In the epic prequel to .hack, the avatar Albireo is a solo adventurer in The World, the most advanced online fantasy game ever created. When he comes across Lycoris, a strange little girl in a dungeon, Albireo wonders if she's simply nothing more than a bug in the system. As the two journey further into The World, Albireo watches Lycoris turn all of the rules of The World upside down. Slowly, he comes to realize that she may hold a very deadly secret—a secret that could unhinge everything in cyberspace... and beyond!
I bought both Volumes of .hack//AI Buster at AX2012, thinking that it was going to do with the original anime. I had no idea that it had to do with the original video game, but I found it fascinating! Especially, since it had a few extra characters added to the mix, but if only there could have been more volumes.
To start off here, I hate to give this a score, I'm not really a Light Novel specialist. So this review score is an 8/10 because it's the Average on MAL.
Anyways, .hack//AI Buster is my first true fore into the ".hack//" series. Before reading this, it's been pretty much since 2002 (this year this came out) since I've experienced anything from this series. But I was glad to be recommended this, this is a FANTASTIC Novel. Mind you, I'm more talking about Vol 1. as that's the best part, but Vol 2. is okay as well, maybe not the best Novel ever though. The reason
for this is because the first part is one continuous story, and the second novel is a collection of small stories. To some, that may be a very good thing, people do enjoy those types of stories. But to me, it just slowed things down for me. Anyways...
Story - 9/10
Story is great, it follows Albireo, a lone wolf MMO junky. Hokuto, a newbie MMO player. And Lycoris, a player event that strangely has more than meets the eye. Now to start off, the story here has a lot of care and depth. For a Light Novel there is so many little things. Let's take for example, it's care to world building. From the get-go the writing in detail describes "The World" as this fantastical place with rich detail. It even describes MMO centric things like "World Events" and "Player Events", and are easy to understand. As a person who doesn't play MMO's, the explanations were great. Pacing is also nice as well, I blazed through the first volume, as for the second volume it's fine. Honestly, the first volume overall is "fine". It's not really special and feels more like an afterthought.
Art - 7/10
Not much to say to the art here, there are little illustrations. If you like the cover, you like the art.
Character - 9/10
Characterizations are on point. I felt each character could exist in this world they set up. They all have their unique qualities.
Albireo - Lone wolf, Calm and collected, smart long time player.
Hokuto - Younger player, MMO Noob.
It's easy to get behind these characters, because you can relate to them. How many of you have met someone online and have developed some kind of relationship or bond with? Chances are you have at least for one person in your life. And this is really how the characters work here, it's all based off strangers just playing an MMO together.
Overall - 8/10
This to me is a must read for at least vol. 1 if you're a .hack// fan. If not, then read up more about this light novel and research it a little. This is a very good novel, and it earns all the praise it gets.