I hope that everyone is having a good week, even if the happiness of a long break is coming to an end.
Things have been going fairly well here, as I can still do what I like.
A while back, I got a few books that I would read during the month, but because of some titles that I was expecting, I had to put those books on the back burner for a bit.
However, with those titles out of the way, I must now deal with the last two titles on the back burner, before I forget.
Today, I will be reviewing one of those last two titles, which is called Magical Girl Raising Project Volume 2 by Asari Endou.
After the incident of the death game in N City, things seem to be relatively peaceful, though some people have tired of the life of the magical girl.
However, just when things seem to be at peace, some people dragged into a game that is supposed to be much safer, but the game master has other plans in mind and the players realize that they had been deceived.
While the first installment was okay, it is not always the best place to always determine whether something is worth following or not, because thing could improve or get worse later on, so it is best to give a reasonable chance.
And after reading this, I find myself mostly unimpressed.
Fortunately, there were to like, which means that I do not have to go right into what I hated.
From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading, I found myself so engrossed that I did not want to stop reading, at least until I realized what was going on.
One of the most important things that a work fiction needs is to pull people in, because the reader’s biggest desire is to transported to a new world, in order to forget the stresses of their life.
Back when I read the first book in this series, Asari pretty much failed at delivering in this aspect, which made it hard for me to really be able to immerse myself, which made it really hard for me to enjoy things until something happened.
However, in this book, Asari was able to grab my attention better and quicker.
If I had to say why, it was because things felt a little bit more focused and was written less like something that works better as an anime or manga.
While I would not say that this is anywhere near kind of writing that is expected for book, regardless of whether it is a prose work or mostly prose, it was better because I was slowly led into things, with a discussion between a new pair of a characters that screamed that something would happen, as well as leading into how the characters got into this new game.
This might not be the kind of thing that I wanted to see, as I would rather sing the praises of a writer from the tops of mountains, rather than berating them, but it is still nice to see some kind of improvement in being able to grab the readers attention.
If Asari had done things like they back in the first volume, I would have been angry enough to throw this series into the trash and dropped this series before finishing the prologue.
Fortunately, that did not happen, and it helped me to find some good in this book.
Hopefully, things will get better as the series goes on, but seeing as this volume started off in a way that was barely passable, I do not think that I would find out any time soon.
The thing that I liked the most though was how there seemed to be some kind of mystery.
Aside from how there did not seem to be any great focus, one of the things that I hated about the first book was how there did not seem to be that element mystery, because Asari though that every girl needed some time in the spotlight and just put everything out there, which made it so that there were never any surprises that felt like major twists, thereby relying on the action, though the was great.
Because of this, there did not seem to be anything keeping me there.
For a reader to be able to really enjoy things, they need to be left mystified and give them reason read until the very end, which means that they need some questions on both a basic level and something to keep people coming back for more, and while the first book failed in this aspect, Asari did a great job of making things mysterious, like who was behind the recent game and who was responsible for the in game killings.
If Asari had not had me asking any questions, even ones that are more relegated moving the story along, I would have been mad enough to stop reading then and there, as things were not really that great outside of those basic questions that created an element of mystery.
Thankfully, Asari realized that there was a need for something other than a straight up killing game to make a person interested, and that makes me feel like giving him another barely passing grade.
Hopefully, things will get better in this aspect as the series progresses, but I do not think that I will ever find out, due to my current disappointment, though I would not be surprised if things get worse.
Sadly, outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked.
Because the book was able to grab my attention quickly and was able to maintain and had things rely on a mystery, rather than on the action that is found in a battle royale, the book did have something to enjoy.
Although the book had some things that I liked, there were some issues.
However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, there were only two things that bothered me.
First, there did not really seem to be any real focus on anything.
While I did note that this book felt like there was a bit more focus on something than the first volume, which seemed to be all over the place, and I could tell that there was more going on than just another death game, I was not too sure of what Asari was trying to do.
