Reviews: Dies Irae

Mixed feelings, yet captivating and enjoyable in the end.

Dies Irae is a VN I found to have quite some issues, yet at the same time managed to be quite the enjoyable read despite some hiccups and some parts that could have been better.

As for the story, it is as straightforward as can be, though it tries to mask this with it's heavy use of prose to give it a grander feel. And as one boon, it does not assume that the reader is stupid. Just a shame that some of the routes are pretty bad, Kasumi and Kei's routes come to mind. By contrast, Maries route offer by far the best payoff, being both the best pased and having some fantastic scenes and a solid finale. Rea's route is second best since it is mostly held back by having a huge amount of buildup that doesn't really lead to anything, ending far to abruptly.

Helping to push the novels larger than life agenda is quite the soundtrack, mixed with both orchestral booming and shredding guitars to help give the larger than life feel. The VN also have good timing when it comes to using it's music, using it where appropriate.

And one thing that deserves praise is that despite some Deus ex Machina's, the novel is quite capable of maintaining a Willing Suspension of Disbelief. (Unlike some other VN's I can think of)

When it comes to the main cast it is quite disappointing with both the main hero and the 4 love interests all being rather shallow, cliched and boring characters with nothing to really offer. Quite a shame really since the rest of the cast is freaking phenomenal. Shirou and Ellie, a pair of Badass Normal's that are these crafty thrill seeking lunatics that tend to offer some of the best fight scenes in the novel and have this really interesting and organic dynamic that just makes them work. And the LDO members are not to be outdone, offering one of the best rouge's galleries I have seen in quite a while. Reinhard in particular was quite the eye catcher. Normally these kind of overpowered villains tend to be shallow and boring, but he is arguable the stories most well rounded and fleshed out character.

One thing I do have to give the novel props for is that it engages in narrative argumentation without resorting to the Strawman Fallacy (for the most part), leading to some interesting back and forth bickering.

All around, it has some fumbles, and can even be seen as pretentious (though for all intents and purposes it is) it still ends up quite entertaining and has this habit of gripping you to want to keep on reading even through it's pitfalls.