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#9 “Bonds” – Snap Review 
3rd-Sep-2009 09:59 am
Title of fic: Snap
Author: blutent
Length: 50,509 words
Link: [Index + PDF file]

Title of Review: Bonds
Word Count: 602

Drowning in the foreign language and culture of Japan, the five members of Tohoshinki are forced to become closer in ways they never imagined. bluetent chooses the initial years of DBSK’s debut in Japan as the background for her exquisite story of love and friendship. Before explaining the novel, due credit must be given to the author’s wonderful characterizations of the members. Every fan of the group has a general grasp of the member’s personalities and can rattle off traits attributed to each person: Junsu is funny, Yunho is the leader, etc. No fan, however, can truly know all aspects of the members and many stories written on just those basic qualities are filled with cardboard characters that fail to feel and think any more deeply than the polished glimpses fans are given of their idols.

Snap, however, explores the hidden motivations, desires, and fears of every member. Bluetent describes the eldest member, “Jaejoong who tried so hard he broke bones, wild beautiful Jaejoong who adored cameras and could out-drink all of them and who loved their fans more than anyone.” The portrayal of Junsu extends behind the smile and reveals the strength which allows him to work to attain whatever and whoever he wants. Each scene builds onto the image the reader has of each member. They become human, real, and smaller than the god like beings they are often painted as. Each character in the novel can stand alone and no one lacks the author’s time and attention.

The story begins with a game. The members are lonely and frustrated in Japan and to liven up the atmosphere, they decide on a most unusual and long running game. In Snap, players must break the bracelet of another player in return for sexual favors and the first to have all three of his bracelets snapped is the winner. With this, the members are forced to become far closer and as the physical distances decrease so do the emotional distances. Hidden feelings are brought to the surface and are less easily suppressed. Yunho and Jaejoong’s comfortable friendship evolves into something deeper and Yoochun finds himself desiring less the luscious curves of women and more the soft angles he sees in Junsu. Snap and the pressures of work bring Tohoshinki to a breaking point and perhaps the splitting of the group.

While the sexual game acts more as a catalyst to perpetuate the plot and feeling of the characters, it does tend to dominate the story at times. Almost every relationship is expressed through the metaphor of the corresponding sexual encounter. Junsu and Changmin’s easy friendship holds no romantic feeling and when forced to act on the favor, they are awkward and businesslike. This dominance of sex may deter some readers, but the author is using a unique angle to describe the members and the game does force the group to rethink everything they thought they knew. During the game, the members cannot lie or excuse their desires and thus are made to realize truths about themselves.

Deftly, the author flits from member to member and gives the reader glimpses into the psyche of each. Tohoshinki, even before the game, is close and their camaraderie is easily seen in how Bluetent has them interact. One of the best parts of the novel is the sheer attraction that can be felt between the two pairs of lovers. The reader can feel with every word and phrase how deeply these relationships run and crushing pressure to hide them. On the whole, Snap is a beautifully written piece about the powerful forces of lust and love.
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