I spent an entire month talking about Arina Tanemura so let's move on to someone different,Lily Hoshino. She's been featured here a couple of times before for her yaoi collections and after last months heterosexual extravaganza, I could use a shake up. Mr. Flower Bride is yet again a collection of yaoi stories though the volume neglects to mention the other stories instead focusing on the titular story. I can forgive it though since the other stories are far less interesting and take up space that could have been used for the better main story.
The Mr. Flower Bride chapters focus on Aoi and Shinji as they get swept up in Shinji's family tradition of marrying the youngest son off to a guy to prevent succession disputes among the children. While this could be an interesting jumping off point for dealing with people forced to love a person of a gender they have no interest in,this is never explored. It does however take a short time to show Shinji coming to terms with his attraction to Aoi despite his worry of getting Aoi involved in a tradition that people view as a punishment in someway.
The remaining chapters detail their wedding night and a few other isolated events and it works well to develop their relationship and how it affects others. I wouldn't call the characters fully developed but they work well enough for the short time we see them. Like My Only King there is the starting of something rather interesting here but it fails to follow through. The story right after that is a role reversal of the main couple's archetype and actually lends a little more to building up the setting with more insight into this tradition. Letting this run alongside the main story would actually be interesting as a way to expand the setting. However, my hopes for this story will have to wait for the sequel as it's pushed aside for more one shots.
The other two side stories are just sort of sitting there. One's about a bodyguard who needs protecting and a pretty boy in a brothel finding his true love. It's well trod ground for yaoi and seems to be struggling for a reason to exist outside of fulling a boy sex quota. The latter story breaks the mold that the book set by again putting a girly uke in it. Up till now the manga-ka had stopped drawing her ukes too girly. They were just feminine enough to work and the role reversal chapter works better because of the style. However,here he's back to being a borderline trap,and while not a bad story, it's was done better in The Seabed of Night. On there own these would be okay stories but here they are interrupting a better story and lack the interesting aspects and developments of the main story..
Like Mistress Fortune, the main story is going along with the sillier bits with a wink and a nod. Unlike that however it does try to build a setting that works and examine different facets of this relationship. The more stand alone style of the chapters could form an interesting tale given the time but this was a story shot in the legs and left for dead. Overall not worth it,unless all you want some nicely drawn guy loving.