A guest review by Leslie
Fifteen years ago, Timothy Rush’s lover and soul mate, Basho Sakai, was murdered on a trip to Tokyo with his family. Timothy never stopped pining for the man who was his first and only love, comparing anyone else who came after him to Basho, the sensitive and handsome poet who stole his heart.
Finally, still mourning and hopeless, Timothy travels from London to Tokyo to say a final good-bye. While there, he hopes to find some pleasure and some spiritual peace at the White Tiger, a gay men’s hotel in Tokyo that also offers the Taoist sexual path of the White Tiger. However, once there Timothy finds more than pleasure: he learns the true tragic story of what happened to his lover. And then…finds the missing half of his soul.
Similar to Never Say Never, which I reviewed here recently, this book has a nice cover but not a whole lot of substance in its pages. It is quite short and was a fast read for me. Some of the sex scenes, which are mostly told in flashback, are pretty erotic, which is the strongest point of the book. Other details, such as plot and character development, are quite weak, which pulls the overall rating down to 2.5 stars.
The story starts with a prologue. Tim is waiting for his lover, Basho, to come back to London, after a trip to Tokyo for a family wedding. Tim recalls the time two years earlier when, after eleven years of being friends with Basho, he declared his love for his “mate,” both with words and physical actions. Basho responded in kind. As Tim is thinking about this, he finds out that Basho has been murdered in Tokyo and will not be coming home.
The story proper moves ahead 15 years and the action moves to Tokyo, where we learn that Basho is, in fact, alive, and working at the White Tiger. His attempted murder was not successful although he was left scarred, both physically and mentally, from the experience. He is finally getting to the point where he can begin to process what happened to him. Of course, he still loves Tim but believes he’ll never see him again.
The first half (or so) of the book is told from Basho’s POV, then switches to Tim, who is also still grieving his lover. He finally realizes he needs some closure and plans a trip to Tokyo to visit Basho’s grave. The White Tiger apparently has a good reputation as a gay men’s hotel and Tim makes a reservation to stay there. You don’t need to be a particularly perceptive reader to figure out what comes next.
As I said above, the sex scenes were quite nicely done and were the reason I kept reading (well, that, and the fact that Wave was expecting a review). The rest of the writing was not very enthralling and I found myself mostly skimming the story. One aspect that was not explored at all was “the Taoist sexual path of the White Tiger.” That’s what caught my attention in the blurb and I was disappointed that this wasn’t a feature of the story. I note from the publisher’s website that there are other books in the White Tiger series; maybe they do more to explore this concept, but given my disappointment in this novella, I will not be seeking them out.
My overall recommendation: if you are a fan of this author, you’ll probably enjoy this but beyond that, I don’t see Yin Yang appealing to a wide range of readers.