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What Light Novel are you reading right now?

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3 minutes ago, MeguminBlast said:

I decided to be a degenerate and read the High School DxD light novels and so far red haired girl that I'll call Luci cause I don't know her real name hasn't really appeared yet and MC's girlfriend killed him.

You're really reckless)) I have my doubt you'll endure almost 30 volumes of that)

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Read through the translated part of Kenkyo Kenjitsu. Heh. I was mostly avoiding starting new LNs/WNs for a while, considering that looking for the ones that are actually worth reading is pretty exhausting, but it looks like I finally succeeded. :yumiko:

To be honest, I don't see much sense in describing its story. It's mostly a good for its comedy, and the story, basically, just happens. Its main strong point is that, in spite of the general premise being kind of over the top, the characters actually come off surprisingly normal. The author manages to avoid most annoying tropes from most light novels. Definitely recommend reading if you are okay with slower pace. Even you you've never read a shoujo LN before it's a pretty good place to start.

Actually, I'm surprised this still doesn't have or proper commercial version. It seems to be pretty popular even in Japan, and it's better than many proper LNs. And it definitely deserves it a lot more than most battle harems that get released nowadays.

PS. It's also a surprisingly healing story btw.

Edited by Dreamysyu

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Was in a mood to read something decent in "reincarnated as a vileness oujousama" genre.

NEOBK-1912496.jpg

Watashi wa Teki ni Narimasen! Has terrible translation at the beginning, but it gets better. Sadly, the translation was dropped right where the war started and the story started to get interesting. Overall, the setting is very intriguing, and, unlike what the cover suggests, it seems to be mostly focused of the warfare. Will read further if I have a chance.

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 Shini Yasui Kōshaku Reijō to Shichi-nin no Kikōshi.  Disclaimer: the translation has some noticeable issues, but overall. I'd say, it's still readable, at least for me. The story, on the other hand, is actually pretty good. :yumiko: At least, I got hooked.

The story consists of the nice mix of some action, fantasy and mystery. Just note that this novel takes a while to get going. I'd say, so far each new volume got progressively better. The first volume is almost entirely dedicated to dungeon exploration, and this might put off some readers. Starting with the second volume a lot of more new characters enter the story, and the main overarching mystery slowly becomes more and more important, and in the third volume we finally get introduced to how the magic works in this world. Overall, I'm definitely looking forward to continuing this novel. Since it's still ongoing in Japan, I hope the author doesn't drop it and we see the ending at some point.

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Does anyone but me still care about this thread, lol?

So, anyway, since it will soon have an anime adaptation and I've been kind of interested in this series for a while, I decided to read the first two volumes of So I am a spider. So what? Overall, it was pretty good, but some things make me cautious.

Overall, this is more of a dark comedy type of isekai. I noticed that these tend to be hit or miss for me, but this one is pretty entertaining so far, but I feel like I might get bored if there's no major development in the story in the next volume.

The somewhat unique thing about this story is that the entire MC's class got isekaied, and it's pretty entertaining to watch how they cope with their new roles.

At the same time, I'm not really sure how I feel about the plot twist at the end of the second volume. I kind of suspect that it might be a massive red herring, and even if it is that, I feel like it exists only for the sake of there being a plot twist, and I'm not really sure I like where this story is going.

I'm also still following Shini Yasui (which I mentioned in the previous post) and it's actually getting better and better as the story progresses. I really like how the author masterfully foreshadows the story and the mystery, and the character development is pretty neat too. It's actually very hard to find a web novel this well-written. Really a shame this isn't more popular. It would be great to see an anime (or, at least, a manga) adaptation at some point, but the chances are basically zero.

Edited by Dreamysyu

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6 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

Arifureta is such a weeby garbage tbh.

And that's exactly that makes it so enjoyable. :rubycry:

I guess I'm already too far gone...

Well the first volume is still pretty good (though edgy asf), gets too cliched and boring from there.
Dropped it after the 3rd volume.

 

The novel that's been on my mind recently is Lord of Secrets, which is also the best ln I read in the past year.
Really good novel, the plot and characters are both great. The world background and the mysteries surrounding it are always interesting to follow.
The power setting of 22 routes/sequences that replace the traditional mage/warrior is beautifully made.

Basically I recommend it highly, definitely worth the read.

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Spice and Wolf (11 Volumes) - The first light novel I ever tried reading. I brought a load of volumes during a holiday a couple of years ago, and it became my sole source of entertainment. Homely entertainment, anyway. As a result, I ate the volumes up in a week, reading 10 or 11 of them. It, uh, exhausted me, to say the least, and also ensured I failed to commit most of them to memory. Especially with the complicated topics that were oft breached and the Yen Press translation that I thought made it harder to parse for a plebeian such as I.
I like the character interactions and am okay with the economics, so I should love this, but I found them rather dense. And now, when I try to restart at volume 12 three years later, I quickly realise that the gap creates issues of both memory and engagement. But every time I see the volume 16 cover I feel compelled to try again...!
I should try and make it daily reading on the train or some such.

In Another World With My Smartphone (5 Volumes) - As the translator, which I follow on twitter, often talked about his work on this series, I felt tempted to try it. Indeed, it tackles a lot of themes I really should enjoy. And I did, as I read it. The main character finds romance and there's actual development on that department; He's overpowered and free to do whatever he feels like; He's a "political player", even though the politics here are more hilarious than anything else. By all means I should love it, and yet there's one big problem: Not enough focus on character interactions. There's loads of characters, and all of them have moments, but with such a large cast a lot of them seem to be lacking a personality, or, more specifically, seem to only display it whenever the author feels it is convenient.

This is a recurring issue I have with Light Novels: The non-reader-perspective characters only speak, interact, or act whenever it is convenient for the plot or if the author has determined this is to be a character interaction moment (such as some slice-of life chapters or group discussions), and they'll be ignored or just be in the background (doing not much in particular) otherwise. How can this be fixed? Well...

