Book Review: A Certain Magical Index Volume 11

A Certain Magical Index Volume 11 cover

I hope that everyone had a good week, and are making their final preparations for the weekend.

Things may not exactly be perfect here, due tomy current issues and things coming up that I wish I did not need to deal with, but I am still glad that I can do something that I can enjoy.

Earlier in the month, I had gotten three books from Amazon, in order to help me close the gap on one series and make sure that I can keep up with another, and I have so far covered all but one of those books.

Today, I will be reviewing that last remaining title, which is called A Certain Magical Index Volume 11 by Kazuma Kamachi.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

The Daihasei Festival came at a rather peaceful end, and Touma got lucky for the first time in his life by winning some tickets to Italy, which surprises him.

However, Touma's suspicions turn out to be warranted when a series of evets start taking place that will once again have him go against the Roman Orthodox Church, and he must do something before a lot of people lose their lives.

Unlike Spice &; Wolf, whose anime adaptation was quite inferior to the books, where I was able to enjoy pretty much every volume, except for the useless sixth book that should have been merged with the fifth, A Certain Magical Index took quite a bit of time to be any good, and now that I have reached one of the last things featured in A Certain Magical Index II, I was not too sure if I would be able to find anything decent, seeing as the eighth book covered one of the only good arcs to be found.

However, after reading this book, I can say that I kind of liked it.

From the moment that I opened up this book, I did not feel like putting it down for any reason, at least towards the beginning.

Throughout the run of this entire series, Kazuma has done a good job of capturing and maintaining my interest for much of the work, even when following a character is pretty much just as bland as Touma Kamijou, as he is not really that well fleshed out or somebody that I would want to hang out with, and I really hoped that he would be able to match up the likes of Isuna Hasekura, who was pretty good before he got involved with World End Economica, in that he would finally get me like Touma and the gang, as opposed to just Accelerator and the Railgun, and he only partially succeeded in doing that.

Now, I have heard that this series does not start to even get close to the level of quality seen in A Certain Scientific Railgun until the Academy City Invasion arc, which starts up in the next volume, according to the light novel page of the Magical Index Wiki, and I remember somebody telling me that the first 11 volumes were not that great, but partially being able to succeed in capturing my interest is at least a step up for Kazuma.

One of the most important things needed to make a reader interested in the work is to be able to capture the reader's attention quickly, and this is probably the first title, since the eighth book in the series, to be able to pull this off quite well.

If I was not able to become as engrossed with this book as I much as I was, I would have found myself mire dissatisfied with it than I am.

However, because Kazuma was able to do something right, I am willing to give Kazuma a bit of a passing grade.

Hopefully, I will get blown out of the water in the next arc, like I was with the third and eighth books.

Then again, considering how often Kazuma Kamachi has failed to meet my expectations or just barely met them, while Weston Kincade, Jun Mochizuki, and Hiromu Arakawa have all done fairly well in meeting my expectations in more than one of their works, I am also rather skeptical about whether or not he can pull it off.

Still, Kazuma does deserve some praise for being able to partially capture and hold my attention, as capturing all of a reader's attention will not be possible if no part of their attention is captured.

I also liked how much of the action that was present in this volume had me on the edge of my seat.

Throughout the course of this series, things have been flipping back and forth between dull and interesting, with the first two volumes being the biggest offenders of feeling dull, even when things happened, and the excitement of the action-oriented parts never started being consistently good until the eighth book, which covered the Tree Diagram Remnant arc, which is why I still cannot consider myself a fan of the Magical Index portion of the Raildex universe, even today.

In this volume, that aspect of this series still seems to be present, though not as much as I would have liked, and it is making me think that there will be some fights that will be just as interesting as those that have taken place in A Certain Scientific Railgun.

Yes, not every fight in that particular series was not as interesting as Kuroko's fight from volume 2 of the Railgun manga or Misaka's fight against ITEM in the Sisters arc, but they had much more excitement in them than any of the many fights that took place in J.C. Staff's anime adaptatons of the Magical Index series, especially because Misaka's victories feel like she earned them, whereas Touma Kamijou's victory come off as too lucky.

Here, Touma and the gang actually do seem like they are struggling a bit to get the outcome they want and the action itself does not feel as boring as it felt back in the second volume.

If I had to say why that there is that much of a difference, it is because Kazuma is finally becoming a more competent writer, because he seems to understand better how to write an action scenes on par with those found in the best action flicks that Hollywood has ever produced, and I can finally give him a good amount of applause.

Readers want to become as excited to see action happen as people how like to see action flicks, and if the action feel dull, they might not ever check out anything else that the writer writes, just like how fans of the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres will never support a writer that cannot deliver what they want to see, and this is something Kazuma seem to finally understand.

