Review of Yuu Miyazaki’s THE ASTERISK WAR: VOL. 17

The Asterisk War, Vol. 17 (light novel): The Grand Finale by Yuu Miyazaki

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reaching the end of a series is always bittersweet. You’ve devoted how many years to following the characters? (To say nothing of waiting for publications to drop and get translated) You want a satisfying ending to the action and hope your favorite characters will achieve the happiness (or sadness) they deserve. That’s a lot of weight to put on a book!

And all that sits on your mind before you even open the cover and flip to the first page.

The Festa battle between Julis and Orphelia was everything I could have hoped for and more. I honestly wasn’t sure where Miyazaki-san would take things. The possibilities spread out in so many directions given the characters’ motivations, and I don’t know that I would have been disappointed with any of them. But this was handled so beautifully and true to their characters.

This made the final confrontation between Mathias and Ayato much more of a let-down. The two have been building and building throughout the series toward something epic, and it never reached that pinnacle. I actually double-checked the pages to make sure I wasn’t missing any. The action was there, naturally, but then it dropped. It felt like a writer on a deadline – or one who wrote themselves into a corner and panicked. Set against each other, the two battles have no comparison.

And, unfortunately, it’s Ayato’s that leads into an ending that stretches on MUCH too long. I understand there’s a large cast of characters in the series, but presenting ALL of them was too much. I honestly got bored. The writing also shifted, as if a narrator suddenly dropped into the midst to take over shuffling everything around. It became awkward, as if having something lecture a report – not a pleasant read. I understand – after reading the Afterword – wanting to leave options open to further write in the world, but I don’t feel it was necessary to dump all of the information here. Put it in your notes, and then make it an introduction to a new series.

All in all, the series proved enjoyable. I don’t regret starting it (something I can’t always say). And I’ll certainly keep an eye out for anything else Miyazaki-san writes.

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