Daybreak on Hyperion
Born into prestige and gifted with talent, Pascal was a promising officer cadet whose deeds caught even the King’s gaze. At the mere age of twenty, he had everything a young, ambitious man could need to begin a promising career.
Except his habitual arrogance had destroyed every opportunity of a close friendship outside his political marriage.
Seeking a companion who meets his protracted list of requirements, Pascal decided to craft the ‘perfect spell’ for the upcoming familiar ceremony. If those around him were not fit to accompany his genius, then he would summon a best friend through his own hands — one that was mature, intelligent, knowledgeable, bright, and cute as well.
He received far more than he bargained for… and in turn, so did the shifting geopolitical power balance of his world.
If you're looking for power fantasies or waifus/harems, then this is NOT the story for you.
Daybreak is a story that mixes complicated character relationships with in-depth sociological/psychological exploration. The story is roughly 3/4 serious and 1/4 satire. I wrote it because I like stories that makes me think more about the world around us, not to detach myself from reality.
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I've read Daybreak a few years ago when it was originally posted on Baka-Tsuki, and was very happy to learn that Aorii has finally started posting it again. The story intentionally takes a serious, darker tone with a lot of thought and research being put into it, with references to various cultures, in-depth geopolitics and various moral issues.
If you're here for the power creep, you won't find any here. But if you want something interresting, different and well written, then you are in the right place.
Daybreak on Hyperion! This is one of Kana's top favourite stories, now on Royal Road. How has Kanadaj brought this book on here? How many gemstones did he bribe Aorii with from his hoard? Will we ever know?
Update: Kana said no hoard bribes were made because dragons hoard not dispense.
Now my dear review observer, don't dare question the earliness of this review because Daybreak has been running for eons on its own before coming here. And by eons I mean since 2013. I've read this series ages ago, when Kanadaj linked me to it.
If you're an old fan also note - this is an updated, better version of the series with new content!
But enough with questioning how and why this book is on here. Daybreak on Hyperion is a true masterpiece if there ever was one. Everything about it is absolutely top notch. Spelling/grammar is absolutely perfect.
Pascal Kay Lennart von Moltewitz is an ambitious, rational twenty year old noble - a son of a military official. He is betrothed to the Crown Princess.
He is a postgraduate student and an assistant of a professor at the Alisia Academy of Magic. Pascal decides to be fancypants and summons himself an irregular familiar - not an animal, but a smart-ass human, who could be as clever as he is, but also not totally obedient to him and a cute girl too. What he summons is a best friend!
STYLE: The story was originally written to imitate the style of a Japanese light novel. A lot of the comedy in this series comes from the fact that the isekai hero of this tale Kaede [the familiar] is a Russian boy who is shoved into the body of a magical girl who is also a power battery for Pascal. Personally, I find this hilarious. Being Russian is often about being shoved into questionable, misfortunate situations [such as being sent to build cities in Siberian wilderness] and dealing with it.
The magical system is legit, complex and interesting.
The world of hyperion is fun and original - it doesn't have a moon. Instead it has a companion planet with an indigo colour.
Well developed, rational, deep and adorable. Pascal has to deal with consequences of summoning a girl familiar and Kaede has to deal with being stuck in a girl's body. Hilarity ensues.
Dive into, lose yourself in this book and then come back here and give Aorii your love and hugs shaped like reviews and comments, cus we definitely need more awesome writers on Royal Road!
I'm a sucker for alt-Earth-esque fantasy. Bonus points for something broad like social/geopolitics. Writing is legible and concicse. The magic is pretty soft but that isn't a major focus. When it is used, it is sensible/logical- no 'sudden giant deus ex machina' out of the ass to solve the conflict. The intrigue/geopolitic stuff and worldbuilding are pretty strong. The Faux-Europe history and structure are a lot of fun. I've burned through Vol2 elsewhere and the good stuff only gets better.
On the negative side; The first story to compare this to that comes to mind is Metaworld Chronicles in that they have really great larger-focus items, but some little character-writing issues (though not nearly as bad as Metaworld,) from my point of view. If you can stomach some little problems that one might see common in anime/light novels, it is a pretty good story. They're not horribly gratuitous, nothing trigger-warning-tier. But the levity is just too much not my thing. Casual sexual harassment isn't very funny to me, even if its used for a point/character growth. Coupled with how the transported character is objectified and just...goes with it. Everything internally reaffirms they very much are a guy, they don't have a desire to be a woman, but they're constantly 'dresed up sexy'. Take my opinion with a grain of salt because [Gender Bend] in general is a hard sell to me, but the whole Gender Bend seems like it would be pretty horrific/traumatic actually but that angle isn't really played up. Even for the issues it does cause, I'm not sure at this point why just having a woman be transported over wouldn't work as for anything that does matter, its just the fact the transported character is female in the setting.
From burning through Vol2, this mostly fades away anyway, so its easy to chalk up as ways to characterise certain people and it is somewhat importent for how they develop.
I was an old reader before it went in hiatus way back when, but I picked it back up as soon as I heard about the rewrite.
