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Author Topic: Legomaestro's Light Novel Reviews  (Read 239 times)

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Online legomaestro

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Legomaestro's Light Novel Reviews
« on: March 08, 2017, 12:52:36 PM »
Legomaestro's Light Novel Reviews

Having gotten my hand on the almighty Kindle-chan, I can now go full throttle when it comes to reviewing Light Novels. I'll put up a general list for what I've reviewed here, and these things will mostly be surface level reviews and very opinionated. In any case, I hope they help you find something worth picking up.


List

Goblin Slayer

Grimgar Fantasy of Ash
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 12:03:16 PM by legomaestro »

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Review for Goblin Slayer
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2017, 12:54:56 PM »


Review for Goblin Slayer Volume 1

Goblin Slayer - My first kindle-chan light novel. I've read eBooks on my computer before, when I was really desperate to get through a series, but it's never been quite as comfortable as reading it on a dedicated novel reader. Interestingly enough, the whole portability and no-connection-to-internet thing really do end up making the reading that much better. I'll always prefer hard copy books for the experience, but there's no beating blitzing through pages simply by touching the screen-


Goblin Slayer is a very self-explanatory story title. I first saw this at random as a manga, thought to myself 'I have time to kill' and decided to check it out. Judging from the art style, I already had a sense of a sort of serious fantasy drawn with cute characters, in the vein of Re:Monster.
I read the manga first and enjoyed it immensely. Reading the book, I was counting on the narration to be good enough to warrant going through it. I'm glad to say that it was.

I've always liked light novels because of their flow. With the simple yet effective language I found myself going through the story so effortlessly I almost finished the book in one sitting. The author has a quirk where no character names are mentioned, instead naming every single character by their occupation and describing them by their various actions and dialogue. It's the mark of good writing that I was still able to glean how unique each and every character was.

Goblin Slayer isn't something that should inspire terror, but it is. The man is a single minded beast absolutely focused on the singular task of killing goblins, no matter how pitiful it seemed for an adventurer like him to do so.

It's interesting how a protagonist aiming at something so weak can end up so multi-layered. It's clearly a tale of revenge, and even before you know why exactly he's become like this, it's chilling to see what lengths he goes through to kill the goblins. He doesn't use any magic: Just cold calculated tactics and efficiency.

Unfortunately, a harem seems to be gathering around him, but fortunately, the side characters make for an interesting foil to the protagonist. There are some really nice sentimental moments in between the action scenes and really show you that this isn't a fantasy about the protagonist becoming the strongest.

In fact, the novel actually makes fun of this: Dedicating a short chapter to some grand story of a hero who's off slaying a demon overlord.

My only problem with reading Goblin Slayer would be the aforementioned harem: This is something that goes hand in hand with novels that are more interested in chopping off the main plot and resolution to sell off piece by piece and volume by volume. So between waiting for translations and the general trend of such light novels, I don't expect to be reaching some grand roaring conclusion any time soon.

Still, I'm quite fond of this novel. I'd say pick up the manga first if you want to give it a shot, but I'd recommend the light novel too eventually.


« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 12:38:07 PM by legomaestro »

Offline Nairbons

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Re: Legomaestro's Light Novel Reviews
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2017, 05:30:38 PM »
Ooh, neat. I'm gonna keep an eye on this thread since I've got a low-end tablet coming myself in the next few days, and I've been looking for some light novels to try out. Do you have any other particular novels in mind for the next few reviews?

Online legomaestro

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Re: Legomaestro's Light Novel Reviews
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2017, 06:09:44 PM »
Cheers. I'm definitely going to be doing this regularly. Next on the line is Grimgar, I Saved Too Many Girls And Caused The Apocalypse and Shield Hero

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Review for Grimgar Fantasy of Ash
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2017, 06:40:02 PM »
Review for Grimgar Fantasy of Ash

Grimgar, Grimgar, Fantasy of Ash. It's a story about a group of amnesiatic people who are clearly from a modern world, with bare hints at their past lives and personalities stuck in a fantasy world. Think of how Angel Beats gives you its wacky world with you knowing quite clearly that something is wrong, but giving enough entertainment for you to follow the story on the ground rather than questioning too much about their origins.

It's impossible to talk about this light novel anymore without considering the anime that came of it. What came first between the chick and the egg? What's more important between the heart and the brain? It's that sort of relationship - One came later than the other, one should seem more important than the other, but they are mutual existences with equal worth.

So i'll say it in advance: If you want to read this light novel, watch the anime!

Have you ever watched a mysterious anime that somehow manages to be slow but actually has a reason for it? It's not slow pacing or cheapness, it's something that fits the mood and theme of the story quite well. I'm no art critic or anything, but I legitimately felt a beauty to this show that'll haunt me forever. The art style really complimented the narrative, and it was truly a fun watch.
I actually made a post art dump related to this feeling. Your eyes melt with happiness.