If I had to say why I had these kinds of troubles, it is because not only is there a change perspective, which is much easier to pull off with the third person perspectives than a first-person perspective, but it also switches between the game world and the real world.
Now, some of you guys might be saying that this is because the mystery aspect of the story takes place in both realms, and from the info I can dig up, the characters do not seem to be dying at the exact moment they die in game, which is what the claim is in this book, but the way Asari pulls things off, by cutting things off in the real world investigation and revealing discovered details in the game, I feel like Asari could not really determine what plot line they follow and does not even bother to connect the two worlds, beyond the clichéd premise of death in the game means you die fir real to make the reader interested.
When people read things, they want something that is easy to follow, and make sense, and when both are fulfill, it can help the reader to fill satisfied and know what kind of they are in for.
However, when they feel confused because there seems to be multiple storylines in a work, even if they both involve the same thing, the reader cannot really tell what is important or what the creator is trying to accomplish, and that makes them wonder is going on to the point where they cannot really enjoy themselves, much like not providing necessary details in a work of detective, mystery, and crime fiction.
Seriously, Asari? Is this really any way to write things? If I am expected to think that this is great writing, then I am really disappointed, because I am getting the feeling that this only exists because Madoka is still popular these days.
If Asari put more focus on either investigating through game or real life and had things flow better than suddenly revealing things the next game made an appearance, by actually allowing the audience to see these discoveries firsthand, I would have really been able to enjoy myself, even if things just felt a little too familiar.
Unfortunately, Asari did not do either while writing this book, and that made it really hard for me to actually be able to get invested beyond the opening.
Hopefully, things will improve in future installment, but because of this problem, I do not think I will ever return to this series, as I want something that I can easily follow, just like any other reader out there.
The other thing that really annoyed me though was how this book came across as something I have already read numerous times.
When a reader picks up a book, they might not expect the most unique and original out there, seeing as stories have been told so many times that they are aware that there are almost no original stories any more, but they expect to get something with a unique vibe that makes them want to try and convince others to read the book, due to their belief that there is nothing like that out there, and is a big reason why I put more stress on things feeling unique, in spite of not being unique.
However, when I started reading this book and got roughly halfway through the book, I started to feel like this was just a rehash of both the first and the widely hated SAO, because people were dying, which ended up killing their real bodies, and the girls quickly started to view each other as enemies.
I wanted to read a fun series that might challenge things or dive into how these events might traumatize the girls when I first tried out this series, but instead, I got an SAO rip off that feels similar to the Death Gun arc, making me sighing and say, “Do we seriously need another death game story?”
The fans of this series might be getting what they want, but for somebody like me, who is trying to see what the series is like and determine whether or not it is something that I would want follow, this is not looking so great.
If Asari had put more effort into things and delivered something like the beginning of SAO, which made me think that I was going to be in for the ride of my life, even though it utilized an overdone story idea, I would have been much more willing to continue on with this series, especially because Asari is trying to give me reason to buy the third installment, which has already been released, according to the product page on Amazon, by having the book end seemingly abruptly.
Sadly, Asari seemed to show that they were more concerned with the popularity of magical girls that was ushered by the likes of Madoka than actually delivering anything that made me think this was something new and original, and that caused my interest to go from high enough to seeing id this series really gets any better to almost nothing.
Hopefully, things will get better from here, but because I have already revealed my intention to never get another installment of this series, I will not know if I will ever see what makes this series great.
Thankfully, nothing else bothered me too much, at least that could stand out as much as what I already talked about, so I can leave this series behind in the sand where it will likely become lost.
While there only two problems that stuck out, they were bad enough that it really hurt my enjoyment.
Despite the fact that there were an equal number of things to like and hate, the negatives outweighed the good enough to make this a waste of time.
I would only recommend this to fans of Magical Girl Raising Project, as they would be able to get some enjoyment out of it.
As for everyone else, I recommend avoiding this like the plague and look for something else to read.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider donating as little as $1/month to me on Patreon, so I can try to find more worthwhile reads for you guys to check out.