Hawk's By Design

I watch quite a bit of anime. I mean…that’s pretty much a given seeing how I run an anime website.


A few years ago, after finishing Sword Art Online Season 2, I decided I wanted to give the books a go. I was in love with the series, despite its flaws, and wanted to find the hidden details that laid within the books.

Fast forward to present time, I’ve completed SAO (though there is a final arc set to come out), and am currently reading four other stories.

Why Light Novels?

Whenever people talk about source material, most people immediately think of manga. However, more often then not, the anime is created based off the manga, which is based off the light novel.

Does that matter? …Nah.

I just prefer to read the stories in a more written fashion. I have nothing against manga; it’s just a personal preference.

Although, I’ve never really been able to comprehend the right to left thing. Any time I’ve tried, I’ve totally messed up the order. So, I like to stick to books.

Light novels have the occasional illustration thrown in as well, so that’s nice.

Stories I’m Following

This is what I really wanted to talk about. The stories I’ve read and am currently reading.

I’m going to list them with the most hype ones toward the top…cause I’m weird like that.

Sword Art Online English Light Novel Volume 1

Sword Art Online

I mentioned this one earlier, but SAO was my gateway into the light novel world. I started the series after seeing, and very quickly passing, the anime.

I’ve completed the series up to its current point (end of S3). There is supposed to be one more arc called Unital Ring or something, but I’m still waiting on that.

Fun fact, I was so hooked on the Alicization arc that I read the translations online in order to finish it. Of course, like a good supporter, I am buying the hard copies as they come out.

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash English Light Novel Volume 1

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

I watched the anime when it first came out, and was hooked on the plot. The anime didn’t get a whole lot of attention, which really is a shame, because it was beautiful. It’s basically an isekai, but with more focus on realism.

The anime only covers the first two books, which is a shame because after that shit really hits the fan. You got death, raids, a sprinkle of romance, and lots of fun adventures!

The fourteenth book JUST dropped on Kindle (yeah, they are super behind on printing). Just take that in for a second. The anime literally covered 2/14 books. Crazy.

Though at times I feel like the author can’t make up his mind for the plot, I still love Grimgar. It’s a realistic take on a fantasy world that I just can’t get enough of. I love the story. I love the characters. I’m super sad there isn’t a whole lot of merch.

Log Horizon English Light Novel Volume 1

Log Horizon

LH was actually the second set of novels I ever started, right after SAO. I would alternate between the two.

The story is great and offers some more depth to the already information packed anime. The books literally go as far as the anime, until recently. The first book after the anime was just released in the USA a few months ago (the author was in jail for tax fraud).

Although I’m not a huge fan of the author’s writing style, I’m heavily invested in this story. The detail that goes into everything is pretty awesome. Though, like Grimgar, I’m not really sure the author has a clear idea how to end the series.

The Irregular English Light Novel Volume 1

The Irregular at Magic High School

This is a more recent addition to my light novel collection. I really enjoyed the anime; so much that I’ve watched it 2 or 3 times. So, when I started running out of SAO/Grimgar/LH novels to read, this was the next one up.

I’m currently only on the second book, so still super early. My initial impressions of the books are okay. The author really doesn’t like to mess around with character detail and relies heavily on illustrations. He does love to go into magic details though, which is cool.

I’m going to keep reading because I love the story. I’m curious to see how the writing for the major action scenes go and what little details the anime skipped over.

Toradora English Light Novel Volume 1


Ah, yes. The rom-com that sits atop many people’s lists. For some crazy reason, the light novels are just now starting to get translated. As soon as I saw that, I knew I had to go for it.

As you can see from the previous titles, I’ve never read a full on rom-com before, so this is new for me. I’ve completed two books and, I gotta say, I love it. The writing style is nice and easy to follow, and the characters all pack a nice punch.

You get to see a different perspective on the main characters, things you just have to assume with the anime, which is why I read the books in the first place!

In short, I like it.

That’s That

There’s my list. Five series. One, temporarily, completed.

When I talk about reading so many different series to people, they think I’m crazy. However, with the slow publishing of the novels, you have to juggle a few so you always have something to read.

Right now, Grimgar and Log Horizon have priority, since I’m most heavily invested in those two stories. In between those releases, I flip flop between The Irregular and Toradora based off my mood.

I can’t wait until I have a massive bookcase full of light novels; that’ll be cool.

Thanks for nerding out with me!!

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