Konosuba (9 Volumes) - Unquestionably the best light novel I have read. Characters have character! They do things! They have personalities! They're doing things even when it's not meant to be their moment or required for the plot! Even if characters are "off-screen" you hear about the consequences of their actions or how their mood has been affected or whatever! Konosuba is the king of character interaction, and that is the single aspect I most appreciate, and the reason Visual Novels are (usually) my entertainment medium of choice. Phenomenal. Especially so for the plotpoint that started in volume 5 and came to a head again in volume 9!

@cro-mag - With Volume 6 of Konosuba I definitely felt... odd. It's like it suddenly took a random turn and veered right off-course into the middle of chaos. I initially thought the development to be kind of generic, but quickly found that I love the characters too much to mind. Whatever position they're put in will turn out alright when you consider their ridiculousness, in my eyes. It's also the first moment that I came to realise that they're really all trashy human beings that require a lot of poking and prodding to let their stubbornness go and play nice. I'm glad I still love them all.

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom (6 Volumes) - I loved the first two volumes! A whole lot! The themes this tackles are very much to my interest (government, politics, military, development, etc), and there is romance and development in that area! Lovely! However, the more volumes I read the more it came to suffer from the same things as Smartphone. With so many members of the cast, it becomes difficult to give them all life. Those who were interesting and intricate in 2 were by now forgotten or flanderised in 6. I can clearly recall moments created to provide them with personality and all that, but I cannot do anything but file away those attempts as generic, or at least, they failed to elicit a good reaction from my part. I have cause to believe that perhaps large casts on this level are simply unmanageable. I cannot keep an emotional connection with them all. Minatosoft most writers are not.

Hokuou Kizoku to Moukinzuma no Yukiguni Karigurashi (2 Volumes) - A fan translation, which unfortunately isn't very good, on top of the topics already being... slightly uninteresting to me (lots of cooking, butchering, hunting, etc.). The premise of the novel itself, however, is excellent. The characters are excellent. Romance is one of the main topics, and it's really good! I like the personality and design on of the main character and his wife. It's really great. It's just that the existing translation for it is not very good in English.

An Archdemon's Dilemma (3 Volumes) - Volume one was perfection. It feels as if it were made such that the whole thing could've ended there. Wonderfully self-contained and loose ends generally tied. But it continued, and I'm glad it did! Romance is one of the focus areas, so that's already 11/10, but it goes further! I like the personality of the protagonist, and, for once, the battle scenes! The Sorcerers' fashion sense slightly aligns with mine own, and for some of the battles the descriptions try to show the main character as keeping calm and taking care of business with a single arm with the other behind his back. Not every time, but it's enough to make me all happy inside. Second best series I've read to date, aside from Konosuba.

About the Reckless Girl Who Kept Challenging a Reborn Man Like Me  (Completed) - A oneshot. A beautiful, emotional, powerful oneshot. I think this is very much worth reading. As usual for me, Romance.

Marietta-hime no Konrei (Complete) - Something I stumbled upon whilst looking to see if 18+ Light Novels were a thing. This is the fluffiest fluff that hath ever fluffed. It's fantastic, and the princess in this is the most precious thing in existence. Characters are not real people, so it's good to be able to appreciate a character that can be made to be so lovable and... just create happiness.

Lazy Dungeon Master (2 Volumes) - Probably the third best series I've read. Unlike others it's not particularly addictive, but it's always enjoyable while I read it. The character interactions are also fun. The main character's got a strange fetish that gets played up all the time, but at least it clears any illusions of possible romance, so it's way better than those novels that constantly tease something that'll only be resolved in 20 volumes. As a side note... It's also got the most explicit illustrations in a light novel series that I've seen! One of the colour pictures in volume two would not look out of place in my local eroge (and I actually prefer its intimacy to what is typically present in said eroge)! I also like the character design for the main character. It's interesting.

Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! (6 Volumes) - Love a whole bunch of stuff. The main character has traits I really enjoy, the most stand-out of which is being unabashedly (technically not unabashedly, actually) OP and everyone recognising that is the case. I love that it's generally light-hearted and that it's an adventure story. It also does the cast pretty decently. It's not ideal, but the characters in the party have personalities and I do feel attached to them to some extent (though I may be starting to lose that a bit at this point). It's also somewhat of a problem that most of Mile's inner thoughts and jokes very specific weeb references I don't get or puns that scarcely count as puns because they only make sense with a Japanese pronunciation, for example (by Japanese pronunciation I am referring to, for example, the English words that have been incorporated into the Japanese language. Their meaning sometimes even changes and they don't always sound like the English equivalent).

 

 

After all this, I wanted to ask if anyone has any recommendations.
I'd be especially interested in anything that has romance that is actually romance and not just "feelings" that'll get addressed in the centenary volume. I can take waiting 5 volumes or something for there to be a confession or something of the sort after the interest was teased to the reader. But if that's not going to happen, then please have the decency to not tease such a thing!

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Oh, well, here we go.

2 hours ago, Mr Poltroon said:

About the Reckless Girl Who Kept Challenging a Reborn Man Like Me  (Completed) - A oneshot. A beautiful, emotional, powerful oneshot. I think this is very much worth reading. As usual for me, Romance.

I absolutely agree! The story is absolutely beautiful and deep, and there's a very good reason why its rating on NU is so high. I believe, it was something like 4.9? It's probably one of the highest rated novels there.

2 hours ago, Mr Poltroon said:

This is a recurring issue I have with Light Novels: The non-reader-perspective characters only speak, interact, or act whenever it is convenient for the plot or if the author has determined this is to be a character interaction moment (such as some slice-of life chapters or group discussions), and they'll be ignored or just be in the background (doing not much in particular) otherwise. How can this be fixed? Well...

