It is rare that a dark fantasy novel with a touch of the supernatural seems to be influenced by a light novel. The Dragon Marked War God is an odd hybrid – it is both light novel and a dark fantasy. Based on the popular Japanese manga series known as Naruto, the story was originally published in English. Although there is no way to know whether it is influenced by a light novel, the novel does contain some great twists on light novel plots.
The book begins with an introduction of the central character, the Araragi siblings, a group of friends who all live in the fictional city of Nagoya in Japan. They live together, attend school, and have many friends. At school, they have classmates and enjoy their adventures. The manga has been translated into English as Naruto: Ninja Clash in the Land of Grass, so this novel may be just another manga adaptation.
The first part of the story focuses on the life of Araragi Koyomi, a boy with a habit of racking his brain for unexpected ways to solve problems, and he thinks about it all the time. He is so used to thinking of solutions to everyday problems that he doesn’t even realize he is doing it. He is especially interested in his mother’s life. She tries to keep a perfect life, but he suspects that she is slowly losing it.
The second part of the Dragon Marked War God begins when the young Araragi, Ushio, and his younger sister Rumi are picked up by an older woman named Shiki. In fact, she is the sister of Shiki Onsen, a place that provides the two young sisters with a hot spring. The Shiki Onsen is close to the Imperial palace, and thus, is heavily guarded.
The Shiki sisters are obsessed with bathing and taking baths, so they spend most of their days relaxing and talking to each other. They always want to see the imperial men and women. But, they have been told not to go to the Shiki Onsen. Their quest for the Shiki Onsen involves a big family fight.
That is, the rivalries of Kagome (the name for the Shiki Onsen) and Inui (another character). However, they are really fighting over something else: Momoe (the best girl of each of them). There are much conflict, love, and betrayal. The story is full of twists and turns, but it is not predictable. It is interesting to read a novel where both the protagonist and antagonist are siblings, and the conflict of a war in their household.
The story is too weird for a light novel. There are twists, turns, and shades of dark that are sure to make readers sit up and take notice. The novel has a literary feel that makes the reader want to read more. And, it is narrated very well by Koji Sekiguchi, who is good at reading readers and delivering different characters’ emotions. He also does justice to the character Shiki, whom we have been following through the whole story.
The Dragon Marked War God will appeal to light novel fans as well as to the Naruto fans. The plot is intriguing, and the story twists are often surprising. The ending left me with many questions, but I am hopeful that it will be answered in the next part of the story. I also hope that Koji Sekiguchi will write a sequel and revamp the series.