Storytelling is something I have always loved, and over the years I’ve enjoyed a wide variety of fiction: classic literature, genre fiction, foreign works, novels for adults, and plenty of young adult series. I suppose I’m not a huge expert on anything in particular because I enjoy variety (which would be a major reason for my getting into manga and anime). I’ve dabbled with visual novels at times (such as a story called Code: Realize, which I’ve been tweeting pictures of lately), and have found storytelling through video games a curious topic as well. And, as you are hopefully all aware, I’ve taken a particular liking for light novels in recent years. I like them enough to run this website at least, ha!
Over the past year or so I’ve kept tabs somewhat on trends in online fiction and its overlap with the small light novel community (outside of Japan and East Asia). I find it a bit difficult to say too much on this topic really, as the English LN online world is small and not terribly active at any of the sites I visit from time to time. But the world of online fiction in general? That is extraordinarily massive, and it’s been that way ever since the internet first took off. (Remember LiveJournal?) At any rate, web novels today are a bigger deal than they ever have been. Many light novels in Japan start off as amateur works published on blogs (with “transported to or reincarnated into a fantasy [RPG] world” apparently being the popular trend), Korean and Chinese web novels (in particular the “wuxia” genre) have been making waves, and many English speakers have been taking a stab at similar works of their own. Interestingly, I’ve even been getting a couple emails each month from English web novelists asking me to review their works, so the overlap in “light” fiction-loving communities at least has been made clear. At perhaps no surprise to anyone, many people who enjoy stories often like to write some of their own too–myself included.
(I apologize by the way, for not being able to read everyone’s stories! Turning down requests is no fun, but I simply don’t have that much free time, and what little I have I would typically prefer to use reading my backlog of light novels.)
With all that rambling out of the way, I’ll turn now to volume 2 of the fantasy adventure Daybreak on Hyperion. This series of web novels is written by Aorii, whom I interviewed last year–and I promised I would read and review the second volume of his series once I found the time to do so. I finally made the time this past month, and overall I found the experience an interesting one. Hyperion is quite different from the sorts of stories I generally like to read these days, the second volume even more so than the first. But again, variety is a good thing–I always feel readers ought to shake things up a bit in their queue of fiction from time to time and expand their world view a little more.
Hyperion‘s second volume continues where the first one left off, diving into a much more plot-driven narrative now that major characters (namely Pascal and Kaede) have been well-established. Following a nice flashback chapter to shed some light on another important character (Princess Sylviane, the lady betrothed to Pascal), the rest of the novel is almost entirely devoted to following the events of a war.
What stands out the most in this volume (as well as the first) is the amount of attention the author has given to the setting of the story. It’s readily apparent a lot of time was put into researching politics, government, war tactics, and history in general–and this is something I feel authors could afford to attempt more in their own stories. That said, this is definitely the sort of story that will appeal most to those who are big fans of intense world-building. Many pages are devoted to the analysis of social structures, in-depth magic systems, and the various strategies that are employed on the battlefield.
For me personally, I grew weary of the war fairly quickly, and I feel that is in large part due to the massive number of viewpoint characters. Pascal and Kaede have relatively small character arcs this time around, and what feels like at least half the text is allotted to the many side characters that take part in the battles that ensue (many of whom I did not care as much for, truth be told–but again, advancing the plot is more the focus here than characterization). Meetings in which characters plan for battles, chapters in which characters prepare for battles, and the many events that shift the tides of war in the battles themselves make up pretty much the entire story here.
If you are interested in that sort of story, you should find a lot to like in this web novel! Be sure to start with the first volume if you are giving Hyperion a try for the first time, and once you’ve become invested in that fantasy world you can keep up with story updates on the krytykal website.
Cho’s Rating: Maybe Recommended