Sophie’s World

Genres: Sophie's World

Philosophy

 

Personal Rating:

Star_rating_4.5_of_5

 


Synopsis:

Sophie’s World unfolds through the eyes of Sophie Amundsen, a teenage girl living in Norway, and Alberto Knox, a middle-aged philosopher who introduces her to philosophical thinking and the history of philosophy.


Personal Review:

Sophie’s World is a good introduction to the various schools of thought within philosophy. It offers good examples of the rationale behind each ideology and gives a brief summary of the minds behind these thoughts.

 

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1984

Genres: 1984

Dystopian Psychological Sci-fi

 

Personal Rating:

Star_rating_3.5_of_5

 


Synopsis:

The novel is set in Oceania, a surveillance state which is ruled by the “Party” and its leader Big Brother. Citizens of Oceania are constantly monitored and anyone found to be in violation of the teachings of the Party is forcibly vanished — never to be heard of again. The story is told through the eyes of Winston Smith, a nondescript office worker, who becomes discontented with his everyday life and begins to actively rebel against the Party. Readers see through Winston the deplorable conditions that the people must go through each day under the Party’s leadership. There is barely enough food nor clothing to go around. And everyday is a struggle to survive.


Personal Review:

1984 depicts the stark reality of living under a surveillance state. There is a thick sense of unease that is clearly felt throughout the novel, with Smith constantly being on guard, as he never knows who could be watching him at any given moment. He realizes that his actions are subversive to the state, and if he is caught he will certainly be vanished.

Interestingly, within this novel, there is no moral paragon to be found. All the characters have flaws in their nature, and even the main character is not exempt. Unlike most novels that would hold the MC up as the exemplar of justice, this novel paints a negative portrayal of his personality. This is most apparent when the novel looks back at his past and his behaviour as a child.

 

Animal Farm

Genres: animal farm

Politics Satire

 

Personal Rating:

Star_rating_4_of_5

 


Synopsis:

Animal Farm tells the story of a group of anthromorphic animals overthrowing their farm owner, Mr. Jones, and setting up their own rules based on an ideology called “Animalism” which aims to improve the quality of life of all animals within the farm.


Personal Review:

Animal Farm is a short and simple novel that showcases the failings of communism. Despite the ideal nature of communism which asserts that everyone is equal; in reality, without proper checks and balances within the government together with educated citizens who constantly scrutinize the laws, rampant corruption pervades the higher echelons of this society and leads to a degradation of all the basic tenets of the ideal — because equality is nowhere to be found in this society, and all power rests within the government’s hands.

 

My Death Flags Show No Sign of Ending

Genres:death flag

Adventure Comedy Drama Fantasy Romance Tragedy

 

Personal Rating:

Star_rating_4_of_5

Start reading now!


Synopsis:

Hirasawa Kazuki, a university student, suddenly finds himself inexplicably transmigrated into the body of Harold Stokes, the villain of the highly popular RPG 『Brave Hearts』. For him, tons of landmines appearing like death flags are in his surroundings! Can Kazuki evade the mountainous amount of death flags and advance through the survival route!?


Personal Review:

The novel is good blend of misunderstanding, romance, and action. The MC, having played and finished the game, knows that in the original storyline his character would face ruin and eventual death at the hands of the Hero. This is mainly due to the vicious and despicable nature of his family who relish in torture. In order to avoid meeting this bad end, the MC actively makes use of his foreknowledge in order to either mitigate disasters coming his way or outright avoid them. Of course, owing to the unfavorable nature of his family, misunderstandings pop up regarding his character, as no one believes him to be capable of altruism.

And because of a unique feature of his transmigration, the MC retains the original game character’s dialogue and is forever capable of only speaking harsh words towards others. This further deepens the misunderstanding surrounding him — with side characters having an overinflated impression of his character, either believing him to be a misunderstood hero or a terrible villain; never knowing that all his actions are merely a direct result of him trying to avoid death flags.

Overgeared

Genres: overgeared

Action Adventure Comedy Fantasy Harem Sci-fi

 

Personal Rating:

Star_rating_3_of_5

Start reading now!


Synopsis:

The story is set in a massively popular VRMMORPG called Satisfy. Grid, a newbie player, completes his 3 month long quest and successfully obtains a legendary blacksmith class called [Pagma’s descendant]. This is the start of his journey to becoming the most overgeared user in the game.


