Title: Restart ∞ Days Author: s0rahana Publisher: VIC’s Lab Distribution Language: English Format: Digital Pages: 170 Genre: Sci-Fi Publication Date: June 27, 2017
The story of Restart ∞ Days centers around Yuzuru Kihara, a boy who has committed suicide and ended up in a place called Fictional Reality. Every 8th day, God creates the world known as Fictional Reality where those who died get to play a series of games. The winner of those games will be given the right to save someone close to them and return to life.
Each time, six people are chosen and are known as Retainers. Two of them will represent the past, two will represent the present and two will represent the future. This concept allows for interactions between a multitude of world lines. In the novel, we get to experience two iterations of the Imaginary War, the term used to describe the act of playing the games inside of Fictional Reality. The outcome of these games can reshape the world lines and alter time itself.
The games themselves were a bit interesting, but were also very difficult to follow. While everything made sense as you read through the book, I wish some better explanation was given. For example, in the first game, Memory Shift, a retainer will be given a random memory from one of the other retainers. Once all six retainers viewed someone else’s memory, you get the judge their memories. The one that is most sympathetic will end up winning the game. The second game played (which was during the second Imaginary War) was Virtual Paranoia.
While the concept of Virtual Paranoia is a straightforward survival game, Battle Royale style, there were a lot of rules to it that were presented in a table format with little to no explanation. A reader shouldn’t have to sit an analyze the rules to a game within a story. It should be explained thoroughly through the narrative and not just have all the information dumped on the reader at once. I found myself skipping over the tables entirely and just continued reading the text. Something like that really breaks the suspension of disbelief when your goal should be drawing your reader into the world you are crafting.
The ending to both games never saw a proper conclusion due to some Deus Ex Machina rule that the author implemented. Even at the end of the novel, nothing was ever resolved. Yuzuru was given a chance to save Ayase, but we never get to see how. The author does mention a second volume coming so I’m assuming we will see a conclusion there.
One of the biggest issues I’ve had with this novel was the complete lack of development and importance of its characters. Every character was given a bit of a personality, but their backstories were rarely ever fleshed out.
In Yuzuru’s case, he committed suicide, but it was never really stated why outright. We get clues that it had to deal with the death of Ayase’s sister, but then the novel seemed to indicate that it was due to Ayase herself committing suicide. I understand that there is a timeline alteration at one point in this novel, but to have it change the motive is a bit odd. Yuzuru’s personality isn’t really any different than any other shonen protagonist we’ve seen. He’s confused a lot of the time and during Virtual Paranoia, he couldn’t bring himself to kill anyone, yet he was determined to win. There was very little substance to the main character and I found him rather boring. His goal even shifts from saving Ayase’s sister to saving Ayase herself. Again, that could have been because of the timeline alteration, but it wasn’t really outright stated.
Outside of this, the rest of the characters might as well have not really existed. During the games the author couldn’t be bothered with noting who they were. Every retainer was given a number and for most of the novel, all characters were referred to as “Number 1” or “Number 2.” This made it insanely difficult to keep track of which character was which and it completely disconnected me from the story. Not to mention that most of these characters backstories were explained very loosely in a paragraph or less with only one or two of them getting their backstory fleshed out.
For example, in the first game, Minase Ishiki’s backstory was fleshed out. In fact, we had a whole chapter devoted to it. Then, that character disappeared for the rest of the book. It would have been more interesting if we knew everyone’s backstory in great detail, but it seemed as if the author decided to focus on one or two characters and gave up on the others.
Restart ∞ Days was a very difficult novel to read from start to finish. The story switched perspectives from person to person so much that it was hard to keep track of everything that was happening. Not only that, but each time the day switched, we were treated to another header noting a date, time and setting. Sometimes we would get a header and then one sentence before switching to another header. This also made it very difficult to follow the story which can be best described as chaotic disarray.
The unimportant characters and the fact that they were referred to as numbers for most of the book didn’t help solve the confusion either. Some characters had personalities while others were just given generic descriptions. I felt no sense of attachment to any of them because the author couldn’t even put any effort into giving them meaningful identities or purposes.
The last bit of criticism I have on the novel is the grammar. The novel was written in broken English and while I understand the author is not from the United States and, therefore, English would not be their first language, it made an already difficult and confusing story that much harder to read and understand. The premise of the light novel was very interesting and since I am an avid fan of this type of sci-fi genre, this title stood out to me as one I would have been interested in reading and reviewing.
Unfortunately, I cannot give this light novel a recommendation. There were just way too many flaws with it which prevented me from enjoying it. As an independent light novelist myself, I fully understand the difficulty of creating your own book. It’s not an easy road for anyone so I can applaud s0rahana for their efforts. It’s just the unfortunate circumstance that I just didn’t enjoy this book.