Spell of Desire Volume 2
What felt sympathetic and accomplished to me in Spell of Desire volume 1 here reeked too strongly of cliche and stereotype. Perhaps it’s that I wanted the story to move along more quickly, and this felt too much like treading water to pad page count. Perhaps it’s that I recently read a much better done romance. Perhaps it’s just that the supernatural genre isn’t my cup of tea. Regardless, I found my patience strained with this latest volume from Tomu Ohmi.
The book is driven by an incredibly thinly disguised metaphor. Kaoruko has unexpected magical power within her that drives men crazy to the point of sexually attacking her. They can’t control themselves because she’s “too appealing”. She is treated as an object, someone for whom decisions are made by others around her. Her mother deserted her for her own good, supposedly; her grandmother lied by omission to her for her entire life; and her legacy means she must do what the witches tell her.
Her “knight” Kaname can control her by kissing her, which subdues her at the same time it awakens her previously unexpected passions. She acts out so he’ll discipline her and restrain her power. She doesn’t ever ask for what she wants, instead manipulating him into fulfilling her needs, while he gets jealous whenever she’s around another man — under the guise of needing to protect her.
The two are clearly made for each other at the same time we see them — by every typical fictional sign — falling in love. Yet they won’t say or do anything about it because they think the other is there only because they have to be. This is a dumb convention that leads to me mentally yelling at them to just talk to each other. Also annoying is how he is overprotective of her — but leaves her alone for the sole purpose of twisting the plot. That gives her plenty of space to engage in increasingly tiresome monologues while staring meaningfully at nothing.
I also had little patience for the increasing space dedicated to the witches’ coven and the various political maneuverings among them. I’m not sure it’s fair for me to be so hard on this book for being formulaic, though. For those who enjoy teeth-gnashingly tortured romance with an air of the supernatural, this might be immensely satisfying.