You know, this is exactly why I like Ascendance of a Bookworm, which just happens to have a reasonably good anime adaptation this season, as much as I do. While Myne herself plays the central role in the story, she is just a sickly little girl and can't really do anything without other people helping her. The other characters are still there, they are just living their own lives in this realistic fantasy world. They have their own problems which they have to deal with. And the worldbuilding is amazing. Really, this is my second favorite LNs of all time, people who read it in Japanese say that it gets even better later on, so there's a good chance that it will become the first.

There's no romance though. Apparently, there is some romance in the last third of the story, but the story is gigantic. I think, the original WN had something like 700 or 800 chapters, with only ~70 currently translated in the official translation (and the WN fan-translation isn't that far ahead).

2 hours ago, Mr Poltroon said:

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom (6 Volumes) - I loved the first two volumes! A whole lot! The themes this tackles are very much to my interest (government, politics, military, development, etc), and there is romance and development in that area! Lovely! However, the more volumes I read the more it came to suffer from the same things as Smartphone. With so many members of the cast, it becomes difficult to give them all life. Those who were interesting and intricate in 2 were by now forgotten or flanderised in 6. I can clearly recall moments created to provide them with personality and all that, but I cannot do anything but file away those attempts as generic, or at least, they failed to elicit a good reaction from my part. I have cause to believe that perhaps large casts on this level are simply unmanageable. I cannot keep an emotional connection with them all. Minatosoft most writers are not.

To be honest, I dropped it after about half of the first volume. While I'm a big fan of these types of "political" stories, I just didn't like the characters and felt like their interactions exist simply to push the story forward rather than to do anything else.

There's another light novel with a similar premise that I know, Accomplishments of a Duke's Daughter, and I personally enjoyed this one a lot more. Sadly, only the manga adaptation is officially available in English, and I wouldn't really recommend reading the WN fan-translation for various reasons. I had to drop it after the translation got kind of bad, plus the manga version, which seems to be based on the LN, is just a lot better at establishing the characters and making them stand out. So, I decided to wait before, maybe, some company decides to license the LN too. Though, I guess, since I've already been waiting for two years, maybe it's time to just read the manga or the WN...

Overall, judging by the WN version, it seems to have some similar problems as the Realist Hero (like, most secondary characters are just extremely forgettable), but I guess I just like a proud noblewoman for a MC a lot more than some random Japanese guy. There's no real romance in the part of the story that I read, though I can kind of guess who she will end up with.

2 hours ago, Mr Poltroon said:

Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! (6 Volumes) - Love a whole bunch of stuff. The main character has traits I really enjoy, the most stand-out of which is being unabashedly (technically not unabashedly, actually) OP and everyone recognising that is the case. I love that it's generally light-hearted and that it's an adventure story. It also does the cast pretty decently. It's not ideal, but the characters in the party have personalities and I do feel attached to them to some extent (though I may be starting to lose that a bit at this point). It's also somewhat of a problem that most of Mile's inner thoughts and jokes very specific weeb references I don't get or puns that scarcely count as puns because they only make sense with a Japanese pronunciation, for example (by Japanese pronunciation I am referring to, for example, the English words that have been incorporated into the Japanese language. Their meaning sometimes even changes and they don't always sound like the English equivalent).

You know, this story is definitely far from ideal. Still, it has so many little things that just happen to appeal to me on a personal level, so I guess this is the main reason why I like it so much. For example, while it's mostly a light-hearted slice-of-life story, it still manages to build a reasonably interesting and unique fantasy world, and I'm very intrigued where the main story will lead in the future volumes. Still, the best thing about this LN is definitely Mile herself. I just love her seemingly contradicting airheaded genius personality.

Actually, there are two other LNs by the same author officially available in English, I Shall Survive Using Potions! and Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for my Retirement. I read a few WN chapters for both before they were licensed. The translation was absolutely terrible, so I didn't really get very far, but they seemed pretty good, though not really as good as Average Abilities. Saving Gold has the most unique gimmick of the three though.

PS. Oh, and this doesn't really seem like your type of story, but I'm actually surprised how quickly Arifureta established the main couple. I mean, they are actually in a relationship by the end of the first volume! Not sure if I've seen another LN do that. Most I read have either late romance or no romance at all.

Edited by Dreamysyu

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On 11/9/2019 at 11:59 AM, Mr Poltroon said:

Why, exactly, would you say so? Genuinely interested in finding out if there are some reasons I might not like it.

Well, on second thought, I'm not sure. I suspected this might be a bit dark for your tastes, but you like Grisaia, and it can get a lot darker at some points in the story. Also, I feel like the dark parts are mostly there just to make the MC into a cynical chuuni edgelord, and it actually shifts towards more comedic direction starting with the second volume. Excluding the fact that the MC doesn't particularly hesitate to kill anyone who stands in his path.

I only read the 4 volumes, by the way, so it can make a complete 180 turn later on, of course. I plan to finish it, but I already spent a bit too much money on entertainment this month. :makina:

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19 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

Well, on second thought, I'm not sure. I suspected this might be a bit dark for your tastes, but you like Grisaia, and it can get a lot darker at some points in the story. Also, I feel like the dark parts are mostly there just to make the MC into a cynical chuuni edgelord, and it actually shifts towards more comedic direction starting with the second volume. Excluding the fact that the MC doesn't particularly hesitate to kill anyone who stands in his path.

I only read the 4 volumes, by the way, so it can make a complete 180 turn later on, of course. I plan to finish it, but I already spent a bit too much money on entertainment this month. :makina:

Your new assessment (this one) is correct. I invested into two volumes and found that I quite like it.
I first suspected I wouldn't mind it when I first started seeing comedy pop up frequently. I believe that if you're capable of pulling these hilarious shenanigans frequently with your setting, then surely your edge is not too much for me. As of volume two I'm entirely convinced. If you have a slapstick party member then you can only be a good story in my book.

