Review: Twilight-Colored Song User (Vol 1)

(art by Takeoka Miho)

(art by Takeoka Miho)

(Note: This site’s central focus is on light novels officially translated and published in English, but at times I will post reviews for stories that have only been translated by fans. Please support the Japanese books that don’t get English releases.)

Twilight-Colored Song User

Twilight-Colored Song User

There have been more than a few light novel series in recent years set in a magical school. The story of Twilight-Colored Song User is perhaps a somewhat more serious take on the concept, eschewing romcom hijinks and fanservice for complicated magic systems and a narrative that spans multiple generations. The series itself is in fact part of a larger fictional world, as it is a prequel series to Hyouketsu Kyoukai no Eden, both of which were written by Sazane Kei.

In this world, student specialize in a Color–a field of summoning magic that requires song-like Recitations in order to successfully utilize. The story starts with a lengthy prologue in which a boy vows he will become a master of all five Colors, and a girl vows she will create a brand new “Night Color.” We then jump ahead some number of years, and follow a new set of characters. The protagonist, Kluele, is a girl who is struggling to learn her field of magic (Red), but she soon becomes friends with a young transfer student boy named Neight. The boy is a sort of child prodigy, and is in the process of mastering–you guessed it–the brand new Night Color.

All in all this volume is a fairly dense read, one in which not a whole lot happens. We get to know the characters and the school, and then a rather straightforward dilemma is brought up for the final act for everyone to work together to overcome. In a way it reminded me much of an early Harry Potter novel, albeit less whimsical. There isn’t a lot in the way of surprises in this one, but some readers may appreciate the focus of the story, with its familiar themes of hard work, teamwork, and persevering in the effort to achieve lofty goals.

Though the story itself did not stand out to me a whole lot, I did like the characters well enough. I found it easy to relate to Kluele’s difficulties, and easy to root for the young boy Neight. Their character arcs seem to have only begun by the end of this volume, but that is just the type of slow-burner this series appears to be aiming for. Fans of extensive fantasy series with elaborate magic systems may find a lot to like about this one, and be more willing to put up with its methodical pace and relatively basic introductory conflicts.

Cho’s Rating: Maybe Recommended

2 responses to “Review: Twilight-Colored Song User (Vol 1)

  1. Thanks for this review. Now I’d actually have to keep an eye on this book. It’s rare to see a Japanese LN author put serious thought into a creative, unique, and complex internal mechanics design. And if it’s similar to a Harry Potter novel, it really could be forgiven for slow characterization and straightforward tasks since that’s part of the deal with the coming-of-age genre: start simple and scale upwards.

    • I think it’s certainly worth trying for any fan of magical fantasy adventures. It does feel like this is the sort of series where it’s appreciated more for its overarching plot rather than its smaller arcs (i.e. individual volumes), so hopefully the translation will continue. They’re working on volume 3 at the moment, and I’d love to see it finish.

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