Light novels

     

Enjoy the best 25 light novels of all time to lớn read in English including the classic series and latest trends


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A light novel is one of the coolest modern Japanese cultures while anime & manga have been known more commonly as leading Japanese contents recently. However, don’t forget that light novels which are generated by Japanese pop culture (or subculture) becomes the basis of anime & manga adaptions. Current popular anime series are adapted from the light novels.

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Speaking of Japanese novels, Haruki Murakami, Soseki Natsume and other modern authors are famous worldwide. At the same time, light novels can be positioned as part of Japanese literature.

The definition of light novels are not clear in a general way. Khổng lồ put it plainly, light novels often have an anime-style illustration on the book cover and some character illustrations are added inside the book as well. That kind of novels were sold in nhật bản from around the 1970s và it is said that light novels originate with that date.

Light novels became widely recognized when the legendary Slayers written by Hajime Kanzaki (illustrated by Rui Araizumi) was published in 1989 though there were a small minority of the fans in the whole society. Since then, now-famous titles have been released in nhật bản and the light novel is one of the most popular book genres as well as manga và novels in the present day.

Today, I’d like to introduce the best light novels of all time for both beginners and advanced readers. Many popular books are translated into English & other languages so that you can enjoy reading them in your native languages.

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25. Goblin Slayer

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Goblin Slayer Light Novel

A popular ongoing dark-fantasy light novel Goblin Slayer (ゴブリンスレイヤー)was originally released on a Japanese textboard in 2012. & then, the current format as a light novel has been published since 2016.

The main character Goblin Slayer is the soldier who takes his life on hunting goblins. The manga and anime adaptions have been made for its popularity.

Author:Kumo KagyuIllustrator:Noboru KannatsukiPublished: from 2016Genre: Dark fantasy, Adventure


24. Didn’t I Say lớn Make My Abilities Average In The Next Life?!

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Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average In The Next Life?! Light Novel

Didn’t I Say to lớn Make My Abilities Average In The Next Life?! (私、能力は平均値でって言ったよね!), which has been published since 2016, is categorized as fantasy và Isekai.

A high school girl Misato is killed in a traffic accident và is born again in the parallel world as a teenage girl namedAdele. She finds out that she has a much more powerful abilities than average while she asks lớn make her abilities just average.

Author: FUNAIllustrator:Itsuki AkataPublished: from 2016Genre: Isekai, Naro, Comedy

23. Katanagatari (Sword Tale)

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Katanagatari Light Novel

Katanagatari (刀語), which means Sword Tale in English, was written in 2007-2008 byNisio Isin who is one of the most famous light novel authors in Japan.

The historical story is mix in the fictional nhật bản around the Edo period. The protagonist Shichika Yasuri begins his journey lớn collect the 12 legendary swords fighting the owners & other enemies. Katanagatari was made into an anime adaption with 12 episodes in 2010.

Author:Nisio IsinIllustrator: TakePublished: 2007-2008Genre: Historical, Action


22. The Rising of the Shield Hero

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The Rising of the Shield anh hùng Light Novel

The Rising of the Shield hero (盾の勇者の成り上がり) is the popular ongoing Naro light novel published as both online & physical books from 2012.

The university student Naofumi Iwatani is suddenly transported to lớn the fantasy world & given a role asthe Shield Hero. There are three other heroes in the same situation, but they have offensive weapons such as sword, lance và arrow. The Shield hero manages to lớn fight enemies with the defensive shield.

Author:Aneko YusagiIllustrator:Minami SeiraPublished: from 2012Genre: Naro, Isekai, Adventure


21. Arifureta: From Commonplace lớn World’s Strongest

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Arifureta From Commonplace to World’s Strongest Light Novel

Arifureta: From Commonplace lớn World’s Strongest (ありふれた職業で世界最強) has been published on the user-generated novel website Shosetsuka ni Naro since 2013 while its paper books are also published from 2015.

A nerdy high school boy Hajime Nagumo is summoned khổng lồ the fantasy world with his classmates. He is represented as an antihero or dark anh hùng in the story. The first season of the anime adaption was released in 2019.

Author:Ryo ShirakomeIllustrator: TakayakiPublished: from 2013Genre: Naro, Isekai

20. Spice and Wolf

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Spice and Wolf Light Novel

Spice và Wolf (狼と香辛料), one of the most known fantasy light novels in the 2000s, has been published since 2006.

The setting is the fictional world that is inspired by the medieval Europe và the story focuses on the two main characters. Atraveling merchant Kraft Lawrence encounters various incidents on his trip with the wolfpersonifiedHolo who looks lượt thích a human-wolf hybrid.

