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rakuen made no kyori by kohzuki matsuri [Nov. 9th, 2008|11:06 pm]
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I read Rakuen made no kyori by Kohzuki Matsuri to the "bitter" end out of morbid curiosity. This book is in no way good, unless you like reading absurd crap. Sadly, I sometimes do like to read absurd crap. I want to know how bad it can get. I want to know how far the author will push the bounds of credulity. How stupid they think their readers are. Sometimes I get mad at the end, sometimes I chuckle and shrug off the time I wasted on the book. My reaction to this book was the latter. In fact, I was pleased at how stupid this book got. (I shouldn't have been surprised, considering the author, but I have to confess I didn't recognize the author at first. I have a terrible memory for author names, so unless the author has burned their names in my mind thanks to shining awesomeness or teeth-gnashing-inducing awfulness I won't remember reading books by them. I really should check my own archives to see if I've posted on these authors...)

Enough generalities, I need to get down to the specifics. This reminds me of another bad yet entertaining book by this author. Without the pretty art. And less angsting. This book features another very fucked-up rich family. This one is ruled by a matriarch who'd adored her husband but who was ignored and cheated upon by him. She'd gnashed her teeth because she couldn't control him while he lived, so after he died she decided to control the family. First, instead of turning the grandson who'd killed her husband in to the police or otherwise disposing of him she locks him up in a cottage with bars on the estate. He was 15 at the time. Then she makes her children and other grandchildren dance to her tune. Unfortunately for her, grandpa-killing grandson is just like his grandpa. He's shrewd and ruthless, AND the family lawyers want to serve him because he's to cool for words. And will amuse them endlessly. Lawyer Jr. shows grandson--Hm...I need a good nickname for him....Hot Shit? Yeah, I'll go with that, abbreviated to HS--shows HS a picture of HS's nephew. His much older half-sister had run off with a servant and had given birth a boy that looked just like her. HS is so much younger than his half-siblings, he is the same age as his nephew. (HS is, BTW, the son of a mistress. So technically he's not the matriarch's grandson OR son. HS's mom had also been locked up, but she, unlike him, wasn't fed. So she had starved to death.) He falls in love with his nephew at first sight. He orders Lawyer Jr. to scheme to get him his nephew (whom I shall call SB for Spunky Boy), get him out of his prison, and get him in control of the family. It takes three years for I really don't know what reason. I guess the author was going for a sense that these people are serious? That this kind of scheming takes a long time to set up? In any case, three years later SB's parents die in an "accident." He's all alone in the world! Lawyer Jr. comes calling, representing the Bitch--I gotta call the matriarch the Bitch--and compels SB to join their family. The thing is, I can't for the life of me figure out what was so compelling about Lawyer Jr.'s conversation with SB. It's not like SB was saddled with some huge debt that he had little chance to pay off in his lifetime or had some Terrible Sekrit he could be blackmailed with. And SB *knew* that his parents had eloped and that his mother's family was fucked up, so it's not a case of orphan finding out he actually has family still left in the world and naively agrees to be with them. In any case, I will put that point aside in the interests of going on with the story.

SB agrees to join the family. He is not very polite to his new family, which consists of the Bitch, her two sons, the sons' wives, and the sons' children (one son had a boy--whom I shall call Grandson--and one son had a girl--whom I shall call Granddaugther). SB is very mouthy. I think he's supposed to be spunky, but he just comes off as a wise-ass, frankly. In any case, SB wants to know where HS is. Laywer Jr. had mentioned HS in their first conversation, but he hadn't been at the introduction. He soon meets HS because he's given the task of feeding HS. Bitch had fired all the servants after her daughter had eloped, so this ultra-rich family does their own chores. Granddaughter does almost all the cooking, and everyone does their own laundry and keeps their own rooms clean. SB is forced to quit high school and do the cleaning of the common areas. And feed HS.

I don't quite remember SB's initial reaction to HS (besides his observation that HS is really good-looking), but they soon become friends. SB feels sorry for HS and wants to escape this nut house with HS. But HS refuses. He's got Plans. They are in Motion. He is Biding His Time. He also has SB to play with, which includes raping him. (How does he rape anyone while in a cage, you ask? Because the same key that opens the cottage opens the door to his prison! And SB lets himself into the cage with HS!) But SB can't hate HS even after being fucked against his will. They fuck like rabbits thereafter.

Granddaughter, in the meantime, is very unhappy. She's in love with HS and resents SB for stealing the privilege of seeing HS. This love has continued for years despite the fact that HS has barely spoken to her except to yell at her to get out of his sight all these years she's been feeding him. She finds the stash of drawings SB had done of HS (SB is an aspiring artist) and tears them up. SB catches her and they argue. Granddaughter rips her own clothing and screams for help. She claims SB had tried to assault her, so her father and the uncle beat the shit out of SB.

