I’ve previously reviewed the anime adaptation of this but I wasn’t overly impressed with certain aspects of the story (wasn’t bad but also wasn’t anything overly amazing, but the fight sequences do make it worthwhile) and so I picked up the first volume of this hoping it would tell the same story but better. We’ll get to whether it succeeded in the review, but basically this is the story of Adlet, an idiot who through some childhood trauma ended up training himself to be the self-proclaimed strongest man in the world in the hopes of being selected as one of the six braves who will go and fight the evil god who awakens every so often and tries to destroy the world. All pretty simple except that seven braves show up and one of them is a fake who is most definitely trying to get Adlet killed.
My issue with the anime was the lack of viable suspects after they set up a mystery and if I’m honest the book is worse if I read it as a mystery. The whole who is the seventh thing is absurd, plus this book jumps perspectives so we can ‘hear’ the inner gloating of the seventh from time to time starting at page 80. Even if I hadn’t watched the anime the tone of this, the timing and choice of target just scream at you to figure out who it is. So while the characters are solving a mystery, the reader isn’t and nor are they really invited to given you’re mostly just waiting for the reactions of the characters once they catch on.
I actually looked this up after reading and the book is classified as a fantasy in most places I found it and isn’t labelled as a mystery. So the disappointing mystery element might be overlooked, except that there is nothing else in this story.
We have introductions to seven characters, some mythology around the braves, the saints, the fiends, and the evil god, and we have a locked room mystery that the braves have to solve. That’s it. This book doesn’t get on with that bigger story or anything else, it is pure set up, but it is set-up that is mostly pointless.
Throw in that Adlet is a little bit more insufferable in written form (that ‘strongest man in the world’ line get’s really irksome) and that Fremy comes across as completely irrational, and two of the characters I didn’t mind so much in the anime are pretty much down for the count. Hans works better in written form (both his character design and his scenes seem to have more life and energy than they did in the anime) but this is about the only character where there seems to be a noticeable improvement due to the difference in delivery.
So far I’ve enjoyed picking up reading light novels but I won’t be continuing this series. It just wasn’t interesting enough and the plot didn’t go anywhere. And maybe the argument could be made that the story is just getting going, but when I’ve read a whole book and feel like I’m still just waiting for a story to get going it is time to bail.
The real question is whether I might have enjoyed this more having not watched the anime first and the answer is probably not. The writing works but isn’t particularly descriptive, it is hard to visualise a lot of the fight sequences (and I was probably filling in blanks with things I had seen in the anime) and the characters are fairly ordinary (Hans being the exception because I quite enjoyed him in the book). With a plot I’m not really interested in and a set up as generic as defeat the evil god that then isn’t even really addressed, I probably would have passed on this one anyway. At least the anime has cool and well animated fight sequences to distract you from some of these issues in the story. So while I might have watched a continuation of the anime (had it got one) I’m not going to read any further.
If you have read the book or watched the anime, I’d love to know your opinion of either so leave me a comment below.
If you’re interested in reading Rokka, Brave of the Six Flowers Volume 1 it is available on the Book Depository.