I am always willing to try something new, and this book was certainly something new to me. Amazon lists it in Magic & Fantasy Graphic Novels, Contemporary Fantasy and in Teens & Young Adult eBooks.
I had to look up some of the terms to make sure I understood them properly. One term mentioned in the book gave me cause for concern. Lolicon. This is apparently a slang word for the phrase ‘Lolita complex’. In Japan, where this book is set, the word explains the desire for drawings of teenage or prepubescent girls. It is a genre of manga and anime in which young early-teen female characters are drawn in a sexualised way. While this is considered acceptable in Japan as they do not think that it leads to actual abuse of children, in the UK, where I live, the possession of lolicon pornography is illegal.
Having said that, although there were references to lolicon, there was nothing overtly offensive so I continued reading. The author assures me that ‘Lolicon isn’t always sexual and is not inherently sexual.’ He uses it as a gimmick.
Daisuke is the main character. He is a brilliant student, the best student in all Japan. However, he is sadly lacking in social skills. When he tries to speak to people, he freezes and resorts to staring at them rather than engaging. At first, I felt quite sorry for him, especially when I hear how he is bullied. He is ostracised, not chosen when teams are picked for games, and called names. Fellow students have glued debris in his hair and have been physically violent toward him.
His school often phone his mother to report his unacceptable behaviour. The complaints are about the way he stares at girls, to the extent that he is known as Peeping Daisuke, a pervert. His mother shouts at him, saying he is bringing shame on the family. I still felt sorry for him. Then he talks of his life and my attitude started to change. He has a favourite waifu – another word I had to look up. This is a fictional female character to whom one is romantically attached. He describes his sister as a loli baba. She looks like a cute young girl but she is actually 23. He likes short girls who look younger than their age. It’s as if the ‘acceptable’ fictional attachments are flowing over into real life. I found it difficult to warm to this character.
Despite this, I was happy for him when two female students decide to give him a chance. They make friends with him and take him to a manga publishing event. This ends badly. His friend’s brother turns up, causing trouble. Daisuke leaves the event and is hit by a car. He dies.
At this point, the story changes dramatically.
Daisuke finds there is an afterlife. At first, he is judged harshly based on his life on earth. A goddess says she is disgusted with him. The Great Sage turns up and gives Daisuke a blessing and a curse. For some reason, he favours this confused young man.
This version of the afterlife resembles anime. The only signs Daisuke recognises are fantasy images, like the quill and paper that represent a guild. The rest of the story feels like gameplay with the characters growing to incredible feats as they build up their skills and rise to different levels. There are magical creatures like elves. Demi-humans are treated badly, slavery is legal and ‘normal’ people get in trouble for being friendly with demi-humans.
The story is wide-ranging as Daisuke finds himself interacting with many different people and beings, in many different situations. He struggles to find his way as he adjusts to this new world. He has choices to make, with the help of his new friends and Great Sage, and he has the chance to become a hero. Will he make it?
This story was so different to anything I had read before that I was intrigued and continued to read to the end to find out how it would turn out. It is not a style I would read again, but I can see that it would appeal to many people, probably younger people who are familiar with fantasy games.
I decided to read the reviews on Amazon to see how others viewed this book. Two reviews caught my attention.
5 star – a great story
I can agree with that in terms of the breadth and imagination throughout the book.
1 star - The number of spelling errors in this book is unbelievable. It is a good story but so many errors make it hard to immerse your self
I also agree with this review. Like many readers, I ignore the occasional error in spelling, punctuation, incorrect word choice. A great story is more important than the vehicle. However, this book would benefit from a strong edit. The number of errors is distracting.
I asked the author to share their publishing journey with us.
I decided to self-publish because traditional publishers wouldn’t take in Light Novels written by western authors, plus in my country where I am from there aren’t many publishing houses, the closest one to me is about 100km away.
It took me a while to find a good editor that falls in my budget. The cover designer was my illustrator for the first volume, I spent around 100-120$ in total(just on illustrations). The formatting of the manuscript was done entirely by me, getting it up to Amazon standards was hard as the instruction weren’t clear from the start.
KDP offers self-published author a chance, I first published it in eBook format and 3 days after the paperback version of the book was released.
The marketing was decent, but I still had to go on external websites and promote the book further. I tried everything from Facebook groups to paid promotion but the gain wasn’t substantial enough to make a difference.
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