Dear Ms. Sheridan and Ms. Cain:
Jayne and I decided to both read your book and then get together and chat about it. The end of the chat is spoiler heavy so we’ve encased the end part in spoiler quotes. For those who read the news feed, please beware that this is a spoiler filled post. On to the discussion:
[14:04] Jayne: wow, that was so totally different from what I was expecting
[14:04] Jane: You must not have read the blurb
[14:04] Jayne: no, I didn’t
[14:05] Jayne: I wanted to be fresh and spontaneous
[14:05] Jayne: not tied down by preconceptions
[14:05] Jane: It did say that there was a dangerous stranger that would come between the two young men.
[14:05] Jane: I was a bit surprised at the stranger’s identity.
[14:05] Jayne: how so?
[14:06] Jane: Because I thought it was a dangerous man in that it merely threatened the relationship not in way that would threaten their entire existence and way of life.
[14:06] Jayne: yeah, Kiyoshi was such a wimp
[14:06] Jayne: in the beginning
[14:06] Jane: Very.
[14:06] Jane: and not just phyisically.
[14:06] Jayne: Liu always did go for what he wanted.
[14:07] Jane: That’s true. He stated in character for the entire book.
[14:07] Jayne: even when Kiyoshi is burning up with fever, Liu is still stroking him and getting what he(Liu) wants
[14:07] Jayne: Kiyoshi doesn’t want to suck and swallow but does it because Liu wants him too
[14:07] Jane: Hey, what’s a little fever when you have a boner. Besides I read somewhere that sex was good for a person when they weren’t feeling well.
[14:08] Jayne: LOL, maybe I should tell our nurses that
[14:08] Jayne: new age medicine
[14:08] Jayne: it is supposed to induce labor
[14:08] Jane: Gives a whole new meaning to bedside manner, then. But back to the book, I would say that the strength of purpose shown in Kiyoshi later in the story wasn’t consistent with the Kiyoshi portrayed in the major part of the tale.
[14:09] Jayne: no, Kiyoshi did get stronger from Kuro’s blood
[14:10] Jane: I agree that he got physically stronger but why would he get emotionally stronger.
[14:10] Jayne: especially since he was always a pansy and willing to let Liu take his punishments
[14:10] Jane: Speaking of names, I was confused about the character’s names in the beginning.
[14:11] Jayne: and all those little endearments and honorifics….
[14:11] Jayne: Gee Gee and dai dai
[14:11] Jane: It was nice of the authors to make the effort of introducing us to the culture in that way, but I think a short story there isn’t enough space for the reader to become acclimated to the differing names.
[14:12] Jayne: I was stumbling the first few pages trying to keep up with names and nicknames and item names
[14:12] Jane: I had to read the first chapter twice and mentally jot down who was who.
[14:13] Jayne: the authors do a lot of head hopping
[14:13] Jayne: I could usually keep up with who was who but readers do have to keep thinking the whole time
[14:13] Jane: I am nodding my head here. With the number of name changes, that became a challenge.
[14:14] Jayne: and all for just 3 main characters
[14:14] Jane: I feel like an ignorant schmuck complaining about this, particular when those name changes probably added a lot of authenticity (which we often complain about), but it was distracting and unnecessary.
[14:14] Jayne: did the different names have some meaning? why would the authors throw in so many?
[14:15] Jayne: and why make Liu half Chinese?
[14:15] Jane: I was uncertain about that aspect too. It was too many details for such a short book.
[14:15] Jane: Words cannot be wasted in a short story.
[14:15] Jayne: Kiyoshi’s mother could have hated him anyway without all that distraction
[14:15] Jane: Yes, and the hate of Kiyoshi’s mother, frankly, didn’t help in advancing the story much.
[14:16] Jayne: why bother with her at all?
[14:17] Jane: Was it Kiyoshi’s mother or Liu’s mother? I think it was Liu, wasn’t it? Because later he adopts the name that reflects part of his Chinese heritage?
[14:18] Jayne: Liu’s mother was Chinese. But why mention either mother?
[14:18] Jayne: did either mother help the story?
[14:18] Jane: No, neither mother helped the story and the name changes were unnecessary.
[14:19] Jane: But putting those issues aside (and setting aside the ending for a moment), what did you think of the tale?
[14:20] Jayne: very dark, very violent. it reminded me of your review for the recent vampire book when you said that it went back to vampires being evil and vicious not the defanged creatures we’ve been getting lately who just almost can’t bring themselves to drink blood
[14:20] Jane: I thought of the Armintrout book too. I appreciate having the variety – the dark and terrible vampires v. the warm and cuddly vampires.
[14:20] Jayne: “Ohh, blood! Oh, I can’t bear it.”
[14:21] Jane: I also thought that the sex was integral with the plot. It seemed to me that you couldn’t separate the violence and the sex.
[14:22] Jayne: There is one point near the end when Kuro and Liu stumble out of a building and the authors mention that they had gorged themselves on blood and sex
[14:22] Jayne: the vampires, not the authors–> end spoiler
[14:22] Jayne: I agree that those parts are integral
[14:23] Jane: Right. Who knows about the authors. But the storyline really had an undertone of awful suspense and once engaged, I thought it was very interesting. I really couldn’t wait to see what happened.
