built on codependency, which is just wrong, Then she approaches Li Fang–the person with the least amount of control over the situation–and accosts him, telling that their partnership doesn’t make sense and that she’s not going to accept it. As if it’s even her right to have any say so or her place to forgive Li Fang in the event he becomes a burden. First, she’s disregarding their situation; they are soldiers, they have duties, and one of their duties is to be partnered with someone that the imperial guard approves of. Second, she’s also dismissing Tuo Ren’s own instrumentality in the partnership. Essentially, she’s saying that Feng Yu doesn’t know what he’s doing and Tuo Ren is misguided, being taken advantage of, and that he’s a poor judge of character who can’t decide for himself what he wants. The only thing that saves this part is that it ends with Tuo Ren declaring to Ang and the others that he chose Li Fang (and that he’s madly in love with him and would even die for him–basically)....more
This volume reveals just a bit more about their powers. Nothing definitive, in my opinion, but it has brought a few things to mind. I was right aboutThis volume reveals just a bit more about their powers. Nothing definitive, in my opinion, but it has brought a few things to mind. I was right about Li Fang’s inherited power! Although it isn’t precisely what I was thinking, but it’s close enough. Then there’s Na Sha, whose incantation invokes her mastery over cloth. Also, Feng Yu can create wind and Hu Lei uses indirect contact force to interact with things–breaking rocks and tearing up the earth (haha! earthbending), so the ability to manipulate air is not particular to Tuo Ren. Now that I have more to compare it to, I see that Tuo Ren’s power is related to light and dark. After defeating the plant that Youxia led them to, Tuo Ren said that he figured that the plant’s weakness was light. Also, his incantation mentions removing the evil (dark) and revealing the pure (light). Until I see more, I’m going to stick with this conjecture.
I can already see frustration ahead. This story is more than a decade old, nearly two, so I know I’m going to encounter a lot of intimate moments that would be nicely capped off with a kiss (or more), but it’s never going to happen. For all of their hugging, I didn’t feel this pang with Tuo Ren and Li Fang, but as soon as Hu Lei and Xiang Lin came on the scene, I looked ahead to moment after unfulfilled moment. Having Hu Lei wake up in the bed with Xiang Lin and then later comforting him after he struck the doctor, such a tease. But it’s fine; I already know that I’m going to enjoy the story to some degree and for the parts I don’t, I’m pretty sure they’ll have nothing to do with the vexingly light shounen-ai aspect of the story....more
So, Li Fang says that his broken bones usually heal overnight, but this time it didn’t. Could it be that he really did exchange energy with Tou Ren anSo, Li Fang says that his broken bones usually heal overnight, but this time it didn’t. Could it be that he really did exchange energy with Tou Ren and now that he’s injured, he can’t heal like he normally does because his energy level isn’t what it usually is?
I’m going to be honest, I don’t get what their powers are. Tuo Ren sends people back to Jusenkai, but I’m assuming all of the Imperial Army can do that. He made the fierce gust wind that quelled the fire when they first found Lu in the forest, but I’m sure that’s not the extent of it. However, I think the power that was inherited by Li Fang is the power to heal in various senses of the word. The Senkaijin either leave it to time or exchange energy with each other to get back to normal, so overnight healing doesn’t appear to be a trait they all possess. Also, both Tuo Ren and Na Sha commented on how calm they felt after being around Li Fang....more
It started off with promise. A mysterious map with signs and symbols and someone chucked into what might have been a hay baler. But the tie-in to theIt started off with promise. A mysterious map with signs and symbols and someone chucked into what might have been a hay baler. But the tie-in to the four main characters was a little enh. Some decent one-liners and the story remains interesting, but I can’t say I’m too keen on the characters....more
The premise remains interesting and I’d love to see where the story goes, but there’s just too much nonsense in the way. Same as #1, there were some gThe premise remains interesting and I’d love to see where the story goes, but there’s just too much nonsense in the way. Same as #1, there were some good one-liners, but the lousy sex jokes including farm work-related puns, sex with a goat, and NAMBLA overshadowed them. The goat, which still hasn’t been explained (though I guess they do that so you will go read Armstrong and Archer’s story), had a Speak’n Spell and seemed to be accessing the internet with it. That was interesting and kind of funny, but still not enough for me to care. So I’m giving up on this is one....more
I was finally able to get this in English. Had I known it would be licensed, I would have waited, but that’s fine. It’s a great story and was worth thI was finally able to get this in English. Had I known it would be licensed, I would have waited, but that’s fine. It’s a great story and was worth the French the first time around. I made the mistake of reading it in 2009 or 2010 before it was completed. I think the final book came out much later and during the wait, I forgot about it. I was even more excited reading it in English because I didn’t have to deconstruct and reconstruct each line as I went and this time I knew I was going to actually read the ending.
The Ring is a great story about the beginnings and endings of things. Though there are seven worlds, the story’s primary focus is on Mose, the first of the seven. It starts out with a spotlight on most of the main players and then the story begins to unfold as we learn how these people are connected. There have been wars, great wars, but Mose is supposed to be in a state of relative peace at this point. So when word of enemy forces gathering begin to spread, some people’s disbelief delays action and they suffer greatly for it. Even still, the force with which the enemy attacked, they hardly stood a chance. Add to that failed treaties, old wounds, and dirty dealings, vies for power, and sinking cities and you’ve got nothing to look forward to but complete annihilation.
Before and during the battles many governments fall, some are further corrupted, and others follow their escape plan. And out of the chaos rises unlikely alliances and unlikely heros.
The story was really interesting to follow and when crux was revealed it was almost disappointing, but then quickly not. I love when an event in a story occurs and it makes you reconsider everything that has come to pass through a new lens.