Yeah. I think this doesn’t really have an audience. The way it’s written is kind of like… I don’t know, seriously for about a kid in 6th grade or younger, but Hot Gimmick is definitely above that age bracket as far as the manga goes (you know, the sex slave stuff, the attempted rape et al). It was really hard to read.
The beginning is basically just a recap of the series. You realize that Ryoki beat Hatsumi a lot, and it’s harder to take in novel form because Hatsumi just kind of tells you (which is another thing that made it weird: the book is in first person from Hatsumi’s pov, so she’s just relating everything to you). A lot of the events in the series make you cringe a little when recounted in this way. It was hard to get through this first part.
The part I did like was about Shinogu’s past, which was the part in the middle. The novel goes into more depth than the series, and describes Shinogu’s parents and how it was that the Narita family came to adopt him.
The last part… ugh. It’s just Hatsumi and Shinogu stressing over each other, except it’s harder to take because… it’s just different as a novel. Plus, Hatsumi stays true to character throughout the book’s duration, so it’s kind of ditzy and lame even at its coolest parts, and this tone definitely does not help the not-so-good parts. I was no Hatsumi/Shinogu fan, but even taking that into account, the romance at the end was kind of lousy.
Yeah. Mostly my problem was that the writing was way, WAY too young for the series, and it was hard to read because of that. The young audience also kind of skewed the content (though the sex slave stuff and attempted rape remain intact), so there’s just a lot of hand holding and angst, plus a lot of internal monologues and indecision from Hatsumi.
In short, I hated it. There, I said it. What a lousy book.