The Stars May Rise and Fall

Estella Mirai. Estella Mirai, $17.99 trade paper (388p) ISBN 978-1-68454-753-1
The turbulent romantic connection between two musicians is at the heart of Mirai’s fluid, well-plotted debut, a loose retelling of The Phantom of the Opera set in the year 2000. La Rose Verboten is a visual kei band, the Japanese equivalent of glam rock. After playing a gig in Tokyo, the band’s 22-year-old drummer, Teru, meets 36-year-old Rei, a reclusive, mask-wearing songwriter whose career as a visual kei star ended after a car accident crushed his arm and severely burned his face. Rei promises to make Teru a star, offering him private vocal coaching and arranging for La Rose Verboten’s singer to be ousted and for Rei to take his place. As the band’s popularity grows, Teru struggles to understand his simultaneous attraction to Rei and disgust at his scarred skin, a revulsion that will disappoint sensitive readers. Rei’s attempts to regulate Teru’s life become overly controlling, but his slowly revealed backstory will help readers understand, if not sympathize, with his actions. Though the dynamic of their relationship is murky, the way the complicated characters cope with believable pain provides a window into a fascinating subculture. This competent tale will appeal to fans of gay romance who don’t mind a bit of darkness in their love stories. (Self-published)
Reviewed on : 12/12/2019
Release date: 12/01/2018
Genre: Romance/Erotica
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