Alternate Title: Please Step Away From the Thesaurus
First let me say Lunar: The Silver Star is my favorite video game of all time. It was the first RPG I'd ever played (Shining Force CD doesn't count because that was a tactical RPG) and has been the standard barer ever since. The adventures of Alex, Nall, Ramus, Luna, Jessica, Mia, Nash, and Kyle are as dear and close to my heart as any story I've experienced. Since the Sega CD release I've purchased the game three more times (PSX, Game Boy Advance, and PSP). So, I'm not new to this rodeo.
To be blunt, this story feels like a fan-fiction written by a kid for a middle school homework assignment. And if it was I'd probably be giving it four stars! For an amateur work, it shows promise. But it's not an amateur work. It's written by Kei Shigema, writer of the original Sega CD version, and is being sold as a professional product. I'm sorry to say, it is not.
The prose is overwrought and meandering. Paragraphs are devoted to overflowing description that distracts far more than paints simply because you're wondering where it's all going. Very little is left to the imagination, and not in a good way. It smacks of trying too hard because the writer thinks that this is how a writer is supposed to write description. Also, I've not seen characters speak in such long monologues since my last viewing of a Kevin Smith film, and at least those were typically funny! Most of the spoken dialog swings between bland to over the top. There doesn't appear to be character under the dialog, just stereotypes. Not that even these stay consistent. In one scene Nash is very much literally laughing at the prospect of danger but when Alex reiterates the possibility of danger, Nash next to wets himself with fear. Really, the transition is just that abrupt.
I'm half wondering if this is simply the way novels are written in Japan. I've read a few and they all come away feeling like this. Over written and populated with manic characters.
By biggest peeve with the novel is the liberal use of five-dollar words. I'm a writer, so I feel my vocabulary is a little above average, but never in my wildest dreams would I make some of the reaches this writer did. Maybe the translator is to blame? I don't know. It certainly does feel more mechanical and less like art. Let me give you an example which made me laugh out loud: "Its origin, a poetic ballad passed down from parent to child and child to grandchild over countless generations; and Luna's voice seemed to vividly evoke a sentimental remembrance of every hope and dream left behind by the bygone ages as she voiced each syllabic word with nonpareil mellifluousness."
"Nonpareil mellifluousness"? Really? That's the best way to cap this sentence? Don't get me wrong, this entire sentence is a train wreck and "nonpareil mellifluousness" is simply the exploding passenger car at the end. But over and over and over - barely a page goes by - a very impressive sounding word takes the place of a 50-cent word that would have worked just a well, but not have brought the narrative to a screeching halt.
I come from the Stephen King school of End Your Dialog With "Said". "He said," "she said," whatever. If absolutely necessary an adjective from time to time. So, tell me why ending a piece of dialog with "... he said, rationalizing his decision to everyone." is better than "... he rationalized."? This happens all the time. Again, another example of over writing that you see from amateurs, not professionals.
I could go on, provide more examples (don't get me started on the ridiculous use of ellipses), but it's not worth the time. Honestly, I don't see anyone other than a fan of the franchise picking up this book. I am, and I did. And I'm sorry that I did.