Author:Isuna HasekuraIllustrator:Ju AyakuraPublished: from 2006Genre: Fantasy, Adventure


19. Death March lớn the Parallel World Rhapsody

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Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Light Novel

Death March lớn the Parallel World Rhapsody (デスマーチからはじまる異世界狂想曲), the typical Naro novel, is one of the most read light novels on Shosetsuka ni Naro in the recent years.

A 29 years oldgaming programmer named Ichiro Suzuki works too hard & has a nap in the office. He wakes up to lớn become aware that he is in the of the role-playing trò chơi that he is making. 12 episodes of the anime adaption were aired on TV in 2018.

Author:Hiro AinanaIllustrator:shriPublished: 2013-2020Genre: Naro, Isekai

18. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Light Novel

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (転生したらスライムだった件) is a popular ongoing Naro và Isekai light novel with the chất lượng theme.

Main characters are reborn in the different fictional world as a human, but the protagonist ofThat Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime isReincarnatedas a slime named Rimuru. The strange slime’s adventure is also depicted in the anime adaption broadcasted from 2018.

Author: FuseIllustrator:Mitz VahPublished: from 2014Genre:Naro, Isekai

17. Classroom of the Elite

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Classroom of the Elite Light Novel

Classroom of the Elite (ようこそ実力至上主義の教室へ), published from 2015, is one of the hottest school-themed light novels.

It focuses on everyday life of the highest-level high school và there are highly intelligent students in the school including the protagonist Kiyotaka Ayanokoji. Each class fights with others with a variety of mind games. The following story, which started from 2020, begins afterKiyotaka and his classmates go to lớn the second grade.

Author:Shogo KinugasaIllustrator:Shunsaku TomosePublished: from 2015Genre: School, Thriller

16. Is It Wrong to lớn Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

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Is It Wrong to lớn Try lớn Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Light Novel

Is It Wrong to lớn Try khổng lồ Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (ダンジョンに出会いを求めるのは間違っているだろうか), which was uploaded on the user-publishing trang web Arcadia, has been published since 2013.

The setting is the fantasy world Orario where there are lots of underground labyrinth known as Dungeon. The main character Bell visits Dungeons to lớn live from day khổng lồ day and get stronger, and then he falls in love with thepowerful swordswoman Ais.

Author:Fujino OmoriIllustrator:Suzuhito YasudaPublished: from 2013Genre: Fantasy

15. The Irregular at Magic High School

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The Irregular at Magic High School Light Novel

The Irregular at Magic High School (魔法科高校の劣等生) was first released on the Shosetsuka ni Naro website in 2008 & the light novel has been published as a paper book since 2011.

The ongoing sci-fi novel has the theme of magic in the fictional Japan. The story centers on the two students in First High School: the brother Tatsuya và his little sister Miyuki.

Author:Tsutomu SatoIllustrator:Kana IshidaPublished: from 2008Genre: Naro, Action, Science Fiction

14. My Youth lãng mạn Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected

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My Youth thắm thiết Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected Light Novel

My Youth romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected (やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。), which is also known asMy Teen thắm thiết Comedy SNAFU, is the romance light novel published from 2011 & completed with the vol.14 (and 3 short books) in 2019.

It depicts the high school life of the pessimistic boy Hachiman Hikigaya và his school service club members including the heroine Yukino Yukinoshita. The final season of its anime adaption is being released in 2020.

Author:Wataru WatariIllustrator:Ponkan8Published: 2011-2019Genre: Slice of life, Romance

13. Zaregoto Series

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Decapitation: Kubikiri Cycle Light Novel

Zaregoto Series (戯言シリーズ) is one of the most popular light novel series written by Nisio Isin. The first title of the series isDecapitation: Kubikiri Cycle (クビキリサイクル 青色サヴァンと戯言遣い) published in 2002 và all 9 volumes were released by 2005.

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The main character “I” and his friend Timo Kunagiza meet a variety of unique characters và get involved in lots of incidents. The spin-off seriesNingen Series with 7 volumes and Saikyo Series with 4 volumes are also related to the main series.

Author:Nisio IsinIllustrator:TakePublished: 2002-2005Genre: Mystery

12. Overlord

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Overlord Light Novel

As one of the most popular Naro light novels,Overlord (オーバーロード) should be picked out. It was published at first on the websites Arcadia & Shosetsuka ni Naro from 2012. Momonga, the player ofVRMMORPG(Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) namedYGGDRASIL, finds out he is transported to the different world fromYGGDRASIL as the game character called Ainz Ooal Gown.

