REVIEW: Caged Slave by Yuiko Takamura

Tsukasa Shinozaki is a dutiful secretary, performing above and beyond the call of duty. Way beyond the call of duty. Yes, Tsukasa has fallen into that time-honored trap of a secretary falling for the boss. Unfortunately, his is not a Cinderella story – reality intrudes as Tsukasa gets dumped when his ambitious boss marries the company president’s daughter. Wounded and lonely, Tsukasa ends up at a hotel bar where he hooks up with a beautiful mystery man who gives him more pleasure than he has ever known possible. They share several passion-filled nights, but there’s a catch the man refuses to reveal his name. How will Tsukasa find his happily ever after if Prince Charming can’t even introduce himself?

Warnings: casual sex

Category: M/M

Caged Slave is a light novel that, unlike the title would lead you to believe, has absolutely nothing to do with cages or slaves. Despite that initial disappointment, it is a thoroughly entertaining book nonetheless. It’s about an anonymous hook up relationship that turns into something more serious when the two men, who didn’t even know each other’s names, end up suddenly secretary and boss!

WRITING
I really enjoyed the story. It’s a very soap opera kind of drama, with the slow built from casual sex partners to emotionally involved lovers. I do love the dynamic of the secret and forbidden office love affair, and the melodrama of it all. The plot does suffer from being fairly predictable, but all in all the writing is engaging enough that it’s forgivable if you know exactly where the story is going.

I really enjoy the illustrations throughout, it’s pretty classic BL stuff but the lineart is crisp and clean and it looks really good, and keeps things steamy.

EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
I never really came to be all that emotionally invested with the characters; Tsukasa is a bit naive and silly, and we rarely ever seen things from his boss’s POV. Despite this, it was still quite fun to see their relationship taking it’s twists and turns. There’s an amount of mystery to them both that aided the “sex with a stranger” fantasy and it was very fun.

WORLDBUILDING
There’s not much worldbuilding happening in most stories set in modern day. The only real feature of this setting is the political schemes within the company Tsukasa works for; his ex dumping him in order to pursue a marriage of convenience with the CEO’s daughter, the workplace bullying, and the twist ending all contribute to the scenery. It could have done a little more to get me interested in the scenery, but it was perfectly functional all the same.

STEAMINESS
The smut is very, very steamy especially in the beginning of the book when the two characters are still strangers. The pining for a man he doesn’t know the name of, the electric and instinctive nature of their sexual desire, the taboo nature of the secret hotel meeting room, all of it makes for some really sexy scenes. And, after they become boss and secretary, there’s some real tension between them that keeps you guessing until they finally start fucking again, and it’s really really fun to watch unfold.

Altogether a fun kind of popcorn read, I definitely enjoyed it, though there is not a whole lot of substance to it. It will be up your ally if you like anonymous sexual encounters and the taboo of a secretary fucking his boss, which make for some really great smut tropes. The characters and setting are a little bland but the writing is good enough to make up for it.

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