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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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08/20/2008 Archived Entry: "Novel review: Caged Slave"

Caged Slave
By Yuiko Takamura
Illustrations by An Kanae
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc

Review by Ryes

If it weren't for Little Darling, the title of the worst Juné novel so far would probably go to Caged Slave. It had issues from characterization to translation and the overall feel that it gave off was one of a sloppily put together novel. Kris and I came out of this novel on different sides. You should also check out her review to make a rounded decision about getting this book!

Tsukasa has been dumped by his lover and he's sitting at a bar in an expensive hotel brooding. I can't blame him because he made the mistake of dating his boss, and not only did his boss ditch him for a wealthy heiress, Tsukasa also loses his position in the company and is demoted.

At the bar, he catches the eyes of a rich man and the man leaves Tsukasa a room number. They have sex all night long and the mysterious man schedules to meet with Tsukasa the same time next week but doesn't reveal his name. Tsukasa quickly falls in love with the stranger over the course of their meetings.

Meanwhile, changes are being made back at Tsukasa's company. The company owner has just created a new position and hires a very famous man to fill that role. Guess who it is. Just take a wild shot.

To start with the minor issues, the dirty talk really needs to step it up a notch. There is a lot of dirty talk (on the mysterious man's part, Tsukasa mostly moans and protests) but it's either clumsily translated or it just really is that bad. The mysterious man (MM) goes on and on about how sensitive Tsukasa is—all the while, Tsukasa is protesting, "No! No!"—and in one instance he forces Tsukasa to say, "Please punish me."

Here you will also find some of the most awful sex scenes ever. At one point, they mention that Tsukasa was oozing so much fluid it was like piss leaking out of a little boy's penis. No words for my reaction at this point.

But the more pressing issues are the way the romance and the characterizations are dealt with. The romance has way too much of a rushed feel to it. Tsukasa falls in love with MM because MM has been the only one so far to make him enjoy anal sex. There it is. That's the reason. MM, on the other hand, isn't smitten because of the sex. He actually likes Tsukasa's personality. I find that so unbelievable because there is not a person with a more boring personality than Tsukasa.

Tsukasa basically has only three emotions: happiness, shame, and confusion. When he's thinking about MM, he's happy, embarrassed by the memories, and confused. When he's having sex, he's ashamed of his reactions, and confused about why he is enjoying anal sex. When MM is confessing to him, he's confused about how that's even possible, but happy at the same time.

His speech mostly consists of:

"Huh?"
"Why?"
"What?"
"Wha...?"
"No..."
"N-no."
"What? No."

It's ridiculous how stupid this guy is. He has to have things spelled out four, five, a million times for him. He also has the worst case of insecurity. He has no confidence and doubts everything about himself and MM, so much so that he believes every little thing that other people say about him.

That isn't even the worst of it. Tsukasa is spineless. People push him around, he doesn't do anything. His ex-boyfriend comes back and screws him over, he just stays still and takes it. That doesn't change towards the end of the novel. There is absolutely zero character development.

I don't want to sound so dismissive, but the main problem with this novel can be boiled down to bad characterization. MM remains too mysterious (and too perfect) and Tsukasa just never develops.

I can't honestly recommend Caged Slave to anyone.

Replies: 2 comments

Ryes,

I see we disagree on a lot of things! First on Caged Slave and then on Kiss Blue. I really liked Caged Slave. I really appreciated the insecurity and self-esteem issues the main character felt. It is an emotion that I don't see many yaoi characters deal with. They may have some feelings of self-loathing because they've fallen for another guy, but Tsukasa's issues stem within himself. As someone who suffers from mental illness, I was really able to relate to Tsukasa and the way he dealt with everything. You know, with these disagreements on content, it makes this site that much more interesting.

Kris

Posted by Kris @ 08/20/2008 10:52 AM PST

Hi Kris,

LOL, we're split on this one too. I thought Tsukasa let everything happen to him rather than actually dealing with anything, which I guess is where I had issues with the book. But we bring different backgrounds to the books and approach them differently, so we're bound to disagree some.

I hope we disagree more in the future though. It's way more fun to read a clashing review than something that reflects my exact opinions!

I'd also like to point out how neglectful I am. I haven't been on the site so long I didn't know you had a review for this one up! I'll set up a link to it.

Take care,
Ryes

Posted by Ryes @ 08/20/2008 01:04 PM PST

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