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Spell of Desire, Vol. 2 Paperback – Nov 4 2014
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About the Author
Tomu Ohmi debuted in 2000 with the supernatural Josei manga Kindan no Koi wo Shiyou. She is the creator of Midnight Secretary, available in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand from Viz Media.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Story: Kaoruko attracts all who come near her and Kaname is finding it inconceivable that he is so attracted to her that he must be a victim of her strong magic as well. So he goes away to research more and Kaoruko mopes alone. But when her magic goes out of control and ensnares Yu enough that he would rape her, Kaname comes rushing back to save her from both Yu and also two black witches that her magic has ensnared into want to do her. It's time for Kaoruko to face the Witch's council.
I've ready a lot of silly premises in Manga that somehow manage to work (Midori Days comes to mind) but this whole "I must kiss you to control your magic" is more deserving of a young girls shoujo manga than a more adult josei title such as this one. It feels far too contrived. As well, Kaname is such a flat and one dimensional character - pretty much the same person as the vampire love interest in Midnight Secretary. Granted, Ohmi's male leads start out abrupt and crisp and soften around the edges over time. But the story really needs to interest me enough to get to that point and this second volume really didn't get me there.
For me, really flat characters and lack of plot momentum are making this a title I am having a hard time becoming excited about continuing.
Reviewed from an ARC.
Midnight Secretary left me unsure of continuing Ohmi’s works, and the first volume of this series didn’t grab me immediately. But this volume was actually a step up, I’m happy to report.
I think the attraction between the couple has a hard time grabbing me, but it’s starting to work here. Kaname is starting to accept his feelings for Kaoruko, just as she is for him. That’s one thing that bothered me in the previous series, and I’m hoping it continues into the next one.
Then there’s the witch plot line that is getting surprisingly serious, and troublesome for the two. Kaoruko is surprisingly strong (with her powers, specifically), and since this causes problems for her and Kaname, who is trying to protect her, we get to meet some other witches. I’m a little wary of them, and unsure if I like the general direction they’re going, but I’m interested.
This series is not at the top of my list, but I want to read more, to see where it goes next. I’m intrigued enough to see this through.
A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, and Erik Jansen from MediaLab PR. Thank you so, so much!
[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile.]
The book is driven by an incredibly thinly disguised metaphor. Kaoruko has unexpected magical power within her that drives men crazy to the point of sexually attacking her. They can’t control themselves because she’s “too appealing”. She is treated as an object, someone for whom decisions are made by others around her. Her mother deserted her for her own good, supposedly; her grandmother lied by omission to her for her entire life; and her legacy means she must do what the witches tell her.
Her “knight” Kaname can control her by kissing her, which subdues her at the same time it awakens her previously unexpected passions. She acts out so he’ll discipline her and restrain her power. She doesn’t ever ask for what she wants, instead manipulating him into fulfilling her needs, while he gets jealous whenever she’s around another man — under the guise of needing to protect her.
The two are clearly made for each other at the same time we see them — by every typical fictional sign — falling in love. Yet they won’t say or do anything about it because they think the other is there only because they have to be. This is a dumb convention that leads to me mentally yelling at them to just talk to each other. Also annoying is how he is overprotective of her — but leaves her alone for the sole purpose of twisting the plot. That gives her plenty of space to engage in increasingly tiresome monologues while staring meaningfully at nothing.
I also had little patience for the increasing space dedicated to the witches’ coven and the various political maneuverings among them. I’m not sure it’s fair for me to be so hard on this book for being formulaic, though. For those who enjoy teeth-gnashingly tortured romance with an air of the supernatural, this might be immensely satisfying. (Review originally posted at ComicsWorthReading.com.)