Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book Review: Book Girl and the Corrupted Angel

So, the reason this is going up a day late is that I just plain forgot to write this last night (I was thinking my Saturday seemed remarkably boring but just used the time to do other things instead). I am hoping to get out Sunday's regular post today as well to make up for it however, you would think after having the same schedule for months and months that I would forget things like this less often. Then again, considering that there is now a couple month gap between when I started a book and when I actually get around to reading it it makes a bit more sense. I certainly remember what happened in that latest installment in the Book Girl series, but after reading so many other books since then I had almost forgotten that I had read this one as well. Also, as noted on the Kieli review, unless the art completely changes or is completely amazing I'm not going to include an Art section in the light novel review anymore.

Book Girl and the Corrupted Angel by Mizuki Nomura illustrated by Miho Takeoka

Summary: Book Girl Tohko is busily preparing for her college entrance exams, although Konoha has his reservations if she'll actually get in anywhere. Konoha however finds himself helping out fellow classmate Kotobuki in the music room after school and becomes increasingly involved with her when one of her friends goes missing under strange circumstances. Without Tohko to lead the way Konoha has to fumble through the steps and try to figure out if life is imitating The Phantom of the Opera (who is alluded to in the friend's messages and notes) or if the truth is rather different.

The Good: It took me a long time to get into this story and a big reason for that was because I find Tohko the more likable of the two leads but this story did clear up a few things about Konoha. Before I had been rather skeptical of his panic attacks, he (like many characters in light novels I've noticed) is always so internal it can sometimes be hard to tell just what is going on but this book confirms that yes, he really is still messed up after the events involving his friend Miu years earlier. But around the two-thirds point of the story, when it started to diverge more from The Phantom of the Opera that's when I really got into it and I thought it was a satisfying story. Kotobuki also got some character development here which was good not only because she has ended up being the largest supporting character so far but because, unless I am completely missing the mark, her feelings for Konoha are going to become even more important in the following books (especially with Miu set to finally appear in the next volume).

The Bad: As I mentioned above, I prefer Tohko to Konoha as a lead character since she's much more decisive and interesting so I am a bit nervous now for later books where she may no longer be around (there are only about three months in-story until her graduation I believe). Konoha can hold the story together but he really, really needs a lot more character growth before I can tolerate him for more than a couple chapters at a time. And, another reoccurring complaint of mine, while I know full well that many people do have less than ideal lives where terrible things happen to them or they become so twisted from their own ideas that they almost cause terrible things to happen to them I'm still a bit incredulous about how many of those people Konoha and Tohko run into. I could find the situation involving Kotobuki's friend believable but some of the other characters had to be so twisted to make this story happen that I wasn't able to suspend my belief the entire time and that's just not a good thing.

So, I'm coming to the same conclusion that I did for Kieli, that these books are best read with a smaller gap between them (say one or two months) than the gap caused by the release pattern in the US (six months, although seven this time since the next volume got pushed back a month). I also came to this conclusion after watching some of Hyou-ka, a currently airing mystery anime which has a similar feel to this one, that perhaps a more serialized publishing schedule might work better for stories which have small, volume long arcs but with a more ambiguous overall arc that grows more and more important as the story goes on. Not sure what to do in that case, the final volume won't be out in the US until January 2014, maybe I should start making cliff notes for each volume as well...    

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