I dislike stories with pessimistic worldviews, but that isn't the case here. Not really. Enough emotional bonds have been formed that I not longer fear the story.
I dislike stories that tease things and then don't deliver on them. But this one's done a good job so far.
It seems like this story is here for the audience to enjoy, not to torture them or to make them invested to drag the story. That's excellent for me.

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1 hour ago, Mr Poltroon said:

Your new assessment (this one) is correct. I invested into two volumes and found that I quite like it.
I first suspected I wouldn't mind it when I first started seeing comedy pop up frequently. I believe that if you're capable of pulling these hilarious shenanigans frequently with your setting, then surely your edge is not too much for me. As of volume two I'm entirely convinced. If you have a slapstick party member then you can only be a good story in my book.

I dislike stories with pessimistic worldviews, but that isn't the case here. Not really. Enough emotional bonds have been formed that I not longer fear the story.
I dislike stories that tease things and then don't deliver on them. But this one's done a good job so far.
It seems like this story is here for the audience to enjoy, not to torture them or to make them invested to drag the story. That's excellent for me.

Well, if you like the comedy, then you'll most likely love the next volume then. :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, I guess, if I'm not the only person posting in this thread anymore, I guess, I'll post about a few other things that I read recently.

So I'm a Spider. So What? I caught up with the localization (currently at volume 6), and the protagonist is still absolutely hilarious, and, moreover, my worries after finishing the second volume were completely unfounded. The plot twists so far were absolutely amazing, Ever17 level of amazing, and I suspect that it will get even better later on. The writing is also surprisingly solid. It definitely has the most complex story structure I've seen in an LN so far. The reader is only shown some parts of the big picture through different perspective, and it slowly starts making more and more sense as the story progresses, and all the little things that the story made you believe so far turn out to be completely false. Which is exactly why you should not look up anything about this series before starting it, since the spoilers are basically everywhere. I managed to avoid spoilers as I was binge-reading it, but after that I accidentally stumbled upon some big reveals that will happen later. And it doesn't help that many people read the WN version (by the way, I looked it up to see how different some scenes were there, but the translation is unreadable, so I'd definitely recommend to follow the official LN translation like I did).

 

Falling In Love With the Villainess. The rating on NU was really high, and even though this WN never had an official LN release, I didn't really consider it a problem since I know a few other great stories that are the same. Sadly, while it was really intriguing in the beginning, it turned into a massive disappointment by the end of the first story arc, and I dropped it by the middle of the second arc.

Starting with the good things. Surprisingly, I liked the romance. While the relationship between Rion and Ariel seemed kind of cancerous at first, it turned really sweet later on! Another thing, not many isekais cover the themes of social equality in the Medieval or early Modern societies, but this one did, and it was pretty interesting to see. Sadly, the plot is just trash. First of all, this is the one type of LN that really didn't need an OP protagonist. It doesn't serve any purpose at all and just makes the experience bland. Secondly, the main "villain",

Spoiler

by which I mean the rules of the world that make it roughly follow the events of game even if it doesn't make much sense,

just happens to be even more ridiculously OP, which is the opposite problem for most isekais. I mean, all fictional stories need good balance. Just as with the protagonist, if you make the villain so OP that nothing the main characters can do will change the flow of the events, the story turns extremely predictable and boring. I mean, in this particular case this is not even necessarily true, as there are some hits how the MC will be able to overcome these complications eventually. But the way the author decides to show it, with constant foreshadowing of doom and gloom and remarks of how powerless the main characters are, just gets extremely annoying after a while.

You know, ironically, this actually could turn into a really good story if it got an official release where the author would have to rewrite these annoying parts. So far, it has potential, but it's just not there.

 

Even Though I’m a Former Noble and a Single Mother, My Daughters Are Too Cute and Working as an Adventurer Isn’t Too Much of a Hassle. Well it's another story with good potential that just doesn't work because the writing sucks. To be brief, the villains are just comically evil and incompetent, while the good guys are just way too OP and just bland. I mean, I'm not to against OP characters if the book follows on comedy and SOL and not on the actual story, but, for some reason, this one decides to actually focus on the story while it would work a lot better as a healing type SOL. Dropped after 3 volumes.

 

Drop!! ~A Tale of the Fragrance Princess~ Well, it's just a very sweet shoujo novel. The story isn't particularly good, but it's an ideal story to relax to after a hard day. Also, the romance is very sweet, even if it's your typical "the girl doesn't realize her feelings, and the boy is too much of a coward to confess".

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20 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

So I'm a Spider. So What? I caught up with the localization (currently at volume 6), and the protagonist is still absolutely hilarious, and, moreover, my worries after finishing the second volume were completely unfounded. The plot twists so far were absolutely amazing, Ever17 level of amazing, and I suspect that it will get even better later on. The writing is also surprisingly solid. It definitely has the most complex story structure I've seen in an LN so far. The reader is only shown some parts of the big picture through different perspective, and it slowly starts making more and more sense as the story progresses, and all the little things that the story made you believe so far turn out to be completely false. Which is exactly why you should not look up anything about this series before starting it, since the spoilers are basically everywhere. I managed to avoid spoilers as I was binge-reading it, but after that I accidentally stumbled upon some big reveals that will happen later. And it doesn't help that many people read the WN version (by the way, I looked it up to see how different some scenes were there, but the translation is unreadable, so I'd definitely recommend to follow the official LN translation like I did).

Kumo Desu Ka is indeed a good novel. 
I'd read the WN quite a while back, so don't really know how different LN is. The WN did have some issues in the later parts with more perspectives being introduced, but overall wasn't too bad. Not sure till where LN has reached, but I read till the point where 'White' was introduced (not saying more cause spoilers).
Plot twists are indeed great, I especially like that the 'obvious' situations (cliches) are given some background/reasons and not just swept under the rug.
The monologue of Kumoko is a major draw point at the start and remains entertaining throughout.

