Author: Sedonia Guillone
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 81 Pages
At a Glance: The second half of the story really was lovely. I just wish it would have grabbed me from the get-go.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: In eighteenth century Japan, during the golden age of samurai and of the Kabuki theater, young actors known as “flying fish” traveled the countryside, performing for audiences by day and giving their bodies to their samurai patrons at night.
Genji Sakura is one such flying fish, yet he dreams of finding the man he can give his heart to and leave the loneliness of his itinerant life behind. Though he loves theater, he doesn’t love every part of his profession, especially some of the patrons. So when a handsome ronin comes upon him stealing some solitude for a bath in a hot spring and their encounter turns passionate, Genji’s surprised and delighted.
Daisuke Minamoto’s past fills his life with a bitterness that grips his soul and makes him dangerous. Yet passion takes him when he spies on a graceful young man bathing naked in a hot spring. He has always loved women, but he can’t deny the call of his heart.
After an afternoon of sexual bliss, his heart and soul are tormented and torn. Keeping this miraculous lover will require giving up the one thing that has kept him alive for years: his hatred for the lord who murdered his wife. If he loves another, how will he go on and who will he become?
A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.
First Edition published by Loose ID LLC, 2009.
Review: I’m not typically at a loss for words in my reviews. If anything, my thoughts on books tend to be more long-winded than not. This review, on the other hand, is definitely going more the way of brevity; but it shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a negative reflection on the book that I don’t have a ton to say about it. Flying Fish is simply a quiet little novella that left me feeling like there wasn’t a lot I needed to analyze or critique. In fact, it sort of snuck up on me.
I do have to be honest and say that I wasn’t wowed in the first half of the book. I was excited about reading this one; I loved that it was a historical, set in Japan. But, unfortunately, I didn’t feel like the author did enough within the story to really root the reader in the time period. There was a very brief author’s note in the beginning of the book that spoke a bit about samurai, and how she had taken some artistic license, but otherwise it wasn’t as informative as it maybe could have been. Also, even though it is obviously a common occurrence in novella length books, I wasn’t quite prepared for the insta-love factor. Sometimes insta-love works for me, and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case it was a tougher sell. I wasn’t really fully on board with these guys until near the end.
That being said, I did very much enjoy the descriptions of both Genji and Daisuke. Genji’s beauty and grace, and Daisuke’s more rough-hewn, rugged appearance come through so well; I could picture them perfectly. I also enjoyed how the story started to play out in the second half. We got to see Genji on stage—Daisuke’s reaction to him was great—and we got a sense of what Daisuke’s life had been like before his wife was killed, and more of an understanding of everything he had lost. It was also in this second half that I finally started to connect to both MCs. They were so good for each other—(I know I know…I was just complaining about the insta-love. Hush) and the home they created together was so sweet.
There is a nice little twist at the end, involving the son of the lord who killed Daisuke’s wife, which was a nice tribute to Genji and the fact that he made Daisuke want to be a better man, one without vengeance in his heart. Again, I loved the little home they built, and how they brought joy to each other. The second half of the story really was lovely. I just wish it would have grabbed me from the get-go.
Interesting aside: I couldn’t help but notice that Flying Fish is labeled under Sword and Silk Trilogy, yet only two books were ever published, the second being Blind Love. Well, for those of you with inquiring minds like myself, I did a little digging and there will be a third book published by Dreamspinner in the series, and it will be called Blossom of the Samurai.
You can buy Flying Fish here: