What makes your favourite light novel your favourite?

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    I started buying recently a lot of light novels after I have gotten sick and unable to work for another while. Pretty much all of them via amazon, where I learned about J-Novel Club as publisher. I mostly used the reviews there to get a feeling which light novel to pickup and which not to get - just having it turned out that most reviews are not helpful for me.

    A lot of reviews are written with very weird rating standards (in my opinion). Some series got praise to the high heavens, with 4-5 stars rating, which I completely dislike - and some other seems to be ignored by most, just for me to find it as good as a hidden gem.

    I even started to write some reviews about series which left a special impact with me. And I make sure to mention things which are important to me like if it has an ending or if there are fillers and such. Yet I am curious. I am curious what other people value with their light novel series they love. Is it the "graphical" description of stuff (Goblin Slayer e.g.)? The fan service? A certain genre special like e.g. the Isekai hero has to be overpowered/must not be overpowered? The novel is written in a special way (e.g. Isekai Smartphone which was written on a smartphone)?

    I for once, to start off with the topic, like Isekai Smartphone for the speed the story is told, while I disliked the overpowered hero. If it is for my Daughter - I love how cute it is written, but I very dislike the order of how the story is told. Just to name a few examples at what I am pointing at.

    My favourite series at the moment is How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. The story feels "lively" and more polished than with other long term series. I know and understand how people might like it less for it feels like a mash up at times and the gag stuff are... well... questionable - Though it feels to me that the author there has most freedom, if I try to compare it with series like "If It's for My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord" where it feels to me that there were added too much to a story which should have been finished differently. I simply like the balance of the story towards a more "happy life".

    How about you? What do you think/like is important to your (favourite) series?

  • Staff

    Currently my overall favorite series isCooking With Wild Game

    My favorite from Yen Press is Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon

    My favorite from Seven Seas is Restaurant to Another World

    My favorite from J-Novel Club (other then Wild Game) is Infinite Dendrogram

    I will come back later to edit in reasons.

  • My favorite is Scrapped Princess: the first volume is the first book I ever read in Japanese and the one that sparked my interest in Japanese literature in general.

    It may not be the "best" thing I've ever read, not anymore, but it still holds a special place for me.

  • Let's see now

    A Certain Magical Index is one of my favorites but I started with the anime on that then got led to the manga and light novel at some point. The series is too long as it is, but my bias for Mikoto, her Sisters, her group of friends and some Touma just keeps me hooked in a way.

    Now, I wasn't that much invested in light novels or novels in general due to how short my attention span is 🤔

    I got into Otherside Picnic for other reasons (because I have a very huge bias towards Sorawo and ship her with Toriko 😂) but let's say that is how I ended up joining JNC. Started reading Side-by-Side Dreamers (same author) while waiting for them to "possibly" license Otherside Picnic. I enjoy the yuri works no matter how weird they are. Yuri will get me into reading a work.

    Then, out of boredom, I started checking out the other titles. Started with some of the recent Hayakawa stuff, enjoyed most of them. There's one I couldn't get into due to how it is hard to read for me (Crest/Banner of the Stars) probably due to its age as well.

    Overpowered male MCs (who are in their teens) and harem stuff weren't for me so I dropped those but the ones with female MCs and certain overpowered male MCs that hide their powers or the older ones kept my interest.

    Anyway, a tl;dr favorites list (no particular order after the first one) :

    Otherside Picnic
    Side-by-side Dreamers
    Last and First Idol
    JK Haru
    Bakarina (title too long)
    Secret Organization
    Holy Knight's Dark Road
    Potion Loli
    Majesty's Swarm
    Businessman isekai
    Combat Baker
    Seriously Seeking Sister
    A Certain Magical Index (only non JNC title 😅)

  • Staff

    Accel World. It simply has such an inventive, internally consistent world that I'm constantly blown away at how Kawahara thought it up. It has all the hallmarks of an epic fantasy, but a believable reason for every character to be both "alive from ancient times" and still an immature child in modern times. I just find it so fascinating.

  • Premium Member

    Two to start, more later:

    Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody

    The MC is overpowered and almost never in any danger, but that's not the point of the series. You have to get that he is a tourist in the new world, enjoying exploring, food, crafting, and spending family time with his wards. I find it relaxing and fun, and I enjoy that the MC is an adult not a teen, and his taste is for women his own age not young girls. Potential romances pop up and he brushes them aside with amused kindness instead of being flustered or shy.

    I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 years

    Warm-hearted family fun. The MC is a former office lady who died from overwork and now insists on taking life at a relaxed pace. Another person who is overpowered but again danger and conflict isn't the point of the series.

  • Premium Member

    tough to say that I have a favorite - I have eclectic tastes and what I'm into on a particular day changes with my mood. In general I guess my preferences are character/relationship and story driven. I don't really care as much about setting/genre and often find titles that straddle several genres to be enjoyable. I don't mind fan service but there are some themes that I find icky (siscon )

    among my favorites:

    Rokojouma - brought me to JNC: relationships/harem/sci fi/ fantasy/ sol
    Outbreak: comedy/parody/fantasy/harem
    Lazy DM- comedy/parody/ fantasy
    Demon lord retry- comedy/farce/ fantasy/harem
    potion loli: fantasy/fluff (also like 300 yrs killing slimes and Didn't I say to make me average in the next life? Grace of the gods is in the category as well)
    Bakarina; goofy/romance (Like Tearmoon for same reasons)
    earlier Grimgar before it got too weird: fantasy/ unique characters&relationships
    For my daughter: fluff/romance/fantasy
    not sure why hooked- but just charmed by Bookworm
    Realist Hero: fantasy/relationships/harem/adventure (I like Smartphone too, same reasons but not as much)
    Combat Baker: scifi?/harem

    I actually enjoy about 90% of what JNC publishes

    outside JNC: Danmachi: fantasy/adventure/harem

  • From JNC, it's definitely Infinite Dendrogram, it took me a long while to realize why I liked it so much, but it all made sense when I realized that in the end, it's a battle shonen. A GLORIOUS battle shonen. I love how Ray is a hot-blooded MC that isn't overpowered but a min-max character, I love the setting that's so much more than it lets see, I love the supporting characters who would totally be their own MCs in their own LNs, I love when they call out their skills during battle, I love Ray's oblivious fashion sense, I love when Nemesis and Azurite roast him for that, I love how dense Ray is concerning his love life despite being quite sharp for pretty much everything else,.

    Can't wait to scream my lungs out "Vengeance is Mine!!" when the anime drops!!!!!

    Outside JNC, it's a tie between So I'm a Spider, so what? and Death March.

    Kumoko/White is such a hillarious MC, and the worldbuilding is amazing, although it takes a while to understand the whole picture, the bits and glimpses shown ever since the first book, the double POV, the time skips. But above all, it's just too much fun to read Kumoko's thinking process and see her bumbling around trying her best to survive.

    Death March is the complete opposite with a total lack of sense of danger. But once you accept it's a cooking novel, you can start appreciating how laid back it is and just enjoy the OPMC going through his hard earned vacation after probably dying from overwork. I also like the MCs POV as a mature MC trapped in a child's body, his amusement at seeing the younger girls' clumsy advances, his nonchalance on rom-com situations, his cultured taste (lol).

  • Premium Member

    It is super interesting to read and see that other people than me are liking light novels series for reasons you would not see coming if you judge the series solemnly by its content description.

    Some series I gotten into are only because I have read the manga adaption before.

    I can say, your insight you are sharing in that regards are more valuable than the majority of reviews I have read on amazon. I am even thinking of picking up a few new series mentioned in this topic, which I avoided before due the description of the series.

  • Premium Member

    @serah said in What makes your favourite light novel your favourite?:

    I can say, your insight you are sharing in that regards are more valuable than the majority of reviews I have read on amazon. I am even thinking of picking up a few new series mentioned in this topic, which I avoided before due the description of the series.

    That's one thing I really like about the JNC membership - the chance to try out a new series without spending $8 on something I end up not enjoying.

    JNC has two slice-of-life cooking novels which you might think are similar from the descriptions. One of them I'm still reading but one I've dropped.

    Cooking With Wild Game is well-written and the characters are interesting, but to me it's too ordinary. It's a low- or no-magic world (as of the first 3 volumes anyway) so the only real fantasy element is in being sent to the world. Pair that with the slow pace and serious tone and I drifted away from it.

    Campfire Cooking in Another World with My Absurd Skill is also slow-paced slice of life, but there is more humor (and it's situational humor not slapstick), high magic, talking magical beasts, and a certain amount of low-stress fantasy adventure. Plus an adult main character, and lots of cooking of course. This one I've stuck with and look forward to the weekly new parts.

  • Premium Member

    Another of my favorites:

    The Faraway Paladin

    One of the few novels that shows a Paladin as someone more complicated than a "good person who fights for their god." In one of the best scenes the main character must deal with the undead, and he sees them as the persons they were not just monsters to destroy.

    It's my second-favorite portrayal of a paladin, the first being Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy.

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    @harmlessdave A good paladin is a great thing and I like Faraway Paladin for the same reason. Koutarou in Rokujouma is one to amd I think so is Saouske in FMP!
    Outside of LNs, My favorite paladins are Michael Carpenter in The Dresden files and Mles Vorkosagan in his own series by Lois Bujold as is her character Cazaril in The Curse of Chalion. I note that it is character and motivation that make a paladin not just skill at arms. Miles for example is basically Peter Dinklidge playing Tyrion Lanister (with loving parents) as a covert ops agent/fleet admiral in space.

    I'm reading mostly fluffy harem series right now. Rokujouma always, it and Mixed Bathing are what got me in the door here. Ms. Elf Realist Hero, Bookworm, Ragnarock, really enjoying Altina as anew pick up. Basically a good romance with real emotions and a well thought out setting and addressing life after a relationship actually starts . Chivalry of a Failed knight is good for thi,s as is HS DxD and Kenshi no Magica. The "After story" part of Arifureta has some great humor as Hajime and His harem don't adjust (deliberately) to getting home.

    I've given up on Smartphone, IS and Little Apocalypse in part because nothing seems to go anywhere but still read How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord because as slow as Diablo's progress is he knows he ought to be making some he just doesn't know how. Outbreak Company is the same way.

  • Premium Member

    Ok. I’ll chime in here. In no particular order:

    • Smartphone - The series that brought me to JNC.
    • Rokujouma - Balanced, well thought out story.
    • Faraway Paladin - Excellently written. Which there was more.
    • Realist Hero - World building at it’s finest.
    • Dendrogram - I’m a sucker for VRMMO stories.
    • Ragnarok - Intrigue, adventure and chaos.
    • Kokoro Connect - The real-world setting is appealing.

    That’s some of my favorites. Some of the newer titles are rather good as well.

  • Premium Member

    @steelblaidd I hadn’t thought about Sousuke as a Paladin, but I think he qualifies for that title. Ray Starling (Infinite Dentrogram) would also qualify for the title, job title not withstanding.

  • Premium Member

    @harmlessdave Wow someone else read that series. Very underrated fantasy author IMHO. Discovered her by accident.

  • @paul-nebeling Nemesis would argue he's going for the Cursed Knight aesthethic tho

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    Hmm I don't know if I have any favorite considering how I like something from Harem, Overpowered MC to Xianxian and Wuxia to Korean Contemporary Drama. and with over 200 title on my reading list I just love reading stories.

    but here is some that I considered memorable and why I love them,

    Suzumiya Haruhi,
    The one novel that got me to know there is fan translation scene and community back in 2006/2007. also the first dead tree version LN that I actually buy.
    I love the anime, then when I got to know the LN its make me love it even more, the story telling, the paradox, the sci-fi and the comedy and the tragedy (shoshitsu) is so tugging in my imagination.

    Full Metal Panic
    I just love the concept of lamda driver. and the secret identity thing. also all the Tuatha de Danaan capability. I still have the fan translated PDF from 2005-2008 on my harddrive. and now collecting the re-translated re-released epub by j-novel.

    Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei
    Magic and Believable Magical Theory, I am considering myself a researcher so when a story not only "I can do magic" but also "Here is How the Magic works" I do love it. The main Heroin also lovely to boot. and of course because oni-sama is there to save the day.

    Mushoku Tensei
    Personally my hall mark of self-wish-fulfillment Isekai story, had good story telling lovable character, nice character development and many more. after this title the Isekai genre actually blooming like algae on steroid.

    Their suffering is my dinner. the suspense the sadness the world are just so good it sometimes ruin my day.

    Accell World, SAO, Dendogram, Log Horizon
    Game and VR, I studied computer programming since I was 12 so I can make game. so this titles are really inspirative to me. and their story telling and world building are so good too. and its my life-time project to make something like Yui SAO.

    Hikaru ga Chikyuu ni Itakoro
    I don't have any good relationship experience so I love something that makes me cry a river like this
    especially how this series follow each Heroine experience from the bad to their good, in the end its just so hard to make any heroine favorite because each one is just so good. and being the one that will not be loved by anyone syndrome just make my heart shatter whenever I try to self-insert into the story.

    That bad boy attitude is just so me syndrome. Yeah judge me I just love how 8man is so anti social. but still Iroha FTW!!

    Shinonome Yuuko wa Tanpen Shousetsu o Aishite Iru
    Another I am not going to be loved syndrome

    Seirei Gensouki
    Haruto's feeling for Miharu and how he tortured himself about it is just so frustrating that I love it.
    the story and the character development in the LN actually quite good tho.

  • Member

    @paulnamida You totally nailed why I like Dendrogram. I couldn't explain it any better. It's just a really fun series with a lot of great characters. Can't wait to see how the anime goes.

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    @paulnamida Nemesis would argue with Ray just for the sake of arguing. Him not providing her with enough food would probably be high on the list of topics. His fashion sense (or lack thereof) would be a close second.

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    hmm I have diverse tastes in setting or genre, as long as it has an interesting story and character development I'm good. I'm okay with fan service as long it's not overwhelming but there are some themes that I find unpleasant (incest).

    Some of my favourites here are :
    Realist Hero - the series that brought me to JNC
    Bakarina - great character and comedy
    Faraway Paladin - excellently written
    By the Grace of the gods - quite heartwarming at least the manga does
    Archdemon - same with bakarina, its good for a light read

    some my favourite outside JNC are :
    Danmachi - interesting story and character relationship
    Reincarnated as Slime - idk why I'm hooked but it's interesting
    Genius Prince - similar to realist Hero minus the fantasy
    The Alchemist who Survived - quite heartwarming and lovely
    Overlord - idk why I'm hooked

    and many more, I'm quite excited with JNC new release like Tearmoon Empire, Can someone explain, etc

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