Side-splitting, thrilling, poignant
This is at once a loving tribute to magical girl anime and an insightful criticism. It is also hilarious. There are times when the laugh lines come so fast you can't catch your breath and other times when the insight is so deep you can feel it all the way inside you. The author is very familiar with his source material and understands the consequences of its tropes far more than the creators that develop it. Jake is very identifiable and you really feel for him. The central magical girls-- Pretty Dynamo, Card Collector Kasumi, and Grease Pencil Marionette-- are deep and well-drawn. You feel their triumphs and their pain. Things you took for granted are exposed from entirely new angles. But it is also rip-roaringly funny. The tale is barely begun and book 2 is nearing completion even as I write this. It cannot come too soon for me!
This novel maintains a very nice balance. The premise is that Earth is a battleground and that magical girls have been raised up to protect people. Jake is a young man who does not like magical girls and yet gets caught up with one as the story unfolds.
I was grinning throughout. I always like when the potential for an interesting premise is taken advantage of. This is well done here. Lots of room for laughs and an over-the-top running gag added to this. What I really liked was that this novel could be hilarious while also making fighting scenes meaningful. There are consequences and you come to care for the characters. This is something I rarely see. The battles are not just plot points.
So I definitely am looking forward to the next in the series.