Monday, April 23, 2018

Best New English Light Novels of 2017

And, here comes my list of the best new light novel series' that started getting published in English this year.

2017 had more than 30 new light novels that got released in English, but only a handful of these were worth mentioning in my opinion.

(PS: In no particular order of preference is this list created and only new series' that started being published in English for the first time were the main selection criteria.)
"Konosuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World!"
Written by Natsume Akatsuki
Illutrated by Kurone Mishima
Translated by Kevin Steinbach
Published by Yen Press

Game loving shut-in Kazuma Sato's life as a young schoolboy in Japan abruptly comes to an early end...or at least it was supposed to. When he opens his eyes, though, he sees a beautiful goddess that offers him a once in an after-lifetime chance to be reborn in a parallel world. The catch is that the world is violent and threatened by a growing evil! Fortunately, he can choose any one thing to bring with him. So he chooses the goddess, Aqua! And so his adventure with his gorgeous companion begins--if he could just get enough money and food to survive, keep his goddess out of trouble, and avoid grabbing the attention of the Demon King's army!

[ A very interesting concept making fun of the 'Isekai' genre that has gotten rather tiresome with so much effort going into it. It really is quite humorous with its approach. I have read the first one and loved it (my review). ] 
"Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers"
Written by  Ishio Yamagata
Visual art by Miyagi
Published by Yen Press

In order to stop the revival of the Demon God, six heroes are to be chosen to save the world. Those chosen surely have great combat abilities, special powers, or have been intensely trained as Saints. Excellence and ability are supposed to be the calling card of the chosen heroes, but this ragtag band lived far from normal, peaceful lives before they came together to become heroes.
Hanz's mysterious assassin for hire trade. Mora and Chamo's daily life at the World Temple. Nashetania and the youth scheming to win her heart, Goldof. The one who lives her life as a demon thinking of her family, Fremi. And the boy who lives with only his dream in mind, Adlet.
Their true feelings and personalities all seem to have another side to them... They will all come together to battle mystery, reveal the past, and step into legends in this new exciting series!

[ I have heard of this one when the anime came out and never expected to see the light novel in English to be honest. But here it is and it seems to be quite a unique take on legendary heroes setting with a mystery twist. Something interesting among the generic stuff all around. ]

"Demon King Daimaou"
Written by Shoutarou Mizuki
Illustrated by Souichi Itou
Translated by David Musto
Published by J-Novel Club

Far in the future, Japan has become a land ruled by magic and those who wield it. Akuto Sai arrives at Constant Magical Academy—the most prestigious magic school in the world—for his first year of high school. The only student to pass the Academy’s intense entrance exam, he has his sights set on become a High Priest, the most powerful and virtuous magician in the land. However, when he arrives at the Academy, his future occupation is prophesied to be… The Demon King?! Now Akuto is the number one target on campus, and he must navigate his way with the help of his friends—a troublesome delinquent, a beautiful observer android, an honor-bound class representative, and a mysterious girl from his past—through the seedy underbelly of the world’s premier magic academy.

[ It is another light novel that I never thought of getting an official translation. This one from the time when magical schools were the popular setting of Japanese fiction. While I am not really iterested in the setting or the genres this series represents, my interest in this one was mostly due to this being one of the classic light novels, but it was rather fun as well. ]

"Infinite Dendrogram"
Written by Sakon Kaidou
Illustrated by Taiki
Translated by Andrew Hodgson
Published by J-Novel Club

In the year 2043, Infinite Dendrogram, the world's first successful full-dive VRMMO was released. In addition to its ability to perfectly simulate the five senses, along with its many other amazing features, the game promised to offer players a world full of infinite possibilities. Nearly two years later, soon-to-be college freshman, Reiji Mukudori, is finally able to buy a copy of the game and start playing. With some help from his experienced older brother, Shu, and his partner Embryo, Reiji embarks on an adventure into the world of Infinite Dendrogram. Just what will he discover and encounter in this game world known for its incredible realism and infinite possibilities?

[ Although this concept has been done to death, this one has executed a true RPG novel perfectly. And the main character is not ridiculously overpowered and is quite likeable. Any lovers of RPG should give this one a try. ]

"The Empty Box and Zeroth Maria"
Written by Eiji Mikage
Illustrated by 415
Translated by Luke Baker
Published by Yen Press

Kazuki Hoshino leads the easy-going life of a typical high school student--until the appearance of a new girl in his class turns his world upside down! Introducing herself with a promise to "break" Kazuki is abnormal enough to make an impression, sure, but why does she seem so familiar...?

[ Ah, the highest rated light novel of MAL finally gets translated. And it is well worth the wait as this novel is indeed a masterpiece of this particular medium of fiction. ]

"So I'm a Spider, So What?"
Written by Okina Baba
Illustrated by Kiryu Tsukasa
Translated by Jenny McKeon
Published by Yen Press

I used to be a normal high school girl but in the blink of an eye, I woke up in a place I've never seen before and-and I was reborn as a spider?! How could something that's nothing more than a tiny spider (that's me) possibly survive in literally the worst dungeon ever? Are there no rules? There should be some rules! Who the hell is responsible for this? SHOW YOUR FACE! 

[ While the setting is generic it has an unorthodox twist with a protagonist who is a spider, and she used to be a girl. It was fun to read her point-of-view and the author did manage to create something original. ] 

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