Also the parallel minds are just hilarious.

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It's been a while since I updated my progress on this thread. Here are a few things I read recently and consider worth talking about. Not in any particular order.

Official releases:

51keyGksJjL._SY346_.jpg

Kumo desu ga (volume 7). Not posting the cover for the 7th volume because it's full of spoilers. I was afraid that the quality might start going downhill after the big reveal at the end of Volume 5, and I'm so glad that it didn't happen. The newest volume managed to impress me quite a lot, even if it was almost completely action-focused. The new plot twists are just as amazing as the ones in volume 5. I want more!

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Honzuki (part 2 volumes 1 and 2). Well, I finally caught up with what I read in the WN version, and it looks like this book is steadily getting better and better. The worldbuilding is getting more and more detailed. In these volumes we get some glimpses of how the magic and noble society function in this world. At the end of the second volume it started going in a bit weird direction, and it makes me extremely cautions that it seemingly decided to play straight some annoying isekai tropes that it was avoiding before that, but I'm pretty sure everything will be fine. At least, the epilogue was actually pretty emotional. For some reason, while it was good, I never really felt as much emotional connection with the anime as I do with the books.

Also, speaking about the anime, the first scene of the first episode was finally shown, and I think like it was mistranslated there. Actually, I still have no idea why the anime even decided to spoil this scene if the way it was shown makes the viewer to get some wrong ideas.

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So, I caught up with Arifureta (volumes 5-10). Well, just as expected it's still just the same trashy trash as the first four volumes were, but it's also very entertaining to read. Honestly, I still don't understand why I even like this LN. There are so many things that I would normally expect to hate. At the same time, It somehow manages to always remain interesting. I guess, the main strong point in this book is that the pacing is actually pretty good. Unlike in most LNs, you can more or less always tell what the end goal of the story is, and there's nothing that feels like filler. Actually, I think I like the last two volumes the most in the LN so far. I totally didn't see the plot twist in volume 10 coming, even if now I understand that it was pretty obvious from the start.

Also, come on, man, stop growing your harem. It's way too disturbing at this point.

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Average Abilities (volume 8 ). Well, this volume disappointed me a bit. The comedy is getting a bit old and repetative (I think, many of the jokes were already used in the author's earlier works), and the story is getting nowhere. You know, this is a good example of how light novels that start very starong often run out of steam if they continue for too long.

Fan-translations.

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「Omae Gotoki ga Maou ni Kateru to Omou na」 to Yuusha Party wo Tsuihou Sareta no de, Outo de Kimama ni Kurashitai  (I Was Told That I Wouldn’t Be Able To Defeat The Demon Lord And Kicked Out Of The Hero’s Party, So Now I Just Want An Ordinary Life In The Capital) (volumes 1-3) is amazing. It starts with a pretty usual WN fantasy trope where the MC with seemingly useless ability suddenly turns out to be pretty strong, but there's much more in the story than just that. Quite definitely deserves an official release. First of all, it's yuri with decent plot, interesting itrigue, ineresting characters and good action scenes. Secondly, it's literally the first time when I found horror in an LN so disturbing. I don't know, for some reason the body horror gets to me a lot better than the stuff about ghost or zombies. Definitely going to follow this one!

Apotheosis of a Demon – A Monster Evolution Story. (The whole story - the translation is finished). Well, another decent WN that for some weird reason never got an official release. (yet?) Overall, I wouldn't call it particularly deep or novel, but the story is immensely entertaining. It has a rather interesting and, to my knowledge, unique twist on the "reincarnated in the game world" genre, where unaware players are used by the governments and the corporation for getting resources from a real parallel world. Also, I'm pretty surprised in which direction Shedy's character developed, since I expected something different.

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I Decided to Not Compete and Quietly Create Dolls Instead. Well, as it often happens in the WN world, it has an interesting idea, but rather mediocre realization and not so great translation. I'm only mentioning it here because of a certain twist from the still untranslated chapters which I spoiled for myself. I definitely didn't expect this type of mindfuck from an otome villainess LN. :makina:

Spoiler

Basically, the protagonist from an otome game in which Altrea, the MC of the novel, got reincarnated, was a homunculus the original Altrea created as her ideal self.

Other than this one, there are a few more shoujo LNs/WNs that I started, but all of them are either pretty bad or still don't have enough translated chapters to judge.

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Well, looks like it's time for a new update.

Recently I've been looking through some shoujo novels published by J-novel club, and I had some pretty mixed reactions about them.

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I Refuse to Be Your Enemy. I've already read this novel as a fan-translation, but I dropped it back then because of some reasons unrelated to the quality of the novel itself. Overall though my impressions about it didn't change. It looks like a rather well-written fantasy story with good characters. There isn't really much else to say about this story from just one volume, but it definitely shows some good potential and may become one of my favorites.

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Tearmoon Empire. To be honest, I wasn't able to finish even the first volume, but it isn't really the fault of this novel. The problem is that it is a comedy of misunderstandings, and I feel like this type of comedy needs some very specific tastes to be enjoyed. I read a few other novels like that, but the problem is that I simply can't help but be irritated when due to some impossible odds every character ends up completely misinterpreting the MC's actions and believe that she is some kind of a genius saint, while in reality she's anything but.

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The White Cat's Revenge as Plotted from the Dragon King's Lap. :michiru: Well, I guess this works as a guilty pleasure, and I may even read the second volume. The story is cute and all... But, honestly, how this kind of trash even managed to get an official release, let alone the English translation? It's full of plot holes, all characters act like overgrown kids who create problems from nothing, and the MC is confirmed to be ridiculously OP early on (I mean, she can literally switch off magic in an entire country if she really wishes for it), but the next moment she is completely powerless. What the hell? I mean, if you make you characters OP, at least make them consistently OP.

