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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5
5 Stars
37 reviews have 5 stars
4 Stars
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All Book Reviews

  • This is a decent start to a great book series

    If you've seen the anime, I highly recommend that you pick this up. If you haven't, I still recommend that you pick this up, but I also recommend that you go watch the anime. This series takes place in a version of 2095 where magic started becoming normal towards the beginning of the 21st century and has since been turned into a technology of sorts. It focuses on a character who lacks some of the common skills needed to be a great magician (and thus is rated poorly by the normal standards - particularly with regards to the entrance exam to the magic high school) and yet who absolutely excels at magic-related skills that most people don't even have, allowing him to be really good in practice while still being treated as poor by most anyone who doesn't know him well. Overall, the characters and world are interesting, and what happens is a lot of fun (frequently involving the main character doing something to save the day that surprises most everyone involved). Certainly, if you like reading about a smart, underdog character who's really talented in spite of the world at large thinking he isn't, then this is a series that you should read. I should point out though that a number of the arcs are split across two or three books, and this book is definitely not a complete arc (it concludes in book 2). So, don't buy it expecting to get the whole thing. Also, while this arc is good, I definitely think that later arcs are better (the story in books 3 and 4 is particularly good IMHO). So, if you read this and think that it's just okay, you might enjoy the ones that follow more and find that continuing the series is worth it. In general, the books give better, more complete explanations than the anime does (particularly with regards to the magic system, which is a bit overcomplicated IMHO). And a lot of scenes make more sense with the extra information that the book provides (not that the anime did a bad job, but what's here is definitely more complete). However, the author does have a habit of explaining a bit too much about irrelevant stuff IMHO; in particular, he likes to explain about stray changes in technology or society that have happened between now and 2095 - most of which have nothing to do with the story, and sometimes the explanations are given in the middle of a scene, interrupting things. So, while some folks might find them interesting, I tend to think that they should have been left out. Also, in general, he really doesn't seem to follow the normal advice of "show, don't tell" that's given to authors, so there's a lot of stuff that he explains when it would have been far better (and shorter) to just show the characters doing something. Some things do work better as explanations, but his default seems to be "tell, don't show." I don't know how many of the writing problems are the original author's fault and how many are the translator's (and some are probably just cultural), but overall, I'm inclined to think that the story is a lot better than the writing is. The writing isn't terrible by any means, but it could definitely be better. Another thing that you get out of the books if you've already seen the anime is that you get a different translation for the stuff that's in both, so some things make more sense (either because the translation is better or because it's just different and thus gives a more insight into what's meant). For instance, in an early episode that came from this book, one of the characters talks about there being no "civilians" at the magic high school, which really doesn't make much sense, since they weren't saying anything about the military - whereas the book's translation uses the term "normal people," which makes much more sense in that context. In another scene, the anime talks about a character being "wasted," whereas the book uses the term "sick," which works much better and makes even more sense when the book further compares what happened to seasickness. But the book translation isn't always better. For instance, in the 3rd book, the French word "monsieur" is used in a scene for some weird reason, and it just plain comes off as weird. Based on what happened in the anime, I'm pretty sure that they used the English term Mister in the original Japanese, and I guess that the translator thought that he had to make it stand out like it did in Japanese rather than just using Mister in English, but it works rather badly IMHO. So, the writing and translation is unfortunately a mixed bag, but I think that it's well worth putting up with them to get the story and am really happy that we're getting these books in English rather than just the anime. I think that it makes a great companion to the anime but that it could be enjoyed just fine on its own. Also, book 5, and books 8+ have yet to be adapted in anime form, so anyone wanting the full story is likely going to have to read the books, and I expect that that alone makes them worth reading for many fans of the anime.

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    6 person found this review helpful

    6 people found this review helpful

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Only half a book

    While I appreciate that light novels can span a saga across multiple books they generally contain a full segment. This book was half the length of other light novels I have read and is only half a book. Story is interesting but for a first volume to a series they really needed this to be as complete as possible.

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Good

    Very good first novel for Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei

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    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

  • Great

    Read the fan translations. Here to support official english release.

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    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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