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Light Novel Review - A Certain Magical Index - NT Volume 9

Cover Art
Cover ArtASCII Media Works

With the most recent volume in the 'Gremlin Saga' out, many readers had expected a conclusion of the arc which saw Magic God Othinus bring the world to the very brink of destruction, and beyond. It's difficult to say whether or not this is what happened. On the one hand, there is definitely a resolution as to the events which were hanging off a cliff in Kazuma Kamachi's eighth volume, but volume nine's cliffhanger is every bit as tense, nerve racking, and frustrating.

PROS:

  • Quality Writing. I'm a big fan of this series, and while it's always an enjoyable read, "Kamijou Touma's Adventures In The End Of The World," as I am calling it, is simply a cut above. There's soul searching, there's an emotional roller-coaster, there's existential dilemma. All in easy to read light novel format!
  • TOUMA! There have been installments in this series that focused on other protagonists, such as Hamazura or even Accelerator. Some readers have loved it, others have not been too keen on it. If you prefer fisticuffs to vector reversal, this one might be up your alley. It's all about Touma.
  • What ifs. Touma and Othinus battle across a bewildering array of worlds, and some of them are simply wicked in focus. Even the nice ones are designed to torment both Touma and the reader. It's really quite a feat

CONS:

  • Dude Looks Like A Lady. I'm not sure why it bothers me, but it does. Othinus is Odin. Yeah. Just like how Saber was the female ghost of King Arthur in Fate, a male historical or mythological figure is portrayed as female. Not a big deal, and there is at least a (weak) attempt at explaining it, but there nonetheless.
  • Read The Language. This is currently only out in Japanese. If you don't read the language, you have to find a translation. If you find a good one, this can be a masterful work, if you find a not-so-good one, it will be incomprehensible.
  • Needs More Railgun. Misaka Mikoto is in only very limited quantity here. Her 'Sisters' do play an important part at one point, but that's not quite the same.

So what, then, is the final verdict? The good definitely outweighs the bad here by a significant margin. If you've been following this series, this is a no brainer. That said, it would be a terrible jumping off point for someone not already deep in. Furthermore, the ending, while a clever (and in retrospect OBVIOUS) twist leaves you simultaneously groaning in anguish and waiting for more.