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The Extraordinary, the Ordinary, and SOAP! Lol. Overall, it's basically just a cute shoujo fantasy story. There's nothing really amazing in it, but it's just consistently good, and the MC is pretty hardworking, which I always like. I personally enjoy this type of stories a lot and definitely going to finish it.

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Can Someone Please Explain What’s Going On?!  Another cute shoujo with a hardworking MC. It started extremely boring, but got pretty okay by the middle of the volume. The only thing that I dislike, and which kind of makes me wonder if I really want to continue reading it, is the fact that the male lead is a bit of an asshole.

 

Other than that, I've been following a few ongoing series, but I've already wrote about them in my earlier posts. Also, I just learned that one of my favorite web novels, Shini Yasui, also got picked up by J-novel by the name of Deathbound Duke's Daughter. Which is pretty crazy, considering that the light novel release in Japan has been on hiatus since 2017, but who knows, maybe this English release will give it enough momentum to continue. I've probably already mentioned these in some other posts, but I think it makes sense to repeat the main reasons why I love this novel. Putting it in the spoiler box for convenience.

Spoiler

It's essentially a mystery story set in a wonderfully well built fantasy world. The author put a lot of effort into research, so the world she created is detailed and fairly unique. There are some really good action scenes, especially in the later volumes. Unlike many other isekai protagonists, the MC, Erica, is not OP, but neither is she completely helpless. Actually, she starts pretty weak, and is mostly protected by the other characters at first, but she finds some hidden powers in herself and gets pretty powerful later on. It feels like she actually deserves to get these powers with all the effort she puts into achieving her goals. Still, even if there are jokes about it in the story itself, she never gets truly OP. All battles are fairly well balanced. The magic system is pretty complex, and it allows Erica to use different strategy for each new opponent. Quite often the way to defeat the main boss in each volume is foreshadowed pretty early on, but it's impossible to recognize the foreshadowing before you actually get to the point where it matters because of how naturally it's included in the story. The mystery itself is similarly well done. It's deeply connected to the world building, and as the story progresses, many small details from early on turn out to be connected to the bigger picture, and by the end of volume 5 almost everything makes sense. (By the way, volume 6 will be the last, but it's not yet released even as a web novel in Japan.) Finally, while it's not really the focus, there are some really disturbing moments, and some pretty touching moments, especially in the backstories of some of the characters.

Just for the record, the first volume is a bit meh compared to the later ones. The start is fairly cliche, and, while it's not really true, it kind of feels like the resolution to the main conflict in this volume comes out of nowhere.

Spoiler

The power of love and friendship strikes again.

It gets a lot better in volume two, and even better in volumes three, four and five after all the main characters are introduced. Sadly, so far only the first two volumes are released officially in Japan, so, unless it continues by then, the translation will probably just get to a big cliffhanger and stop there. Also, the setting of the story gets pretty dark, and, like I said, there are some mildly disturbing scenes. Finally, some readers might be turned off by the reverse harem tag... but, imo, the tag isn't really that true. There are only two guys who are interested in Erica romantically and one more guy who is basically just a friend and a sidekick, and that's really it. And it's not even focused on the romance to begin with, as Erica is completely obvious to romance, just like a proper harem protagonist is supposed to be.

 

Edited by Dreamysyu

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@Dreamysyu

Of what you've read I read Arifureta up till 8 or 9 (can't be bothered to check which).
I have a question for you, though. Do you think you'd be at all interested in Crest of the Stars? I know I sure loved its anime.

Arifureta was actually really enjoyable when I was reading it. I have my problems with it, mostly in regard to the fact that I don't really like action scenes, meaning there are large portions of text I can't help but hope they end. There's also several things that happened and I sort of wish did not, but alas. There are just as many that did happen and I did want to happen. There are many things in the novels which are in direct opposition to my viewpoints and preferences. Elaboration below:

Spoiler

Among things I didn't want to happen is just about everything surrounding the bunnies.

I get it's all a big joke and I can enjoy it for what it is, but what have you done to the cute bunnies... I actively want stories about how running away and dodging and avoiding conflict is the way to win! But no. Merciless bloodthirsty spec ops team time.
Same goes for Shea. It wasn't really noticeable at first, but it feels like the author realised at some point that "Oh. She's not super coward, any more. Let's add some scenes to show off how tough and badass she is now!". This becomes especially noticeable because I think the author hadn't yet decided on this when Shea first re-encountered her changed family (which is why she's despairing at their behaviour), but later went on to make her worse than them in some respects -- added bonus for the irony and hypocrisy! It's fine. That's just what passes for character development in these circumstances.
She's cool, I guess, but my preferences for cool are more along of how Shizuku is than, uh, Shea's super strength and foul language. I don't dislike her at all, mind you, but it's tough seeing a character I love 'develop' into something that's fun but not what I once loved any more.
Case in point, how she dealt with Yue's "weakness". I think it makes complete sense in how the characters are at that point, but boy did I hate that bit. Nothing quite as powerful as witnessing first hand how Shea's personality shifted with time. You can't make a story where Hajime is slowly recovering his emotions and his ability to rely on others and also have Shea 'tough love' Yue this hard insisting on exactly the opposite. :( I wanted her to be nice to her and help her some other way than a huge fight.

Another problem I had is some aspects of the harem he is amassing. There are only three characters I can really see as serious candidates for loving the protagonist. Yue, the premise of the whole thing. Kaori, which would likely end up with him given enough time regardless, and Shea the desperate damsel. Tio's a pervert. I'm not sure how I'd even fit her into this.
Outside of these people, everyone else has no business falling for the protagonist, in my opinion. I mean, why degrade the character of the teacher with that? What purpose did it actually serve? How the teacher interacted with Hajime and started change with him is the high point of the story for me! She's just doing her best for her students, and her character is such that she won't give up on prioritizing them. Love never needed to enter the picture, and certainly not with Hajime.

