I've only read "Shouryuuden" which is the "Fushigi Yuugi" lite novel that deals with Chichiri's backstory SO my review will be about that novel itself.
To be honest, I wish MAL had each novel as a stand alone because of the simple fact that yes they do all form a series, but they are also able to be enjoyed without reading another of the set.
I read "Shouryuuden" for a class in Adaptive Screenplays in college... and as my assignment was to write a feature film screenplay of a novel or story that I liked... I chose "Shouryuuden". As I delved into it deeper, I began
to realize that the story was much more complex than what I'd read here and there on the internet in relation to Chichiri's background or from what the anime OVAs portrayed. The art, while obviously just a page here and there between chapters of text, was in true Yuu Watase fashion and helped to cement the idea that she was trying to convey.
Anyone who loves "Fushigi Yuugi" in any capacity should try their hand at reading the lite novels. There are even a few sites out there that have translated some of them (if they still exist) and while I used a translation for my screenplay basis... I also referenced the novel itself to draw more direct translations (like Chichiri's use of 'no da' constantly). After all, some quirks just don't translate well into English, ne?
In this novel you get to learn who this man was before his life was so tragically altered, and you come to know why he fiercely wishes to protect the innocent from the likes of Nakago (because yes he is in the story as well oddly enough). You get to hear about his training and even the adorable Nyan Nyan are present!
It's a sad and tragic tale that becomes a sweeping prologue to the zany character who eventually, in "Fushigi Yuugi" itself, sweeps in only to get bitten by the heroine he's trying desperately to save!
Of course I may be a little biased because Chichiri is one of my all time favorite characters... and it was his seiyuu Seki Tomokazu who got me into watching subtitled anime... but I think fans of the franchise in general will enjoy the story.
One day... I hope to have a copy of Tasuki's novel and delve into that one as well! -wink- After all, reading a translation is one thing... but having the actual book in your hands and feeling it's pages, seeing the real printed art and not a scanned copy and being able to learn new words and kana that you didn't know before... well that's just half the fun of a lite novel!