Author:Kugane MaruyamaIllustrator:so-binPublished: from 2012Genre: Naro, Isekai

11. The Saga of Tanya the Evil

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The Saga of Tanya the Evil Light Novel

The Saga of Tanya the Evil (幼女戦記), a quality fantasy light novel, started its publication on the website Arcadia in 2011 và as a physical book in 2013. The setting ofThe Saga of Tanya the Evil is inspired by the World Wars in Europe. A salaried worker is sent khổng lồ another world in the past as a little girl namedTanya von Degurechaff. Theyoung, blonde girl survives in the world as a member of the military. The light novel has been adapted into manga, anime & movies as well as other popular novels.

Author:Carlo ZenIllustrator:Shinobu ShinotsukiPublished: from 2011Genre: Fantasy

10. Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!

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Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! Light Novel

Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! (この素晴らしい世界に祝福を!) was released in 2013 after it had got popular among users in the website Shosetsuka ni Naro, và the story just came lớn the end in May, 2020.

The Isekai comedy light novel, which can be also looked on as the Naro genre, features the 4 main characters: Kazuma, Aqua, Darkness and Megumin. Kazuma, who dies in an accident when he is a high schooler, is sent lớn the fantasy world with the goddess Aqua.

Author:Natsume AkatsukiIllustrator:Kurone MishimaPublished: 2012-2020Genre: Isekai, Comedy

9. Toradora!

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Toradora! Light Novel

As one of the most read light novels in the 2000s,Toradora! (とらドラ!) is known especially in Japan. The slice-of-life light novel consists of 1o volumes & 3 spin-offs published between 2006 & 2009.

In the story, everyday và romance of the high schoolers Ryuji, Taiga và their friends with comedy. On the other hand, they have lots of problems in their lives such as family problems of the heroine Taiga.

Author: Yuyuko TakemiyaIllustrator: YasuPublished: 2006-2009Genre: Slice of life, Romance

8. Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World-

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Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- Light Novel

Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- (キノの旅 -the Beautiful World-), one of the longest modern light novel series, has been published with 22 volumes since 2000.

The adventure novel focuses on ateen girl named Kino who travels around the world witha talking motorcycle named Hermes. She visits a variety of fictional counties that have chất lượng customs và social systems. Each episode stands alone, which has a kind ofallegoricalness. Two seasons of the anime adaption have been released.

Author:Keiichi SigsawaIllustrator:Kohaku KuroboshiPublished: from 2000Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

7. No trò chơi No Life

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No game No Life Light Novel

No game No Life (ノーゲーム・ノーライフ) is a famous ongoing fantasy light novel & anime series.Remarkably, the same person, whose name is Yu Kamiya, both writes the story & illustrates the characters on the cover.

It follows 18-year-old boy named Sora và his 11 years old sister-in-law named Shiro, who are undefeated gamers with high intelligence. They are transported lớn Isekai (another world) & fight various unique games there.

Author:Yu KamiyaIllustrator:Yu KamiyaPublished: from 2012Genre: Fantasy, Isekai

6. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

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Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Light Novel

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (青春ブタ野郎はバニーガール先輩の夢を見ない), which is also known asSeishun Buta Yaro Series, is the first title of the recent popular light novel series published from 2014. In the story, lots of strange supernatural events happen around the main characterSakuta và people around him including his family và classmates. Those things are often caused by theirpsychological problems.

If you enjoy this light novel or other Japanese pop culture, you need to lớn know the word Senpai, which means a senior especially in schools và other communities. In this case, the main heroine Mai is the Senpai (one grade ahead) for Sakuta. A manga adaption has been published since năm nhâm thìn and the first season of the anime adaption was released in 2018.

Author:Hajime KamoshidaIllustrator:Keiji MizoguchiPublished: from 2014Genre: Fantasy, Slice of life

5. Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-

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Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Light Novel

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- (Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活), which is abbreviated lớn Re:ZERO, is one of the most popular Isekai light novels of all time. Its online publishing started on Shosetsuka ni Naro in 2012 and over 30 volumes of light novels have been published since 2014.

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World- is mix in the parallel world where the main character Subaru Natsuki is sent for any reason. He is transported to lớn another world but is not granted any powerful ability while a main character of many Isekai light novels gets something special.

However, there is the one extraordinary thing he can experience in the world: Shinimodori (“Return by Death”). He goes back in time khổng lồ the past in the living state, which is triggered by his death. The story follows him and his meeting various chất lượng characters such as the heroine Emilia và thetwin maids Ram & Rem.

Author:Tappei NagatsukiIllustrator:Shinichiro OtsukaPublished: from 2012Genre: Dark fantasy, Isekai, Naro

4. A Certain Magical Index

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A Certain Magical Index Light Novel

The longest and most popular light novel A Certain Magical Index (とある魔術の禁書目録) is categorized as kích hoạt and fantasy. It consists of three titles so far: the firstA Certain Magical Index published between 2004 and 2010, the second New Testament: A Certain Magical Index published between 2011 and 2019 và the thirdGenesis Testament: A Certain Magical Index started from 2020. The number of the total series volume reaches 50.