And Shizuku, too. I have some slight issues with Shizuku's arc as a whole, but I saw no need for falling for Hajime. Some of the best scenes with her were her breaking the stereotype of everyone else falling for Hajime.
Outside of love, I sort of dislike the idea that everyone had serious mental blocks to go through and that without meeting/the help of Hajime they can't (Tio's great in the dominion of her own mind and emotions, though. Love it!). I accept and don't mind people having these sort of mental things to deal with, but I always saw Shizuku as someone who acknowledged and understood her own problems, trucking on regardless. Evidently that's not what the author had in mind for her, and that's fine, I guess, but I don't have to like it.

The character of Kouki disappointed me. I understand that he has big issues. Of course he does. However, I never thought they had anything to do with jealousy or other negative emotions. I saw him as one that was always able to turn everything into a positive in his own mind, and just happened to have the power to go with it. Easily manipulated, simplistic, lacking nuance and many other things, but I thought that for all his problems he'd be stubborn and critically oblivious. That negative emotions just failed to enter him. That's the character I was hoping him to be from what I saw of him early on. Alas, the author had other plans. Have to make sure that the closest thing to a "love rival" is actually a complete jealous loser, huh?
This one really disappointed me. I wanted him to get through his mental challenges on utter obliviousness, I guess. He can be a pretty flawed character without actively making him into an envious, petty, rage-filled, pathetic, loser, as they went out of their way to do.

 

Now, if I say I liked what I've read so far, that must mean there are a number of things I really liked.

The number one thing I like about this novel is that it does what it promises to do in a timely fashion. It is always moving forward in the plot, and when it teases that something will happen in the future, it steadily works towards it and then it happens. And you don't need a billion years for it.

Case in point, the reunion with Kaori. When I initially started the novel, I was sceptical that they'd ever meet in positive circumstances. Maybe they'd continuously fail to meet each other, or she'd die when the time came, or they'd be forced to be enemies for some reason. My scepticism was such that I think I had to spoil what would happen to an extent so that I could motivate myself to continue reading the series.

In the same vein, when the story puts Hajime and the teacher at the same restaurant, the story had everything to make them miss each other due to contrivances and coincidences, and yet it chose not to do that. They actually met and talked! It was more or less at that point that I decided I could probably trust the story wouldn't go around contriving stuff to keep making more books and delay the story.

Another thing that keeps me going is that, despite the edginess, it seems to be working towards a more emotional/happy Hajime. I'm just a sucker for that kind of thing. The start made it seem that was a lost cause and not where it was going, but steadily it readjusts surprising me positively.

One thing that's always a positive where I'm involved is that there's an established romantic relationship. Usually these are the primary cause for me giving up or disliking a story. They're teased, and then used to keep moving the finish line further and further back into the story, delaying the event and forcing us to buy more volumes/prolong the story. As I've already mentioned, this series usually only teases things it has the intention of delivering on sometime soon, when the story seems appropriate for it. That it has such a relationship is the reason I started it, and I'm glad to see that it's not its only redeeming factor.
What made it so the relationship was so quickly established is also the primary reason I appreciate the novel as a whole. Good pace!

Finally, the reason I can even get through and edgy chunni novel... the comedy! It doesn't always land with me, but anything with this much comedy is something I can get through. Thank god for it, or I'd simply not manage to read this story. Thanks Shea in volume two for single-handedly ensuring that was a series I'd like. (Goddammit Shea in later chapters for ruining my innocence. :P)

So yeah. As my sole companion on the train in many months past (not now with the Covid-19 situation), I actually had many thoughts on this series. I really like it, if nothing else for making me think things of my own volition, I guess. I don't particularly like novels that are made to make me think. I prefer to find lightweight stories that I can think about if I want to.

 

I'm actually looking forward to the J-Novel Club's otome stories, but I don't want to start anything with just one or two volumes, so I'm holding off. I'm sure there'll be some I really enjoy. Anything otome tends to be pretty good, in my experience. I like all sorts from the hardworking and successful heroines with supportive love interests to the weaklings with mean sadistic love interests (and all smut stories that entails). I just need something to actually occur rather than being endlessly teased...

 

So, aside from Arifureta, what did I read? Well... Uh...

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How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord (10-ish volumes).

So, I do not think it is a surprise to anyone that watched the anime that this was intended to be the trashiest trash to ever trash. However, I enjoyed it greatly! The reason I finally decided to actually read this is because of how many memories of enjoying the anime I had. The main thing that always stuck in my mind was the girls showing the desire for intimacy with the protagonist and it actually happening. They spend nights together and hug each other a lot in the story, which I love greatly.
The other thing that I like is, as ever, and overpowered protagonist that is recognised as such. He's actually nowhere near as overpowered as I'd have liked during some points of the story, but it's fine.

Now, most instances of what I refer to as "intimacy" is the novel trying to pretend there are sex scenes in there. Because it can't actually do that with describing them, it describes equivalent things, within which a lot of contact and hugging and lying together that I just absolutely love.
I'm somewhere in an odd spectrum where I like sex except the sex part or something? Cuddles for the win! This makes me love this story for displaying intimacy and bonding between the characters, that for sure love one another.

As such, for the characters and for the overpoweredness, this was an extremely pleasant read.

My final question is: This story seems like a really low bar to set. It seems like supremely generic male power fantasy, so why is it that I have so much difficulty finding other stories like it? It seems to me most lack the actual intimacy and consequent bonding of the characters.
Like, love triangles/harems with loads of innuendo or trying to get into bed with the protagonist sure exist, but... Not like this? At least, not any officially translated Light Novels I know of. Am I... missing something?

 

So that's it for what I read, if I'm not forgetting something. I've probably started something(s) that I wasn't in the mood for at the time and will likely try to get my money's worth some other day.

