List your favourite (and least favourite) English-released light novels


Thousand Master
There are quite a few of these threads on the anime forum, and there's a "favourite manga" thread as well (although it hasn't been posted on for several years) but there's no thread for listing your favourite light novels yet. As there are a considerable number of light novels out in English now, and as I was thinking about how I would rank them myself, I thought I'd make a thread for this on here.

The rules:
- You must have read at least one full volume of every series you list.
- Please only base your rankings on your experience of the official English language release, and not of fan translations, the original Japanese release, translations of the work into any other language, or any manga or anime adaptations.

Here's my list:

kuuderes_shadow's favourite 10 light novels in English:

1. Book Girl - Great characters, and a great story, which is exquisitely woven around various works of classic literature.
2. Overlord - I was thinking this would be good, and was very pleasantly surprised. I've done plenty of rereading of certain scenes, which is something that in general I do a lot less of nowadays with so many more series around.
3. No Game No Life - volume 6 boosted this one on the list, but every volume has been thoroughly enjoyable
4. Haruhi Suzumiya - The first light novel series I read, and will always have a place in my heart as a result. It was good enough to get me interested in light novels in the first place, so what more is there that needs saying?
5. Accel World - the most gripping series being released in English, particularly in the more recent volumes.
6. Kieli - great adventure series that really drags you in. Something getting this high up the list despite containing a fair amount of gorey content is a miracle. Probably the most underappreciated title I've come across.
7. Rokka: The Braves of Six Flowers - only read the first volume of this one so far (unlike all the others on this top 10 list) so this may be somewhat premature, but nonetheless thoroughly enjoyed it. The first volume is a very good mystery, and from what I've heard there's plenty of goodness to come in later volumes.
8. Log Horizon - fuel for the imagination and a somewhat different take on the trapped in a game thing.
9. KonoSuba - I love this series' style of humour
10. The Asterisk War - one word (or rather, name) is all that is needed here: Saya.

My 3 least favourite:

1. A Certain Magical Index - Kazuma Kamachi is imo the weakest successful light novel writer bar none. An English translation would have had to basically rewrite the entire story in order to make it good.
2. Strawberry Panic - so slow paced it felt more like a slice of life than anything, but without what makes slice of life series enjoyable.
3. Kagerou Daze - One of those "I already saw the anime which told me everything that will happen and the novel has little to add" series. Re:Zero is the other one, and for both my experience with the light novels is hurt hard as a result. The difference is, though, that Re:Zero is a series I enjoy far more than Kagerou Daze, which was somewhat meh to begin with. Incidentally, Rokka doesn't suffer from this as your second experience with a good mystery series enables you to pick up on the various hints that you missed the first time around.

I'd be willing to post my full rankings if people ask, but I figured that wouldn't add much other than showing what series I'm reading/I've read, which is basically everything with a physical release that started coming out in the last 9 years, barring a few recent ones that I haven't gotten around to starting yet.

Feel free to make your own list(s) shorter or longer if you want, adding as many or as few details as you wish. Remember to not leave unmarked spoilers, though.


Adventuring Alchemist
AUKN Staff
Without going too in-depth, my top ten are:

  1. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? - My favourite light novel/action series full stop right now.
  2. KonoSuba - Best comedy light novel
  3. Durarara!! - I adore the anime so the light novel was a given
  4. Monogatari (We ignore the bad translation of Nisemonogatari...) - quirkiest light novel I read
  5. Infinite Dendrogram - Strong rival to SAO as a 'good' VRMMO story
  6. If It's For my Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord - A weekly dose of cuteness!
  7. How a Realist Hero rebuilt the Kingdom - Good take on transported to another world story with a Spice and Wolf feel
  8. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash - ALL THE FEELS. I need not say more...
  9. In Another World with My Smartphone - The most stupid comedy I have yet to read
  10. Sword Art Online Progressive - a much better rewrite of SAO and so I decided to list it here instead of the main SAO series because I feel like it's much better written and gains a lot from it.

st_owly (witch)

In no particular order my top ones are, on the basis that I've not read 10 series yet.

Rokka Braves of the 6 Flowers
Spice and Wolf
Haruhi Suzumiya
The Devil is a Part Timer
Zaregoto (I'd left this one for dead years ago....)

I own but have yet to read A Certain Magical Index, Sound Euphonium and Baccano.


Thousand Master
I've only really read the Spice & Wolf LNs... there are sooo many light novel series I want to read though! But S&W really gripped me overall, I enjoyed it a lot and have read up to partway through Volume 16 :) the other LN that I really enjoyed was the original novel version of All You Need is Kill - the translation was excellent and I much preferred it to the manga version even though that was good too. I'm also in the camp where if it was originally a light novel I will usually refuse to read the manga adaptation unless both are short like with AYNIK - to each their own but I've never really been big on the idea of adapting books into books. Like sure if it's different stories suited to different formats I can see the point of it, but if it's just the same story retold manga to LN or LN to manga I'd rather read the original. Though I've never had that issue with manga or LNs being adapted into anime per se, like sure there are poor and/or incomplete adaptations out there but it doesn't bother me as a concept the same way? This is all just my personal opinion and I'm not trying to dump on others who enjoy these things they're just not for me. Here's a list of some LNs I would like to read, in no particular order:

Wolf & Parchment (big surprise lol - after I finish Spice & Wolf!)
Haruhi Suzumiya
The Twelve Kingdoms (not technically LN maybe but I'd love to see the story continued from the anime, which I adored)
Monogatari (though it's less of a priority because the anime version is excellent and is gonna be a complete one most likely)
Durarara (ditto what I said about Monogatari - already seen the whole anime)
Full Metal Panic!