Warning: This light novel contains graphic scenes of assault and questionable sexual relationships. This novel is not recommended for people sensitive to these issues.
Satsuki has it all: a wealthy family, attendants who wait on her hand and foot, a retainer she’s head-over-heels for that would do anything–anything–for her. Oh, and magical powers.
Since before she was born, Satsuki Tsujikawa has displayed abilities only heard of in science fiction stories. Telepathy, telekinesis, and more are at her beck and call, but only three people in the world know about this. Forced to hide her abilities for a plethora of reasons, Satsuki fulfills her role as the dutiful heir of the Tsujikawa Corporation, feigning ignorance to all the nasty thoughts the people around her unknowingly throw at her each and every day.
The one thing she’s unable to hide–even from herself–is her feelings for her retainer. Shindo has been with her since she was an infant. Her would-be assassin turned eternal protector is the only person in the world that knows about her powers and accepts them. Though her feelings for him are taboo, what’s a young girl to do when he’s had her heart since day one? But change is coming to Satsuki’s life. Her eighteenth birthday is around the corner and it’s time for her to pick a husband from a small pool of men her father has compiled, and once her engagement is set, Shindo is to step down from his role as her constant companion. Satsuki isn’t ready for this, but she is ready to show just how angry the ‘Tsujikawa Sacred Blade’ can get. However, when one of her suitors reveals he not only knows about Satsuki’s powers, but he also has secrets from her past that could affect Shindo’s future, she’s willing to play the long game.
Labyrinth Angel is a tale of forbidden romance. Shindo has been tasked with protecting Satsuki since she was barely out of the womb. Harboring anything other than platonic feelings for her is taboo, but his young Miss makes it hard to shy away from those emotions. Reading through their emotional struggles was bliss to a hopeless romantic like myself. All the sighs, each mishap, and every ‘accidental’ forbidden touch kept me reading like a soccer mom between practices.
Even beyond the Guinevere/Lancelot plotline, the rest of the story is pretty solid. Satsuki’s emotional immaturity combined with her out of control powers kept the story interesting and helped to set it apart from similar novels I’ve read. The pacing is also well done, keeping a steady stream of action and drama going.
While the story is pretty solid, the writing could use some improvement. I lost count of how many, “Shin..do..”s I read. The back-to-back repetition was bad throughout the novel and it wasn’t limited to single words. Here’s an example:
“It was followed by a natural desire. The desire was perfectly natural.”
This issue of stating the same thing multiple times on the same page really took me out of the reading at certain points. While it was fairly widespread, I started to notice it less and less as the story went on.
The other issue I kept coming back to was the use of clichés. There were a lot of tears, a lot of ‘forgotten pasts’, and a lot of Satsuki being carried around bridal style. While these things go hand-in-hand with the genre, they did more to detract from the story than add to it in most cases. Had these been used more sparingly, they would have had a lot more impact. Instead, I started questioning if Satsuki even knew how to walk.
The Fair Warning
Since this story is classified as ‘violent, mature, ecchi’ and ‘smut’, I didn’t want to categorize these points as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but rather state them upfront for people interested in the story but worried about the actual content. Please also keep in mind that neither I nor the book condones sexual assault in any way, shape, or form. The novel is pure fantasy, and so I have tried to make my review reflect that. This section does contain slight spoilers.
In the novel, Satsuki is 17 and turns 18 close to the end of the volume. Shindo is twelve years her senior and enters into a sexual relationship with her before her eighteenth birthday. Many of the male characters that Satsuki comes into contact with are well over the age of thirty, and after she reads their minds, it’s revealed they are imagining performing sexual acts with her. This ranges from steamy make-out sessions to full on rape. A lot of the language used by the males in the story is very crass as well. Some of the characters do not shy away from discussing BDSM and other similar fantasies in detail, with or without the consent of the women in the discussion.
These topics are all throughout the story and start at page 1. For these reasons, I do not recommend this book for anyone sensitive to these issues.
Overall, Labyrinth Angel was a good read. With an interesting plot line, a wide array of characters, and a dash of mystery to go along with it, the story had no trouble keeping my attention. While there is still room to grow, I would count this as a win for people who are interested in the genre.
For more information about Labyrinth Angel, visit Anime-Planet.
Huge thank you to Cross Infinite World for providing us a copy to review!