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4 hours ago, Mr Poltroon said:

I have a question for you, though. Do you think you'd be at all interested in Crest of the Stars? I know I sure loved its anime.

Well, the description sounds pretty intriguing, and it's currently available for free, so I don't see why I shouldn't check this out! Also, The Twelve Kingdoms anime made me want to give more attention to older series, so I guess it's a good chance to start. :)

As for Arifureta, actually, I think I agree with almost everything you wrote in your post, to the point where I have nothing to add. I guess, the only exception is that I more or less liked the action scenes. Also, I'm pretty sure you're also at volume 10, since some things you discuss only happen there.

4 hours ago, Mr Poltroon said:

I'm actually looking forward to the J-Novel Club's otome stories, but I don't want to start anything with just one or two volumes, so I'm holding off. I'm sure there'll be some I really enjoy. Anything otome tends to be pretty good, in my experience. I like all sorts from the hardworking and successful heroines with supportive love interests to the weaklings with mean sadistic love interests (and all smut stories that entails). I just need something to actually occur rather than being endlessly teased...

Yeah, I'm really glad they started to localize these types of stories! I personally don't really like weakling female MCs (which is probably the main reasons why I don't really enjoy actual otome games), but I definitely enjoy the stories where they are hardworking, even if they aren't that successful, actually. Well, otome stories tend to be pretty short in general, so you may want to wait before they are finished. Soap will only have 3 volumes, from what I've heard, and Shini Yasui will finish at 6, though the translation will most likely stop at volume 2 (doesn't really sound like your type of story anyway). I Refuse to Be Your Enemy has a similar length, and I don't know for sure, but I doubt the other stories I mentioned are much longer.

Well, I hope they don't stop localizing these types o novels since there are still a lot of great and untouched ones! By the way, here's a picture from reddit, where the green triangles are the series that I really liked (and wish to see localized if it's possible), yellow rectangles are the series that I didn't really liked that much and dropped pretty early, but I thought about giving them another try at some point, and the red ellipses are the series that I didn't like, though, considering what you wrote, you might enjoy them a lot more than I did.

Spoiler

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Overall though, I feel like recently the LN publishers in general started to localize a lot more titles that cater to my tastes. When I just started about 2 years ago, I mostly just read fan-translations, despite many awful translations, simply because it was much easier to find a story I really liked. I'm glad that the situation changed, and now many of the stories I picked up back then are also getting translated! Actually, they also localized The Wild Last Boss Appears Again. I don't think I mentioned it in this thread, since I didn't get very far in the previous translation, but it seemed like a really interesting subversion of the "transferred into a MMO" genre.

Edited by Dreamysyu

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3 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

As for Arifureta, actually, I think I agree with almost everything you wrote in your post, to the point where I have nothing to add.

Huh. That's surprising.

Though I love hearing your opinions on things, I know we're not aligned in many preferences, such as action scenes. Interesting.

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3 hours ago, Mr Poltroon said:

Huh. That's surprising.

Though I love hearing your opinions on things, I know we're not aligned in many preferences, such as action scenes. Interesting.

Well, I guess I actually have something to add. :wahaha:

To elaborate, I agree with the points you make, and I thought about most of these things when I was reading, I can't really say my reactions about them were 100% the same.

Spoiler

For example, I thought that the rabbits' transformation was pretty disturbing, and I personally preferred them as characters before the transformation, even if they were rather plain. Still, the fact that this transformation happened didn't really bother me that much to the point that I would actually wish for it not to happen. It was the author's choice, and I did enjoy some of the comedy that came from it. The same thing is with Shizuku's arc. While I didn't really like where her relationship with Hajime was going, because his harem is just way too big at this point, and she simply had no chance. It was hinted pretty early that she had some feelings for him, which she didn't even realize herself, but overall, the way things were going thus far, I'd totally prefer if they remained to be just friends. Still, I actually like that she had some hidden depth to her character. I like when characters develop, and I definitely wasn't expecting for her to develop this way. The fact that the author tried to give all of the characters some depth was the reason why I said in my initial post that I liked volumes 9 and 10 a bit more than the previous ones.

Also, I missed it in my first response, I also can't really say I agree with what you wrote about Shea. I don't exactly remember my thoughts about how she developed, it's been a few months since I read it, but I don't really think her development bothered me. I think it was more or less in line with the general direction of the novel, and while I liked Shea from the very start, she isn't really my favorite archetype or anything like that.

On the other hand, there are a few points where I actually strongly agree with you. The things about the harem, the Kouki's character, everything about the pacing, and especially comedy. To be honest, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't read it for so many volumes if I didn't like the comedy. Actually, I didn't even particularly like volume 1. In the middle of volume 2, during the Haulia training arc, I actually thought about dropping this novel altogether. But I continued, and I didn't even notice when at some point it became simply fun to read. Also, the thing about romance. Usually, I don't really read novels for romance. I don't really like stories that are fully focused on romance, and I'm perfectly fine if a story I read doesn't have any romance at all (though it doesn't really stop me from shipping some of the characters, lol). On the other hand, there are two types of romances I enjoy: romantic comedies (like Kaguya-sama), and romances that happen in the stories where they aren't really the only focus, and Arifureta is exactly what I mean by the second type. Not to say that I don't enjoy more adolescent types of romances, where both characters slowly realize that they are already in love with each other, but I was definitely impressed how quickly the romance with Yue was established. On the other hand, I can't say I like what the novel did with Shea, as I'm not really a fan of polygamous relationships, but, well, she also had a few cute scenes with Hajime after he agreed to make her his second girlfriend, so I almost forgave the novel for it, lol.

Well, that's it, I guess.

Edited by Dreamysyu

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Well, at first it was used for "light" novels (so basically short novels with a small format), but with time it changed to "novel with illustrations with story similar to mangas".

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