Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-60504-069-X
Lost Souls is a genuine sequel to Soul of the Night although there are several other stories between these two books. Ryuhei Nakamura and Kiyoshi Ishibe had a thing in the other story, but centuries have passed and, today, those two are separated due to dramatic circumstances best left unsaid here or I will never be able to finish the review. To keep things simple, let’s just say that Kiyoshi supposedly died in a previous story and now Ryuhei, a pop star, has been wandering around like long lost Éponine screeching On My Own at the top of her voice.
Ah, but help is on the way. American Japanophile Jesse Shigeta has a ghostly friend that he has entertained since he was a kid: the very ghost of Kiyoshi himself. Jesse’s attempts to inform Ryuhei of Kiyoshi are constantly stymied by the fact that he is in a different country from Ryuhei, heh. When the story opens, Jesse is going to Tokyo to study and he has a plan to reunite Kiyoshi with Ryuhei. A music student, Jesse will be attending a program at the University of Tokyo that is sponsored by Ryuhei. What he will do is to take Kiyoshi with him to Tokyo.
The thing is, Kiyoshi loves Ryuhei. Jesse also loves Ryuhei. And Ryuhei, who loves Kiyoshi, thinks that Jesse is the reincarnation of Kiyoshi. Soon Kiyoshi and Jesse are making faces at each other as Kiyoshi becomes jealous of the attention Ryuhei is paying to Jesse, while Jesse is starting to think that Ryuhei deserves a lover who is alive – namely, Jesse.
Lost Souls is lacking in the blood and gore that drenched the pages of the previous books in the series, but this doesn’t mean that the story is boring, especially not as Jesse and Kiyoshi start to turn on each other. Personally, I have no idea why the whiny drama queen Ryuhei is worth all that fuss but hey, I suppose someone has to love those drama queens in this world. The story takes a turn for the darker and most entertaining indeed.
I don’t believe I am happy with the resolution of the story though. The happy ending seems like a cop-out after the way the story takes a turn for the darker. The way the authors give everyone a happy ending of some kind come off as pretty contrived. I love happy endings as a rule, but that one just doesn’t feel right to me.