Personal Review:

This novel is very similar to the Legendary Moonlight Sculptor, as both MCs are production classes. What sets this novel apart, however, is the character development of the MC. At the start of the novel, the MC is greedy, selfish, and shortsighted; but his personality greatly matures as he meets new friends and undergoes various ordeals throughout his journey in the game. The novel is a decent read and a fun way to kill time, but the story should probably not be overanalyzed as there are numerous plot holes to be found.

 

Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

Genres:re zero

Adventure Comedy Drama Fantasy Psychological Romance Tragedy

 

Personal Rating:

Star_rating_5_of_5

Start reading now!


Synopsis:

Suddenly, high school student Subaru Natsuki has been summoned to another world on the way back from the convenience store. With the biggest crisis of his life being summoned to another world, and with no sign of the one who summoned him, things become even worse when he is attacked.

But when he is saved by a mysterious, silver-haired girl with a fairy cat, Subaru attempts to return the favor by helping her track down something that was stolen from her. When they finally manage to get a clue, Subaru and the girl are attacked and killed by someone.

Subaru then awakens in the place he was summoned and notices he gained the ability “Returns by Death” and has become a helpless boy that only has the ability to rewind time to a certain point by dying.

Beyond the despair, can he save the girl from the fate of death?


Personal Review:

At first glance, it looks the same as any other isekai novel — an ordinary Japanese highschool boy suddenly finding himself transported to a fantasy world filled with magic. However, what immediately sets this novel apart is how quickly the mood of the story changes. From an initially easygoing, happy-go-lucky atmosphere, the tone of the story becomes really dark, as the MC finds himself murdered together with the mysterious girl he just met. This novel’s strange mix of comedy and tragedy is quite grapping, as it instills a sense of horror in the reader, that the cheerful girl who was just introduced moments ago has just been brutally murdered.

This really helps connect the readers with the sole desire of the MC, Subaru, who just wants to protect that girl’s smile. Unfortunately, in his desire to do so, Subaru finds himself dragged into a game of intrigue and soon realizes that his only way out is through his unique power — Return by Death. But with every death he encounters, the trauma of dying returns with him, slowly chipping away at his sanity every time he uses his power. This really makes the novel quite an emotional roller coaster to go through, as there are numerous ups and downs over the course of this story. There is also a sense of deep gratification whenever the MC is able to overcome these hurdles, as he is quite frankly ridiculously weak compared to the superhumans who inhabit the fantasy world.

The plot reveals at the end of each arc are quite excellent, and they tie in to complete an expansive lore and extensive worldbuilding in the story. I would definitely recommend this story for people who want to read a unique isekai novel.

*Sidenote: translation starts after the end of episode 25 of the anime.

 

Kenkyo, Kenjitsu o Motto ni Ikite Orimasu

Genres:kenkyo

Comedy Romance School Life Shoujo Slice of Life

 

Personal Rating:

Star_rating_5_of_5

Start reading now!


Synopsis:

It was something that happened while I was waiting for the day of the primary school entrance exam. I realised that I had become one of the characters of a shoujo manga that I loved reading in my old life, ‘you are my dolce’.

The role I was assigned was a character who bullied the commoner protagonist and tried to get in the way of her love with a rich boy nicknamed Emperor; a typical villainess rich girl, Kisshouin Reika.

At the end of the story, Reika suffered the Emperor’s retribution and even her family fell into ruin. With the villain gone, the protagonist and the Emperor overcame their trials and became a couple. And they lived happily ever after.

Wait, that’s terrible for meee! The manga ended there, but I have to continue living my life after my family is ruined!

The protagonist can enjoy her romance or love or whatever on her own. I’ll erase my presence so that I don’t anger the Emperor.

Eh? The story isn’t progressing well because there’s no villain, you say? But I’m busy saving up money and studying so that I can live well after the collapse.


Personal Review:

This is a very lighthearded story about a girl reincarnating as an ojou-sama in a popular otome game. The otome game trope has recently become quite popular in Japan. One way that this novel stands out is how slow the romance is and how early the story begins. The story starts when the MC is still a grade schooler, and gradually progresses until she becomes a high schooler. The story is basically food porn at times, as the novel goes more into detail about the various food that the MC eats rather than going into depth about the romantic interests. The misunderstandings happening in the novel are also quite hilarious, as the side characters have a completely wrong understanding of the MC, with only the MC’s close friends realizing how deeply strange she truly is and how far removed she is from her public persona.