Grandson is one of those fake happy-go-lucky types. He goes with the flow because he's been promised the inheritance if he marries Granddaughter. He tries to get along with SB, but SB doesn't really care for him. Grandson eventually gets fed up that SB seems so enamored of HS (who will die in a cage as far as Grandson is concerned) and decides to "show SB and HS who's boss." He rapes SB in front of HS, lording over his power over both. Sadly, he's cowered by HS's towering anger and scampers off afterwards. SB and HS have some major H/C and magically healing sex. HS hadn't cared about Grandson until now, but he's not going to let Grandson get away with violating what is HIS.

In the meantime, Lawyer Jr. and Sr. are busily working at Nefarious Scheme. This is helped by the fact that Bitch is foolishly trusting. When the big plan is finally implemented it's...Big. Both sons and their wives die in "accidents" on the same day. Bitch has some kind of attack or seizure and takes to her bed, and so is not around to order HS back into his cage when he is let out by Lawyer Jr. to attend the funeral. Lawyer Jr. and Sr. have HS and SB meet various powerful and connected people, indicating that they will be the heirs to the family fortune. HS manipulates Grandson into a confrontation and has Grandson stab him. He also trips Granddaughter when she approaches to try to stop them so that she falls down the stairs and breaks her neck and frames Grandson for her fall. Grandson, in shock, runs away. All of this in front of witnesses of a high caliber (company presidents and the like).

That night, HS sneaks out of bed (he and SB are sleeping in SB's room which had been HS's room before HS had been locked up) and visits the Bitch. We learn that Bitch had kept HS locked up instead of killing him (the preferred solution to everything in this family, apparently) because he looks just like her husband, and she'd wanted to "control" him the way she had never been able to control her husband. He works her up until she has another attack, and kicks her medicine away from her. He watches her struggle to crawl towards the medicine until she dies, then goes back to bed.

SB and HS inherit everything because everyone else is dead. Grandson has still not been found, but HS assures SB that Grandson has gone swimming with the fishes. SB, who has turned into a ruthless vengeance-seeking nut (HS and the lawyers rejoice that SB has also inherited grandpa's fiery personality), is very happy with all that has gone down. They are both free! And together! HS is also happy because he's free, he's gotten his revenge, and he has SB. We learn in a conversation between HS and Lawyer Jr. that HS was the one who'd ordered SB's parents' death and not the Bitch as SB had thought, but HS confidently declares that he's never going to let SB go even if SB finds out the truth. I wonder what will happen to the family fortune when SB and HS die since there are no relatives to have children and continue the family line...Will they adopt? Marry for convenience and traumatize the baby-making machines who are their "wives"? Kidnap and indoctrinate innocent children? Scheme to kill everyone in Japan so that nothing matters anymore?

I loved that everyone died. In two days. And that there was no investigation at all. Is this the power of a rich and powerful family? How the hell did grandpa's death get swept under the carpet? HS had beaten the dude to death. As in, a room splattered with blood, walls covered with it! The amount of unnatural death that's covered up just killed me. Also, the fact that everyone had their own washing machines just tickled me to death. And that SB started out as a run-of-the-mill wise-ass but ends up a cock-loving blood-thirsty psycho without much in the way of exposition besides that he's got the blood. XD;

From: keelieinblack
2008-11-10 01:14 pm (UTC)
Well, the book may be bad, but the summary was so hilarious I laughed all the way through it. I love all the stupid logic and random death, it's like soap opera + V. C. Andrews + ...I don't even know. This sounds like the kind of novel you hammer out during a three-day blitz and sell to a sleazy publishing house for $100 because you need to make rent.
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[User Picture]From: insaneneko
2008-11-11 08:23 am (UTC)
Now that you mention it, it does remind me of V.C. Andrews! *snorts* So bad, yet so can't look away from the slow-motion train crash.
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From: worldserpent
2008-11-10 01:41 pm (UTC)
Also, the fact that everyone had their own washing machines just tickled me to death.

It's details like this that really convince the reader that they've vicariously entered a world of unimaginable wealth and senseless privilege! I know I dream of the day when I can buy everyone in my family their own personal washing machine.
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[User Picture]From: insaneneko
2008-11-11 08:29 am (UTC)
It's sad that the washing machine thing is the thing that pops out as a sign of their great wealth. ^^;
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[User Picture]From: schetenei
2008-11-15 11:05 pm (UTC)
Oh my... my jaw almost fell off when I audiowiki'ed the author, checking what other bad works she's the mastermind of... to only find out she's the woman behind one of my fav dramacds!!! Maybe the difference lies in the genre, since Hakushakusama isn't supposed to be overly serious and dramatic... plus the illustrations (Zaou Taishi) are gorgeous, and the cast is simply perfect

Oh, and don't mind me, I just occasionally visit your LJ for the reviews ^_^
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[User Picture]From: insaneneko
2008-11-27 07:33 pm (UTC)
Hi! Glad you are enjoying my reviews! Stop by anytime and comment if you'd like. ^^

I do like the Hakushakusama series, but it is total crack after all. Retardedness works when it's supposed to be funny, but when it's supposed to be serious? Not so good. :P
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