[14:23] Jayne: I did read it quickly in one setting.
[14:25] Jane: What was so disappointing was the fact that there was no payoff for me at the end. The story ended abruptly. In fact, when I scrolled to the next page and it said “Epilogue” I was afraid that I had skipped some pages or my ebook download was corrupted!
[14:26] Jayne: me too. I really expected that somehow Liu and Kiyoshi would end up together. I mean, Liu didn’t cut Kiyoshi’s head off so I was thinking that he would somehow ditch Kuro or kill him and go back to find Kiyoshi –> end spoiler
[14:26] Jane: Not only was the ending abrupt but it was unresolved.
[14:27] Jayne: is it marketed as a gay romance?
[14:27] Jane: I don’t know. I would have to go look
[14:27] Jayne: or gay vampire tale
[14:27] Jayne: I did feel cheated if it’s supposed to be a romance
[14:27] Jane: A Historical/Erotica – Yaoi, Gay, Vampire
[14:27] Jane: I wonder what Yaoi is.
[14:27] Jayne: ah, so no guaranteed HEA then
[14:28] Jane: no, I didn’t mind the lack of HEA but I did mind that there was no resolution to the story.
[14:28] Jane: I mean, ultimately, shouldn’t there have been some mention as to what the other two vampires where doing?
[14:28] Jane: Why the viewpoint from just Kiyoshi?
[14:29] Jayne: what happens to Liu and Kuro? they just wander off to slaughter more of Japan and we never learn what happens to them?
[14:29] Jayne: oops, you already said that
[14:29] Jane: LOL
[14:29] Jane: yes, that was exactly my problem.
[14:29] Jayne: I guess since there are still people in Japan 200 years later, Liu and Kuro haven’t killed everyone
[14:30] Jane: What was the point of that?
[14:30] Jane: It’s like the whole bad mothers issue. Brought up but not dealt with.–> end spoiler
[14:30] Jayne: is this some Japanese viewpoint?
[14:30] Jane: Maybe I should google Yaio
[14:30] Jane: unresolved dangling plot threads are a Japanese product?
[14:30] Jayne: is it something we would know if we knew what Yaio was?
[14:31] Jane: Here’s a link to the wikipedia definition:
[14:31] Jayne: is this a literary form?
[14:32] Jane: It is a literary art form but I dont think it means that you write books with unresolved endings. Maybe we should consult with our resident Manga expert.
[14:32] Jayne: yes! good idea
[14:33] Jane: It does say this “Yaoi is often thought of as less “story-based” than heterosexual hentai manga or anime; as there are often pairings between mortal enimes or rivals.”
[14:33] Jayne: and why pick Kiyoshi’s viewpoint? and not the other two if you’re only going to do one
[14:33] Jane: Exactly.
[14:33] Jayne: Kiyoshi is such a pansy
[14:34] Jane: It should have been from Liu’s perspective, imo, giving us a vague hint that Kiyoshi may have survived and that is how he lives with no regrets.
[14:34] Jayne: was Kiyoshi inherently “good” and half Chinese Liu “bad”?
[14:34] Jayne: is that how Kiyoshi resisted Kuro?
[14:35] Jayne: power corrupts. Liu wants power so he’s corrupted totally by Kuro?
[14:36] Jane: Maybe they were being philosophical, but if you are writing to an American audience, shouldn’t you make the story more accessible.
[14:37] Jayne: or at least give it a damn ending
[14:37] Jayne: we stupid Americans don’t like to have to think
[14:37] Jane: Yes, instead of making us google things to figure out whether this is some literature form popular in Japan akin to the haiku or iambic pentameter.
[14:37] Jayne: we want it all in 10 foot high letters
[14:38] Jane: Maybe they could have included subtitles.
Story without end
It sucks if one is confused
So don’t you do it
[14:39] Jayne: ok my haiku needs a little work but the thought is there
[14:39] Jane: LOL
[14:39] Jane: maybe you should try a limerick
There once was a boy named K
Who had thing for Liu in the hay.
They drank some blood, killed some folk
and then Liu ran away.
[14:40] Jayne: fab dahling–> end spoiler
[14:41] Jane: okay, ending on our poor poetry attempts, what grade would you give it and would you try this type of book again (minus the sucky ending of course).
[14:42] Jayne: hmmmm I’d give it a C- at best. too many confusing names. too much space wasted on the mothers, and the SUCKY end
[14:42] Jayne: it was atmospheric
[14:42] Jayne: and the vampires were evil
[14:42] Jane: I would give it a C+ because it was atmospheric and the suspense was very well done. I hated the name changes and the terrible incomplete ending.
[14:43] Jayne: would I try this again? honestly, probably not
[14:43] Jane: I would try it again if it had a better ending.
[14:45] Jayne: maybe if I read a story in which one of the lovers doesn’t try and kill the other then leave him….
[14:45] Jayne: more romance than erotica
[14:46] Jane: I would have liked to see Liu get a backbone and kill Kuro or Kiyoshi get a backbone and kill them both.
[14:46] Jane: Because what was all this nonsense about Liu loving Kiyoshi more than anything. Guess not.
[14:46] Jayne: better ending and not a sucky abrupt cut off
–> end spoiler