And I was hooked up again.
Some people will find stuff in here off putting, particularly some of the shadier implications of regular isekai stories. Ever realized how fucked up Zero no Tsukaima's premise is? Well, Aorii certainly did and the story doesn't shy away from it. Some people think it gets glossed over, but this story isn't meant to be empowering, it's a story about some unfortunate soul doing what they can with a shitty hand of cards and an arrogant douchebag realizing how big a mistake he's commited and trying to attone for it.
Some people will be put off by forgiveness being a part of this story, and that's okay. If this bothers you, it's not for you, mate.
If you can live with the protagonist accepting the reality of the situation and trying to make the most out of being stranded in a strange world with 0 contacts and enjoy some good ol' fantasy politics this is definitely your story though.
Now that we're done with the extra elaborate disclaimer, here's what I like about the story, in handy bullet points:
- It's easily one of the best fantasy war stories I've read, Aorii has a gift for big scale action.
-It doesn't shy away from heavy topics like politics, war and personal tragedy
-...but it tries to keep a somewhat comedic tone overall (not everyone will like this, sue me)
-Aorii really takes the question "what would the world REALLY be like with magic?" and runs with it. If you like history/sociology or just plain worldbuilding you'll love the ideas in here.
In conclusion, it rocks. It might not be for everyone, particularly if you're into self empowering stories with a badass protagonist with a guaranteed happy ending. If you like complex characters with a healthy those of nerdy worldbuilding and an amazing war story, though, you're in for a treat.
Daybreak on Hyperion is a military-school story set in a magical alternate-Earth/Europe, governed under a monarchical system, where delightful creatures such as sky-whales and tofu-pets (not called tofu) exist.
The story opens with Pascal Kay Lennart von Moltewitz, an up and rising military cadet, of noble standing, and fiancé to the Crown Princess of the Empire of Rhin-Lotharingie. Young, ambitious and arrogant, he is called upon to summon a familiar. But why would he want to stop a mere mythical beast, lacking in intelligence and limited in utility?
Here enters Kaede, a high school student from Japan, scholar at heart and definitely not a girl, isekai-ed into this new world. Left with little choice and no way to return home, Kaede quickly adapts to a new life that is about to thrown into chaos once again.
Written in the style of a shoujo (lit. young women) light novel, Daybreak on Hyperion is a quirky, light-hearted take on the military fantasy genre. Dialogue is smooth and well executed while the author seems to have also put quite a fair bit of work into world building.
There was a bit of challenge to idea of identity, especially for Kaede in the beginning, but am looking forward to reading more to see where it goes.
Overall, an enjoyable read and on my follow list!
I’m rereading this story in its updated form. Its characters are not perfect people, and their actions are sometimes discomforting.
With that out of the way, the characters feel like fleshed out individuals, and the things that discomfort me make sense within the setting. The scenes are not those of shock-value, but of character advancement. They are interesting in both the good and bad.
To speak plainly, it’s an entertaining story that tells you what it will be, touches on inherent issues in its topic, and executes the premise well.
Gender bend story that focuses more on geopolitic and has a fair number of fights and war. Magic is thought out, guns aren't useful(magicians can ignite the ammo from a distance, shields can span an entire army and can tank enough gunfire to render distance advantage useless etc.). Protagonist is more of a side character and acts as the ethical concious of the protagonist Pascal.
The website of the author is up to volume 3 so there is enough content to read.
When I used to translate edgy LNs on baka-tsuki, this was one of the two originals i read the without missing a single update, alongside mother of learning. Mostly because my taste in literature was so accustomed to Japanese humor, I had a hard time appreciating fancy English novels.
This one fits my tastes to a tee.
Comparing the two, of course, I would say MoL (the current no.1 best-rated series on RR) is better. But I can also say, I have enjoyed Day Break on Hyperion Immensely.
It was like some years ago since I stopped reading it, and have to reread it to job my memories a bit. But I remember having some good laughs at it, studying the magic system and then went 'WHY AUTHOR!' when it turned dark-ish. But not too much.
I will make an advanced review after re-reading it again. But to my fellow readers, I would say give it a try. For me, this is a 5/5 but to you, it may be less. But definitely not so bad as some malicious reviewer might want you to believe. But then again, don't believe me either.
Don't pass this book over because of the ratings, give it a read, and judge for yourself.
(Disclaimer: I only got through to chapter three. While I don't see my most fundamental character complaints going away, just bear that in mind.
Disclaimer 2: This is an edited and changed version of the original review. The first go at it was full of spelling and grammar errors, was confusing and was missing an entire section I had seemingly forgotten to write. The sentiment remains the same.)
Look. I've watched some anime in my time, read some manga and light novels and all that. Naturally, that has lead me to the isekai genre and all the wonderful tropes that come built in. I am happy to say that this work lacks the most reprehensible and disgusting tropes of that genre (which is why it is getting a review rather than a report). However it is far from perfect. I mostly take issue with the way sexual harassment and abusive power dynamics are played for comedy, and the way traumatizing events are poorly explored and quickly forgotten. For many people these problems will be non-issues. However, for me it prevented me from engaging and stopped me from getting into the meat and potatoes of the novel, hung up on the basic premise.
