Title: Love Code
Author: Sakurako Hanafubuki
May Contain Spoilers
Koji Mizuhara and Kyo Ayukawa return, and the two busy stars are both riding waves of popularity. Koji is about to make his Hollywood debut, and Kyo is slated to record a music CD. They always find time for each other, but when the president of their talent agency decides to interfere with their relationship, suddenly other people are trying to keep them apart. Then Ayu’s career is threatened and he’s given an ultimatum: break things off with Koji, or he’ll be replaced on the music CD!
I enjoyed this volume of the Junior Escort series better than the first. The entire book is devoted to Koji and Ayu, and now that they are an established couple, it is outside forces and how they effect their relationship that make up a large part of the book. Now it is jealous individuals from Koji’s past that threaten to tear them apart. Keeping their relationship under wraps is also getting harder, as both of them continue to bolster their careers.
When the talent agency threatens to replace Ayu for the CD recording, he isn’t one to back away from the confrontation. When he realizes that Koji’s popularity may be jeopardized if news of their relationship leaks out, he begins to have some doubts about staying with him. The agency is also doing a spectacular job keeping the two from having any alone time. When Koji goes overseas to make his Hollywood debut, Ayu has the space to seriously consider the consequences of staying Koji’s lover.
The action drags in Love Code, and the uneven pacing made it hard to hold my attention. Koji and Ayu are kept apart for most of the book, and the focus is on each of them pursuing their careers. Ayu wonders about the viability of their long distance relationship, and when he learns a little about Koji’s past, doubts about the future creep up to worry him. Mix in a couple of people with grudges against Koji, and you have the potential for some tense dramatic scenes. Most of the melodrama falls flat, though, and the lack of emotion shown by Ayu and Koji make for a slow read. I didn’t feel that the author captured enough of the emotional turmoil to make for a compelling read, and I found myself putting the book down several times. The sometimes confusing jumps in perspective and time didn’t help matters, and left me confused a couple of times.
There is also a short story included about Koji during his high school years, and again, I didn’t feel that the emotional drama was effectively captured as the scenes from his past played out. Sakurako Hanafubuki presents the material in a very subtle, subdued manner, which isn’t very effective in this setting. While I don’t believe that the characters needed to be standing on the rooftop shouting out their feelings, any display would have created a more engaging read.
Review copy provided by June