Now, if only Kazuma can actually maintain this level of quality for the 11 remaining volumes, and however many volumes there are of the new testament series, I would be able to see why so many people actually like this series, instead of viewing it as the inferior portion of the Raildex universe.

The thing that I liked the most though about this book though is how there are already signs that the Academy City Invasion arc is about to begin.

Back when I reviewed the second season of the A Certain Magical Index anime adaptation, I clearly stated that there were only two decent arcs present in the 24-episode run, and my dissatisfaction with the rest has also somewhat affected my enjoyment of the novels, though it was not completely unwarranted, and the negative aspects of this book made me wonder if I should take another break until the Academy City Invasion arc was fully released where I live, much like how I did not bother going over Index's Daihasei Festival arc until it was fully released in my country.

However, the moment that the events in Italy concluded, and Touma's fate and a few other things occurred, the book switches over to Vatican City, where two people have the pope sign a document that mentions Touma Kamijou and speaks of him being a threat to Roman Orthodox Church, and seems like something is about to begin.

I might not like everything that Kazuma Kamachi does with this series, but this has me interested enough to go out and get the next volume right now, even though it will not be available until August, according to the link I provided earlier, and volume 13 will not be available until November, according to a product page on Amazon, so I guess I will have to wait a while before I can see what exactly will happen to Touma.

Readers want to have some hook that makes them want to come back to the series for more, and Kazuma really delivered.

Yes, writers do not necessarily fail to deliver well in this aspect when it comes to creating a series, but if this did not happen, I would not have been as interested in seeing how the Academy City Invasion arc originally went as I am, since being impressed by the anime version of that arc can only make me interested to a certain extent, as well as make this series feel more like an Adventures of Touma and Friends series than I already see it as.

Because Kazuma did do this, however, I feel like giving him a bit of applause. Nice job, Kazuma, for giving me an incentive to continue on with this series more than the prodding of the Index fans ever could, even if they acknowledge the problems with the series that I see.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else I particularly liked, at least that stood out as much as what I talked about.

Because my interest was captured and held for most of the book, the action is still fairly exciting, and there are already hints towards the Academy City Invasion arc happening soon, this was a fairly decent book.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, only one thing really bothered me.

The closer to end I got, the less interested I was in finishing it.

While Kazuma did a fairly good job of capturing and maintaining my interest for much of the book, as I expect from any decent writer, he could not keep the moment going.

Not only do readers want to be drawn into the world of the book quickly, but they also want to be given a reason to continue on with the work by not having things become awfully dull.

After all, would anybody want to continue watching a movie or show if it became boring before the end? I sure would not, and I doubt that many other avid readers out there would disagree with me, if I were to rephrase the question to talk about books.

This has been a major problem with this series from the very beginning of this series, and is a big reason why I just cannot really appreciate this series as much as Railgun.

If I had to say why this is a big problem, it would have to be because the excitement of the action waned around the time Touma and the gang confronted the big bad of this book.

The incident in Italy may not be the final obstacle that Touma and his friends have to deal with, and the ending of the Index portion of the Raildex universe might not come for an awfully long time, but final confrontation must be interesting and full of tension, much like the confrontation between Ryner Lute and Sion Astal in The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, but the final confrontation here feels just as disappointing as it was in the anime.

What the heck, Kazuma? You might not have been able make things feel too exciting in this series, but Kuroko's fight with Awaki in volume 8 and the fights against Oriana Thompson during the Daihasei Festival arc were some of the best moment yet.

I was almost willing to finally place this series on the same level Railgun, but then the excitement of the action goes down, and the series goes to pot.

If Spice &; Wolf, a series known for slow and not having a whole lot going on, can be interesting, Kazuma can do it too.

Unfortunately, Kazuma still comes off as an amateur overall, and I highly doubt that he will be able to really be able establish himself as being a great writer.

Seriously, Kazuma, if this is the best that you can do, you really need to go back to school and refine your writing skills, because you are coming off as more of a joke than somebody I can respect.

Readers want to see writers improve over the course of their career, but Kazuma just seems to be getting bad enough to the point where I am strongly considering changing my mind about getting the next two volumes any time soon.

Fortunately, nothing else really bugged me too much, so the book could not look any worse than it already does.

While there was only one thing wrong with this book, that issue was bad enough to take the book from being kind of good to terrible.

Despite the fact that there were a few things to like, the negative was bad enough to make this only good enough to kill time.

I mainly recommend this to fans of A Certain Magical Index, as they would enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, you can give it a try if you want, especially since it kind of starts off the Academy City Invasion arc, but this will not be able to show anyone how great the series can be great.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buy the books in the Magical Index series via the links provided in this reviews, so that I can continue following this series and find more worthwhile reads for you guys, and doing whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.