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(This review covers up to Chapter 29, the end of the third class trial)
A lot of stories draw their appeal from certain aspects, and thus any fanfic writer that attempts to emulate canon would do well to get said aspects right. Because of that, New Hope University: Major in Murder, a fic with strong mysteries but weak characters, doesn't quite have the appeal that Danganronpa does.
I'll assume you know Danganronpa's premise, but the fic shakes things up. Instead of Japanese high school students, you have American college students, and instead of Monokuma forcing the "symbols of hope" to kill each other, this killing game is (supposedly) a government-sponsored program. While nothing is as it seems, the overall mystery is fairly engaging, and keeps readers interested in the story.
Another crucial part of a Danganronpa story is the individual murders, and the fic's murders and class trials are generally fairly well-written and complex. There's plenty of clues to help uncover the murder, enough for attentive readers to deduce the culprit before the characters do, making the characters' conclusions feel natural. That said, the answers to the questions of who committed the crime or how are never too obvious.
The characters (which, since this is a Submit Your Own Character fic, were mostly created by other people) are a relatively colorful lot. Unfortunately, though, not all the characters are particularly likable individuals, especially not the murderers, who lack the sympathetic motivations that most of Danganronpa's killers have. As a result, not many people in-universe or out feel bad when they die. Partly because they generally came from different creators, they don't always have very good chemistry or compelling relationships.
All in all, New Hope University is well-written in many regards, but falls short in some elements, mainly the characters, and thus fails to realize its full potential.
Yeah, there\'s a reason the murder mystery genre\'s always lived or died on the strength of its cast for more than a century. The best mystery in the world dries up if it\'s not happening to and around people that pull us in.
That\'s quite true, which is why it\'s unfortunate that the author explicitly stated that his main focus in writing the story is to make good mysteries, with character interactions being a secondary priority at best.
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