The setting is the high-tech town in the fictional Tokyo where supernatural power và magic are a reality. There are 2 main groups in the world:Espersbased on science andSorcerersbased on magic. A Certain Magical Index focuses on the main character Toma Kamijo who belongs to the side of Espers & the main heroine Index on the side of Sorcerers. In addition to lớn a variety of attractive characters, powerful battle scenes of Toma are one of the highlights in the light novel.

The spin-offsA Certain Scientific Railgun (とある科学の超電磁砲) featuringMikoto Misaka andA Certain Scientific Accelerator (とある科学の一方通行) featuringAccelerator are very popular among fans as well.

Author:Kazuma KamachiIllustrator:Kiyotaka HaimuraPublished: from 2004Genre: Fantasy, Action

3.Sword Art Online

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Sword Art Online Light Novel

Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン), abbreviated to SAO, is one of the most famous and popular Japanese light novels all over the world. The fantasy adventure novel, published from 2009, can be divided into 5 main parts:Aincrad, Fairy Dance, Phantom Bullet, Alicization và Unital Ring.

The story mainly proceeds in the virtual reality world.Sword Art Onlineis set in the fictional world 2022 where the advanced VR online game called Sword Art Online is invented. TheFullDive công nghệ enables players to immerse themselves in VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), which means theycan feel all senses forfighting, eating, sleeping & so on there.

The story beginswhen the players of SAO are trapped in the trò chơi world as they are unable lớn log out including the main character Kirito và heroine Asuna. The current seasons of anime adaptions are highly rated among the fans of the light novel.

Author:Reki KawaharaIllustrator:abecPublished: from 2009Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

2. Monogatari Series

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Bakemonogartari Light Novel

In terms of unique of contents and popularity, many light novel fans look on Monogatari Series (物語シリーズ) as the best one of all time. Monogatari Series, written by the popular tác giả Nisio Isin, has been top-rated as both a light novel & a normal novel. There are20 titles with 26 volumes & a spin-off (as of 2020) in the series, & a new volume is still released every few years lately.

The popular series begins with Bakemonogartari (化物語) focusing on the high school guy Koyomi Araragi & his girl friends & his sisters. The theme of the novel is anaberrationcalled Kaii in Japanese, which is a sort of an evil spirit. The characters are possessed by the aberrations for any reason, and Koyomi tries lớn help them while he is also possessed by a vampire.

One of the highlights in the light novel is speedy conversations by the characters who have unique personalities. You can enjoy various essences such as battle scenes, human drama, mystery, etc. The three seasons (from Bakemonogatari lớn Zoku-owarimonogatari) have been adapted into an anime, & fans expects other parts khổng lồ be made into anime adaptions in the future.

Author:Nisio IsinIllustrator: VofanPublished: from 2006Genre: Fantasy

1. Haruhi Suzumiya Series

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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Light Novel

Haruhi Suzumiya Series (涼宮ハルヒシリーズ), which is also known for the first titleThe Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱), started its publication from 2003. It’s a matter of course thatHaruhi Suzumiya Series is ranked 1st in the best light novel list since it has played a large role in the light novel industry. It is also not too much khổng lồ say that light novels could be much less popular without the legendary series.

The story centers on the main character Haruhi Suzumiya & the other members ofSOS Brigade, which is a high school club. They are aliens coming from other planets or the future except the human being named Kyon. It’s interesting that they enjoy an ordinary school life while supernatural phenomena interfere in their lives, which happen due lớn the unconscious force of Haruhi.

The fans were surprised by a unique method of light novels: “Time Loop” meaning characters go back in time to lớn the same past point repeatedly. In the Endless Eight part, Haruhi with the SOS Brigade members experience the same two weeks (from 17th khổng lồ 31st August) for over 15000 times.

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Of course, an anime adaption, consisting of 2 seasons, has been popular among fans of the original light novel and anime lovers.

Author:Nagaru TanigawaIllustrator:Noizi ItoPublished: from 2003Genre: Fantasy, Slice of life

Unlimited Light Novels

One of the most popular light novel publishing company Kadokawa offers all-you-can-read deals! You can enjoy reading unlimited light novels và manga published by Kadokawa. The website here is in Japanese, however, Google Translate can easily help you to read it in English! Just click the right mouse button or tap the menu button on your điện thoại cảm ứng to use the translation function! >> check more details about the light novels unlimited service!