LN Reading Program — July 26

(pictured: Twilight-Colored Song User)

(pictured: Twilight-Colored Song User)

For the third week of this month’s LN reading program, we will discuss the final act of The Isolator (volume 1) and Twilight-Colored Song User (volume 1). I’ll try to keep my thoughts short this week, as I’ll likely be writing reviews for these novels at some point.

The Isolator

The final act of The Isolator‘s opening volume pits Minoru against Takaesu once more, only to be followed by a climactic battle with the Biter’s “third eye.” That final transformation went a much more horrific direction than I was expecting from this story, but I felt it added quite a bit of intensity to the action that took place in general. All in all this story turned out a much more interesting read than I first anticipated, and I think that’s primarily due to the author taking the time to show the “evolution” behind the protagonist and antagonist’s respective roles.

Discussion Points

Any thoughts on how the story played out in general? I think there are several points worth looking into:

  • the thought process behind Takaesu’s revenge plan, and the actions Minoru took to counteract it
  • Minoru’s conclusion that defeating Takaesu would entail having to kill him (a darker take on things than is typical for YA protagonists)
  • Takaesu’s flashbacks gradually revealing his attachment to sharks and biting (and most surprisingly [and interestingly] to me, the reveal of how his cannibalism tied back to his birth and childhood)
  • just how much the “ruby eyes” affect their hosts, and whether or not the “jet eyes” are being manipulated to some degree as well
  • Minoru’s decision to join Yumiko and DD’s organization, and his request to have everyone forget him upon concluding his work for them

Also, there are certainly more than a couple mysteries that have not been solved, but will likely be delved into for future volumes (e.g. anything regarding Yumiko, the identity of the killer of Takaesu’s family, why the “third eyes” came to Earth and are using specific individuals as hosts, etc). There’s plenty there for speculation, and an unusual kind of overarching internal conflict that will be in play via the protagonist’s desire to one day disappear from everyone’s lives. I find it an interesting setup at the very least–would like to hear other readers’ thoughts on this matter.

(Twilight-Colored Song User art by Miho Takeoka)

(Twilight-Colored Song User art by Miho Takeoka)

Twilight-Colored Song User

Overall I found Song User to have a rather straightforward series of events for its final act. Not much in the way of big surprises–but I still found it a nice little romp to read through. The story hit all the right notes for having an epic finale, at the very least. Kluele summoning a phoenix, Arma turning into a dragon, Neight summoning his mother, and Xins unleashing his “true” rainbow-colored magic–it all worked well for this sort of fantasy story. I was glad that each of the major characters was given a role to play.

Discussion Points

Any takes on the final message for this volume in general? How did the circumstances behind this final act bring about this series of miracles?

Who is the eponymous “twilight-colored song user”? In what ways (and to what degree) has Evhemary achieved her goal of creating the new style of magic? How do Neight’s ambitions fit into this?

Do you feel the characters’ personalities tie in to their color of magic? (As reference: Kluele — red, Neight — twilight, Mio — green, Xins — rainbow, Evhemary — twilight.) Also, anything to note in how the twilight-colored magic seems to have stemmed from red?

———

As mentioned before, feel free to discuss any point you would like to bring up about either (or both) of these two books. General impressions, predictions for how the stories will play out, some compare/contrast between the two books, or any random observations and things you’d like to analyze are all fair game.

5 responses to “LN Reading Program — July 26

  1. I thought it was a good read. The afterword has me worried there might not be another volume coming out as the Japanese publisher is still deciding whether or not to publish more, and I would really like to read it and see Minoru join the organization and what happens from there. I didn’t realize Reki Kawahara was writing 5 volumes a year between his 2 main series and this, that’s a lot of writing!

    I was surprised it took that long for The Biter to be defeated, or for him to be defeated he would have to be killed so gruesomely. I felt like it dragged on a bit, but it allowed us to learn about the others abilities and was full of action. It also showed that the ruby eyes won’t go down easy and it will take the organization, not just Minoru (especially since Minoru’s power is mostly just defensive) to defeat them.

    I thought the idea of jet eyes being manipulated was an interesting idea to add to the story, though it’s hard to tell if Minoru is actually being manipulated himself considering how hard it took DD and Yumiko to convince him to join. Maybe he is being manipulated in other ways.

    I think over time Minoru will grow and discover that he realizes he doesn’t want to be forgotten. Things like his talk with Minowa will make him realize that.

    • It looks like a second volume has already released in Japan (subtitled “The Igniter”), so I think it’s safe to say Kawahara will be able to continue the series if he wishes. He is quite a prolific author–I’d love to be able to write a book every two months, myself.
      The battle with the Biter was quite long, wasn’t it? I felt there was enough variation to keep things interesting though–Minoru had to keep amending his strategy to adapt to the circumstances Takaesu and the Biter presented.
      I liked the final scene with Minowa quite a bit, and it does seem to be hinting at ways that Minoru’s character will likely develop in subsequent volumes. I do appreciate that Minoru wasn’t able to easily discard all his feelings of wishing to be alone though. I think you could say there is cognitive dissonance at play in his mind, and he’s going to have to keep struggling to work out his thoughts on life in general.

  2. I wanted to give a well-thought out response to this on Sunday, but by the end of The Isolator, I was just so sick of it I couldn’t stand to analyze it further. I really feel like the smart character development of the first part of the novel was squandered on an over-long battle that threw so many “revelations” at Takaesu’s character that it actively cheapened the early part of the novel. Yumiko and DD drove me so crazy, too. They felt flat and dull, like they were ripped out of another novel and tossed into this one to give Minoru an overarching goal and make the series more exciting and appealing. Plus, of all the things Kawahara could have picked for Yumiko’s code name, he picked Accelerator? Was this a translation oddity or an honest, “Yeah, I know that pops up in a certain other LN series, but screw that! I like it!” sort of thing?

    There was still some interesting character stuff in The Isolator’s last drag, especially with what you bring up about Minoru’s realization that Takaesu has to die, but I kind of felt like the last part of this book was a slog through 100 pages of wasted potential. I can hardly express how annoyed I was with that whole never-ending fight and the “Yeah, time to fight!” denouement. I’m not sorry I read The Isolator, and it was fun to discuss it here, but I will pull out my own toenails before I continue this series.

    • Ah, sorry you didn’t care for this book–please don’t pull out your toenails!
      I imagine more will be delved into for Yumiko and DD in later volumes — I didn’t really mind not learning anything about them yet, but I can understand the complaint.
      I did chuckle at Yumiko being called the Accelerator, but I’m not sure what title would work better. At least Minoru didn’t call her “Biri-Biri,” what with her electric weapon and all. ;P

      • No, no need to apologize! I didn’t mean at all for my snark to be directed at you, as I really appreciate your hosting this discussion. Anyway, it’s normal not to like a book, right? With or without the reading program, I would have read it eventually, and it was useful to take time and think about why I had the knee-jerk, “Not good,” reaction to it. I’ll hand it off to one of my friends, too- an unloved novel on one shelf can always find a good home somewhere. ^_^

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s