Title: Usurper of the Sun
Author: Housuke Nojiri
Usurper of the Sun is the last of four books I purchased from rightstuf back during a VIZ sale. I must say, this light novel was anything but light (granted it’s not actually a light novel)! It took me awhile to read through it.
The story starts with a student named Aki watching an eclipse occurring. As she peers through her reflector telescope, she notices something odd: she sees a tower.
News spreads about the tower. Aki, being one of the first to spot it, finds herself in the spotlight as people try to figure out what the tower on Mercury means. Who put it there? Why put it there?
As time goes by, another strange occurrence happens: a ring is starting to form around the sun. However, the ring’s growth starts blocking sunlight from reaching the earth, causing mass panic and death. In a last effort, a space ship is sent to the ring – to destroy it if possible. Aki is one of the members on that ship. When the ship gets to the ring, Aki has a choice – destroy it and save humanity, but doom another intelligent species or find another method. The rest of the story deals with the consequences of her actions.
The story itself was really interesting but it was boggled down by lots and LOTS of talk about theories and ideals. What is the meaning of life? Is there other intelligent life out there? Who deserves to live? War or peace?
Many times I found the information being presented to me going clear over my head. There’s lots of talk about physics, philosophy, and psychology that I never hit in school so their meaning had little impact on me. However, if you are the type of person who is interested in topics like this, Usurper of the Sun may be the perfect book for you.
I’m more partial to action rather than talk. I had to put the book down several times because the talking got too boring or too complicated for me, haha. Also, I never felt attached to any of the characters in Usurper of the Sun. Rather than learn about them, we just learn their take on the life debate or whether Earth should just blast the crap out of the aliens or not.
The reasoning behind the aliens coming to our solar system was kind of dumb. Without spoiling too much, I have problems with how they work. But if you suspend your belief, it’s just a minor issue. I think the epilogue was supposed to be something special too but I didn’t get it. ^_^;
In the end, Usurper of the Sun wasn’t my favorite. For me personally, it has to be on the bottom of the four Haikasoru books I’ve read – mostly because this was more of a thinking book than a running-around-kicking-butt book. If you want something that provokes intellectual thinking, Usurper of the Sun is a good title to read. If you want ass kicking, All You Need is Kill may be more of your style.
I’m looking forward to more books from Haikasoru. Just waiting for another VIZ sale on rightstuf. ^_^
Summary on the back:
Aki Shiraishi is a high school student working in the astronomy club and one of the few witnesses to an amazing event – someone is building a tower on the planet Mercury. Soon, the Builders have constructed a ring around the sun, threatening the ecology of Earth with an immense shadow. Aki is inspired to pursue a career in science and the truth. She must determine the purpose of the ring and the plans of its creators, as the survival of both species – humanity and the alien Builders – hangs in the balance.