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Not your typical high school story

By Nina Santucci, author of Fooled

Jun 2, 2015: First of all, just a bit of disclosure, I started reading this story as part of a review trade – the author of "Transition and Restart", Sten During, agreed to read Fooled and review it for me. I’m not particularly familiar with the "light novel" format this story claims to adhere to, so I can’t really say whether this is a good or bad example of an LN. I can say that I think it is a bit unusual for WFG, since most of the stories here don’t follow the anime/manga conventions that a typical light novel, and this story, include.

I’ve watched a few animes and I recognize some of the "tropes" used in Sten’s story, but somehow I don’t find them obnoxious or anything, so I have to say that while it might be a problem for some, it was not a problem for me. You have the moody Noriko, the uber-cool Ryu, and Swedish beauty Christina, and then the two main BFFS, Yukio and Ulf/Urufu, and they all seem different enough that they don’t blend together. However, I have to admit that the framing device of the story is a bit confusing, and seems a little unnecessary. First of all, the mix between Sweden and Japan is a little awkward, those aren’t two countries I would normally associate with one another and it seems to me to be a compromise for the author to incorporate some European details he is familiar with into the typical Japanese school setting. Although I’ve only made it through the prologue and the full first chapter, I think the story would have been better had the author stuck to an all-Japanese setting because the Swedish elements don’t really make a positive difference in the action (apart from some interesting culture clashes). Secondly, I have had some difficulty understanding the way that Ulf is both a 50-year old and a high school student. Because this is apparently going to be important to the plot it is something that really should not be revealed by degrees or, if so, should be explained much more thoroughly when the opportunity arises. It is the end of Chapter 1 and I still can’t figure out how this is working yet.

I think part of the confusion is due to the way the author skips around between different viewpoints and scenes after every few paragraphs. I actually don’t mind his writing style, which is to the point without being very flowery, but each individual scene is not given enough attention to flesh it out in enough detail. There’s a good deal of exposition but not about the right things, if that makes sense. I think the author needs to focus on balancing the exposition and the dialogue, and also perhaps do a bit more editing prior to releasing these installments to make sure that he is not rambling, but attending to the relevant details needed to progress the plot and explain the characters. (And one nitpicky thing is that I can’t tell whether the font styling is accidental or deliberate, or even what it means most of the time, as the sizing alternates between really huge, regular, and really small, while we have a lot of italics presumably to indicate stream of thought. At any rate, it isn’t consistent.)

I’m not sure I’ll continue reading "Transition and Restart" – it is interesting, and I sense the possibility of a good plot, but some of the flaws in the writing style are throwing me off and making me hesitate to continue, as it is kind of a chore to interpret what is going on. Maybe those who are more familiar with the light novel format would be interested in giving this a go as I think it does have potential, it is just not quite there yet.

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