Earlier this year, Ichijinsha, publisher of Yuri Hime magazine, announced a line of light novels for women – their “Iris” imprint. The line includes romance (straight, BL and Yuri,) adventure and fantasy stories. previously, I reviewed .(period), which was an Action/Yuri story…with little Yuri action. ^_^;
Today I’m reviewing the second Yuri title, Wild Bouquet, subtitled, “In This World of Unblooming Flowers.” This book was written at a slightly more difficult level of Japanese than I usually read, further complicated by it being a Fantasy novel and therefore containing words that were completely made up. Luckily for me the story itself was simple, and the book was better written than . (period). In the end, it took me not long at all to read the whole thing.
As I say, the story is a simple one – in a country where the sum and total of a woman’s existence is to be married, a Princess is brought to the kingdom to marry the King. She will live in the palace for six months until her 16th birthday, when she will become King Leonidas’ consort. Instead, Princess Deriana falls in love with one of her maids, Josette.
Josette is our protagonist. We learn a bit about her early life; she was given away by her parents to a noble’s family to become the companion to their daughter, Soliel. Soliel is now a captain of the guard, and Josette is a maid in the palace.
Like .(period), the Yuri in Wild Bouquet is formulaic. There’s doki-doki moments when they are called for and in the end it’s love – but there’s really no depth to it. First Josette likes Deriana’s company, then the next moment Josette finds herself sick with unhappiness at the thought of Deriana marrying the King, then they are “in love.” There is, of course, no physical compenent to this “love.” Josette does not want to jump Deriana, rip the wedding dress off her and have her way with her. She wants to “hold her close”. Maybe. The most romantic thing that happens between them is that they hold hands.
The plot, too, is a bit pat. Soliel was perfect for a jealousy subplot, but she only provides a moment of angst and in the end is on our side. The *obviously* evil character turns out to be our fairy godmother. I’d kind of like to know why she helped, too. All she says is “I have a reason. Perhaps it’s the subject of the next Wild Bouquet novel, I dunno.
The feeling I have is that this novel is not so much a “fantasy” as a “fairy tale.” As a Yuri fairy tale, it works fine. In fairy tales, the Princes and Princesses do not have bed scenes – or even hot kisses. They hold hands and ride off into the sunset. And so it is here. There’s nothing that would prevent me from giving this to an 11-year old whose interests were leaning lesbian.
My only complaint is that I really would have appreciated a kiss, at least.
Art – 7 (light novel, remember)
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – 7
Service – 0, unless you fetishize “pure, innocent” feelings, then 8
Overall – 6
While it was an easier read than . (period), it was slightly more disappointing. Next time, I want the maid turned knight swinging-into-the-cathedral and saving the princess AND a hot kiss. Thanks.
Check out the review of Volume 2 for the end of the story!