Light Novel Review: No Game No Life Volume 4

Who Would Like this Series/Volume?


As it’s a continuation, I can say with confidence that it’s not worse than what you might’ve seen/read before. In general, the series is for people who like a bit nerdy fantasy-comedy with a touch of harem and adventure.

For: Fans of Fantasy-comedy with strong harem/adventure tendencies on the side.

Difficulty


This is – by far – the most difficult series I’ve introduced so far. Its difficulty is mainly defined over its vocabulary, literary style, and overall story complexity. The vocabulary is unusual, due to the fantasy scenario and the characters’ speaking patterns. Sentences are often incomplete so that you have to know what the author’s getting at. As there are twists and lots of game descriptions or background information about made-up stuff, there are also things at work that might be hard to understand even if the whole thing was in English. This isn’t a thesis on Japanese trade law or anything, so it’s not the hardest thing to understand if you’re proficient in Japanese – heck, I was able to read it – but I’m always judging the difficulty from a person’s perspective who’s in the process of learning Japanese, and there aren’t many harder series you could pick. From what I’ve had a look at so far, it’s slightly harder than Murabito A and approximately on a level with DenpaOnna in complexity.

Difficulty 10/10

Translation Where?


Taking up from the last segment, could the difficulty justify how much the English translation sucks? No, they’re professionals and charge you; no excuses. Especially since it fails in plain English, not translation accuracy.

Translation: There’s an official translation by Yen Press. Good luck enjoying it.

Contents


NOTE: This volumes/series has an anime and/or complete translation somewhere. Hence, the contents section will be reduced to the bare minimum as you can get the experience more or less by yourself.

Rough Sketch

Vampire-ish race takes its stage. Lots of explanations on how Vampires and Siren’s (supposedly dumb as bricks) are screwed and on the brink of extinction. Explanation on how the Vampires are more or less enslaved by the Sirens, and that they want Sora and company to challenge and win over the Siren Queen who put herself to a more or less eternal sleep and wants to be kissed awake by a prince. Sora’s ought to be said prince and the game consists of invading her dream and make her fall for him. But the Vampires got a spell to make anyone fall for a certain target immediately. They try it on Miko (Werbeast Chief) and she indeed falls for Sora temporarily while Sybril monitors the whole spell. They then go for “Siren City” and the game then looks like your usual eroge. They simply screw around in it for a while. Then he makes Sybril crash the “game” and the twist starts. The Siren’s and Vampire’s plan was to block the Werbeast’s senses within the water, which they blocked by using their special Bloodbreak (or whatever) powers. So they were able to monitor everyone for lies and stuff all the time. Sora basically confirmed that the whole thing was a set up, the Siren’s only pretend to be idiots and the Vampires wanted to set Humanity (what was the term? Inuminty or so? Whatever.) up to either take their place as prey or to free everyone from the Siren’s. In fact, it’s not even sure what the condition to clear the game is. They did basically go all-in on the game, so bet their everything, before doing the game, but since they didn’t lost but the game simply crashed, it’s alright. Sora does the Schwarzenegger and announces he’ll be back, and they all retreat for now. Next target: Fl├╝gel country to check what the real condition to clear the game might be.

I’ve omitted lots and lots of stuff (very important stuff) there. Rough sketch etc.

Conclusion


Volume 4 Cover

Since I read the Kindle version I can’t say for sure, but volume four has to be really thin. I blazed through it in the blink of an eye although I had to look up lots of words and took my sweet time reading it. So first of all I can tell you that the pacing’s really quick. There’s no blabla at all. Everything that’s said is an essential requirement for either the twist that’s gonna happen or worldbuilding. No complaints here.

The comedic aspects of this volume are especially strong during the first bunch of pages. The vast majority of it isn’t boring to read or anything, but the comedy’s more of a tool to carry on the plot, it doesn’t have considerable impact, which is a pity.

The plot itself, on the other hand, is pretty brilliant. The newly introduced races feel very feasible and their situation’s thought out well. So far every race/character has their own unique speaking patterns, this is quite the feat considering the amount of characters present so far, which is in the two digits. Although the plot itself did a very hard break if you think about it, volume four’s start feels fluent and doesn’t appear like the author forces a new plotline onto you or throws a bunch of stuff at you to keep the series going, it all comes naturally. This volume’s strongest point, though, is surely its twist. You can see it coming if you keep your wits at you, but I sure didn’t. I was guessing for a whole other outcome, especially considering how the volumes so far turned out. This also keeps my hopes up for future volumes since the author isn’t a one trick pony and can certainly surprise. I also liked that it kind of finished up parts of the plot, yet lay footwork for a bigger plot line when Sora and the others decided to interrupt the game and go places first to come back better-prepared. In my opinion, it takes guts to end a volume like this and from my experience volumes rather end their story lines and simply raise new questions at the end.

Its weakest point is without doubt the literary style. It’s far harder and annoying to read than it has to be. Sentences are often far from “proper” in a linguistic sense and explanations are harder to get than necessary. I’m pretty sure that it’s annoying for native speakers too. If I had to put it positively, I’d say it’s “different.” I wonder how he gets that stuff past his editor, but apparently he does somehow. Now imagine me, who tends to read light novels as a bedtime reading, reading this. It took me a while. But the fast pace and great plot kept me at it, thankfully.

Another slightly weak point is that the characters talk and act as if a 12-year-old came up with them. That’s not really a problem of this specific volume but the series as a whole and it’s not all too intrusive, so I can easily overlook it. But the characters might get on your nerves. Well, if you stuck through the anime or read through volume one to three and didn’t get tired, then you’ll be fine.

In that sense, there’s not much to criticize (literary style, overly childish character “design”) and much to praise (pacing, comedy, plotline, twist, ending, worldbuilding, diversity in character). One weak point gets eliminated by the anime adaption, by the way (literary style), which is why I think it was epic. And therefore this volume will get an 8.

Rating 8/10

 

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