Over a hundred years ago Kabuki actor Ryuhei Nakamura and vampire Kiyoshi Ishibe became soul mates, then tragedy struck and Kiyoshi was killed. Ryuhei, a vampire, was inconsolable and since then he has grieved for his lover. Lost Souls is the story of Ryu’s search for his lost love, Kiyoshi.
The first time Ryuhei meets Jesse Shigeta he was 5 years old and it seemed that he was unduly attached to Ryu. What Ryu does not know is that Jesse had discovered Kiyoshi’s earthbound soul and he and Kiyoshi had become fast friends.
Almost 2 decades later Ryu meets Jesse again and he is now a gifted musical student. He is attracted to him and believes he has found Kiyoshi’s soul in Jesse’s body. Jesse is also fascinated by Ryu and initially he was going to try and reunite Kiyoshi and Ryu but his intentions undergo a dramatic change when he falls in love with him and now he is determined to be by Ryu’s side for all eternity.
What fascinated me about this story was the overlay of the cultural influences and their impact on the behaviour of the characters. Although I’m not as knowledgeable about the period as I would have wished, it’s clear that the authors have done a considerable amount of research and tried to make the background and the story as authentic as possible. The main protagonists Ryu and Jesse become lovers but gradually Ryu senses something is amiss and realizes that Jesse is not being truthful. As the story plays out with the influx of other characters, including the inimitable flesh-eating ghoul Gobei who had been Kiyoshi’s friend, I became more and more enthralled with the plot and the characters. This book is not about a typical alpha/beta pairing but rather it is about people that live by a different philosophy in a culture where behaviour and norms are not the same as those of western society.
Lost Souls is book 3 in this trilogy and while I read it as a standalone, I found the story to be quite compelling and easy to follow. The protagonists are flawed but sensitive, well developed characters, even Jesse who lied to everyone because he wanted Ryu and did everything he could to get rid of Kiyoshi’s ghost. There are some surprises and Jesse goes to extraordinary lengths to achieve his heart’s desire but does he get it? The end of the book is, like most fantasies, a stretch and most imaginative but I believe it was the author Terry Pratchett who said “Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere but it tones up the muscles that can”. If you want to find out what happens you will have to read the book. I will be reading Blood Brothers and Soul of the Night the other books in this series to get the backstory to Lost Souls and I would humbly suggest that you read them in order to fully enjoy the series.
Anne Cain and Barbara Sheridan did a great job bringing these characters to life and I loved the way the story flowed. If you appreciate eastern culture and yaoi, and even if you don’t but love a really terrific story, pick up Lost Souls which is available July 15.