Author/Artist: Yuna Aoi
Rating: M – ages 18 and up
Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Romance
*** Review originally appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society at http://liheliso.org/. Check it out! ***
Yoshimori is a newcomer to the editorial department but for some strange reason he's been tasked to retrieve the manuscript of the well-known and very talented author, Orito Suga. He had the opportunity to meet Suga-sensei and his brother at a work function. These two brothers are beyond handsome and Yoshimori is looking forward to spending a little time with these two handsome men. But behind these two gorgeous yet mysterious brothers lies a secret that can be the end of these two, and with Yoshimori not only living with the Suga brothers but also feeling an attraction to Masato something dangerous seems to be lurking.
Included with the main story of Awaken Forest are two short one shots. Loose Bonds is a tale of two childhood friends, one of which has had a crush on the other and will do anything to keep his friend by his side. Be With Me 'Til Morning and Be With Me 'Til Night is a story where a playboy realizes that his friend is the only man for him.
You might recognize the art in Awaken Forest. Yuna Aoi is another penname for Tamotsu Takamura the artist who created Jazz, also released by Juné. I never read Jazz and after reading Awaken Forest I probably won't. The story in Awaken Forest is a bit jarring with an incest angle. Plus throw in some non-con sex and that's about all there is to Awaken Forest. There is very little story, honestly. It goes from newbie editor going to authors house, finding out the secret behind the two brothers, being raped, to end of story. I sat scratching my head thinking "What crap did I just read?" Then following the story of Awaken Forest you have Loose Bonds which is almost as disturbing as the first story. Ren has had a thing for Aki since they were kids and will go to extreme lengths to make sure that Aki depends on Ren only. Ren has been pulling all kinds of crap to deceive Aki to keep him in his clutches. This type of story line doesn't appeal to me either. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with angsty plots but in the case of these two stories I didn't like them one bit. The third story is the only one that is half-decent but is rather typical of the genre.
Not only was the story lackluster but the art was rather unimpressive as well. There is little detail and the characters seem to all look alike. The only difference is the hairstyles on the characters. They seemed to have unnaturally large eyes, especially when children were portrayed. It really pulled me out of the story, which is bad when I'm not really fully invested to begin with. Honestly this title is one that you can miss. If you want to read it I say go for it but just know that in my opinion the only story that is half decent is Be With Me 'Til Morning and Be With Me 'Til Night.
***Review Copy provided by Juné***
***Reposted with permission from The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society***