As for the light novel itself, I have to say I understand why people buy reiterations of merchandise and stuff: I already knew what was going to happen storywise, but because the narrative was so well done and let me have a closer perspective to the main hero, I had a closer insight to things.

Other than the practical reason for enjoying reading Grimgar, you cannot understate how unique the story is. Strangely enough, every single ebook I've read so far has the premise of 'Going into a fantasy world'(Probably a reason why it was banned here), but Grimgar manages to pull it off in its own special moody way.

Through Haruhiro, a true every day man with amnesia, it poses those frustrating questions that everyone asks themselves - We started at the same place, how are other people better than us? I want to do what I want, but how can I do that when I can't even feed myself? Along with fun questions like what if those goblins you're farming for experience points also want to live and enjoy life? They don't want to die, right?

Typical of light novels, the reading is very simple. Especially because I've watched the anime, visualizing scenes was all the more easier, but I think the narration fits the story.
While I enjoyed both volumes, I found the 2nd Volume better because it really shows you that Haruhiro is a simple person like everyone else. Unfortunately, it's quite obvious how much Grimgar is being 'marketed' rather than told.

The anime feels like a more complete treatement of a story and it fits the theme with its conclusion, but the light novels are definitely cutting off active plot elements to facilitate further volumes.

So, unless you have patience with endless tales that aren't closed (Seriously, expect to wait years between translation gaps and cross your fingers to reach the end) then you might be in for a rough ride. However, if you're only interested in matching the anime to the written text, then you can still work with the first two volumes and stop there.

Personally, I'm in it till it ends, because the characters have really grown on me, and I liked it. Simple as that. 
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 12:37:56 PM by legomaestro »

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Review for Kubikiri Cycle
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2017, 12:37:28 PM »


Kubukiri Cycle is a novel I looked up years ago when I first watched Bakemonogatari. Because of where I lived at the time and the actual fact that it was out of stock online, getting my hands on it was a pipe dream. Heck, I couldn't even find an ebook version. So rare it was.

I finally found it and instantly ordered it along with its apparently long delayed sequel that I'm reading now, and funny enough this counts my first official Nisioisin work to read.

It was a very subjective experience. Because I was in a horrid mood at the time I rage-read the book, and if there is anyone that makes frustrating characters then look no further than Nisioisin. Their unique unfairness and overly stated characteristics that always somehow manage to frustrate your world view even if they conform to yours is a masterpiece of the author's work. I always felt it when I watched Bakemonogatari. How the protagonist seems more often than not helpless in the face of the wacky and insane idiosyncracies of those he meets. Even in Katanagatari, although the protagonist was goku-like, not even that could save him from safely navigating the craziness of the people he faced. Gawd, his sister both terrified and annoyed me with her unfairness and OPness and sheer ability for empathy that was greater than her brother.

This man can write, and I thought that his famous word playing would be lost in translation, and I'm sure some were, but the translator did a pretty good job here.

The only thing is, it felt quite incoherent sometimes. And for a murder mystery, I was extremely, swearing out loud annoyed at how the narrator actively obscured pertinent facts only to reveal them much much later. You find yourself begging to be told something you need, some clue you need, and even after you finally get that you're in for an insane twist at the end that is quintessential Nisioisin. I was, I must say, impressed.



So what's it about?

The synopsis will tell you about the protagonist, a university drop out who escorts a genius hacker to an island where a marooned mistress invites geniuses to visit here. There, a decapitation murder occurs (hence kubikiri) and now they have to find out who the killer is.

If you read that synopsis, you've already lost. Because this story is more about mediocrity and genius. About willpower and reason. And I promise you, you'll be grinding your teeth with the main character at a point if you go on long enough.

I won't lie, some passages make reading really hard.  At a point I literally stopped reading to write out what he wrote, wondering how somebody could possibly condone putting that on paper with their own hands. Here is the excerpt I wrote. The protagonist is mulling over a new revelation... It takes 100 pages for him to show the cards to the reader by the way. Like I said, fun.

Quote
The mountain of sand was almost coomplete.

"Seriously. This is what I call nonsense..."

And. After a while...

"Is that it?" I muttered.

But that was...

"No way... That can't be right..."

That couldn't be it.

Like that could possibly be it.

What sort of logic was that.


The author refuses to mention a single description without counterbalancing it. The dialogue between the characters is also almost always the same. He's clearly well read as the story is peppered with all sorts of references, from Dante's Inferno to the difference between PCs and GPCs.

It's such a small book in comparision to what it could be, which is why I'm all the more impressed at how much of a wallop it packed. But oh man I was frustrated when I read it.




I refuse to rate this book, as well as refuse to recommend it to anybody. I just wouldn't know how, but I do know that it made me think. And I'm starting to wonder if pure linear recording and narration of facts is what makes a story, or a sort of nebuliac narration with exagerrated immoveable character archetypes that mercilessly stand behind their philosophies. If I could, I would like to be able to write a story like that. It really feels like it gets closer to the themes of a story than any regular stale murder mystery would be able to.
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