Style: I take style to mean things like comedy and structure, in addition to things like dialouge and action writing. I did not enjoy the comedy. I will expand on this more later. However, separate from issues around the subject of the comedy, I found the framing and timing of the comedy to be a bit odd and didnt feel like it fit in naturally.
The one action scene I have seen was fine. It wasn't brilliant in its writing, and it jumped around a bit. Still, very good.
Dialouge is generally fine. It was occasionally like a written uncanny valley, where some of the conversation just felt bizarre. However, this was infrequent and minor, especially when compared to many popular stories on this website.
Story: This will more be a review of the premise, as I have only read up to chapter three. I've heard the overall story is an interesting war story with politicking and such things.
Premise: I am fine with the premise of this story, if executed a certain way. I haven't been able to stomach anime with horrible overly sexualized tropes and weird moaning voice perfomances for a fair while, but I remember the isekai genre generally not exploring the idea of what it actually meant to be in another world. And if a work did try they would often fall short due to failing to question genre tropes and not wanting to alienate those who want to watch for the power fantasy. This work clearly makes some attempt at tackling that aspect inherent to its genre. I do not believe it succeeds. It attempts are clumsy and short-lived, or serious but then then the emotions seemingly made irrelevant past their one scene. It certainly does better than many traditionally published works of the genre, but better is not success. This aspect is poorly done.
Then the premise twists once again, having a human forcefully summon another human, and remove a significant amount of their privacy and autonomy via binding them as a familiar. He does not give a damn about any of this. He then makes several sexual comments about their appearance, mocks their gender transformation and forces them to wear dresses. Also, throughout this Kaede has been described as looking to be in their mid teens, and their mental age was not been clarified at that point. This is all played off as comedy. If this were not played off as comedy and treated with appropriate amount of disgust, it would be all good. If he immediately realized that what he was doing was wrong, it would be bad writing but ultimately ok. Instead, it is ignored and the story moves on. This kind of element is something that annoys me to an extreme, and it is an almost immediate turn off from any novel it crops up in.
Grammar: Perfect. I noticed no flaws. In terms of readability, also fine.
Characters: The big one. I can't stand how the most fundamental core of Pascal's and Kaede's relationship is so quickly forgotten. Y'know, the bit where Pascal kidnapped them and decides to run their life? Kaede rapidly moves on, and they just accepts Pascal's control. To some degree it says that Kaede is just trying to avoid Pascal's ire, but it does not totally seem that way, and it seem that Kaede pretty quickly submits to Pascal's command. Pascal, despite considering mind altering spells to be entirely beneath the nobility, has no problems with kidnapping and invading another humans privacy. No other character raises a significant concern about this, at least to where I am up to. Kaede is sexually harassed, and just kinda takes it. I'm not saying a person not standing up for themselves re sexual harassment is unrealistic, but it again just didn't fit the vibe. The level of protest and horror from someone in this situation is just kinda entirely ignored, even by Kaede. I couldn't stand the most fundamental aspect of the characters, and I do not care about what other development they will get if the basics are missing.
Closing Statement: If you've read the review, you probably know whether you
a. don't care about the grievances I had
b. believe you may be able to look past them depending on their significance
c. think its going to prevent you from enjoying the work.
It's in your hands now. Personally? I'm dropping.
Ps. The author blocked me from commenting. I believe I was nothing but polite. You can read through our conversation under chapter 2, bar a final comment that was deleted or something when I tried to edit it. In it, I go into more detail around my concerns. I was not hating, or harassing anyone, nor doing anything to warrant a ban.
In that final comment that got deleted, I pointed out times i have said my opinion was not universal and that many people would think differently, I gave an example that highlighted my problems with the comedy, gave a reason I thought Aorii's response was inadequate, gave examples of positive reviews having problems with the sexual harassment comedy and asked them to just debate the work and not make assumptions about me or my personality. The edit was going to include a discussion saying that framing the comedy differently did nothing to excuse or change the fact that the expected the reader to be laughing at an abuse of power, and that framing these abuses of power as comedy is not only problematic but takes away from the story due to it invalidating the seriousness of the situation outside of comedic scenes.
This review is clearly pretty unpopular, but I'm going to leave up because nothing I have seen in my debate with the author, in other comments or in other reviews has lead me to believe my fundamental criticisms will change, so I believe my perspective is still useful for people like me.
And now, a note for the author, as I can no longer comment, and I don't want to leave it on a bad note.
I am aware I made unfavorable assumption about you in previous iterations of this review i apologize for that and the hypocrisy. I leaving this apology in so you can see I'm not trying to needlessly hate or criticize while trying to seem perfect. I know criticism can be stressful to experience and I'm sorry you felt the need to block me. If you want to debate further, I'd be happy to. Good luck and have a good day. You too, reader who decided to read this despite it not being for you.