A lack of vision
Author: Umikaze Minamino
Translated by: Katelyn Smith
What They Say
Kunon Gurion was born without sight and unsure of his purpose in life, but everything changes when he resolves to find a way to use magic to see. This is a feat no sorcerer has ever accomplished or even tried, and it won’t be easy. Kunon’s single-minded ambition leads him to quickly surpass his teacher, and with only a few basic spells, he can already sense color, produce useful items, and create a lifelike cat from water! Word of his skills and ingenuity soon reaches the castle, which earns him a rare chance to study under a powerful new mentor. But is Kunon’s goal even attainable?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Sometimes I wonder if the companies that pick up web novels for publication have a quota to fill. Here we have yet another fantasy with 19th-century European window dressing with a gamified magic system and a protagonist of means. At least it’s not isekai, but that’s damning with faint praise.
Kunon is shown to be a depressed, withdrawn child. As if his blindness was a death sentence and everyone around him treats him as if he was glass about to break. It’s ableist at its core and that puts a damper on the entire story. Especially when it’s shown that Kunon can use his magical abilities to compensate for his lack of vision. There’s no real reason for him to continue to desire to see how everyone else does. The fact that he was born into a family of privilege doesn’t help matters.
Also, what the hell is the point of having a family lineage that supposedly gives a handicap only for that to be waved almost immediately?
Kunon himself is not written as if he were a child. No child, no matter how coached, is going to speak on the day-to-day like Kunon. Why would his family let his live-in maid coach him to speak only in pickup lines? It is a joke that is run into the ground from the get-go. It’s not only his speech that is off but his behavior. Here is a child who never plays and was raised in isolation with only adults. This is child abuse, pure and simple. Taken at face value his parents don’t come across as kind but ashamed, hiding away their disabled son. The logic just isn’t there.
Everyone else in the story not named Kunon is a more interesting character who is given no drive of their own until Kunon instills it in them. They exist only to further Kunon’s development at the expense of their own. One-dimensional plot devices, especially Marika, the princess engaged to Kunon.
I hate the trend of giving the protagonist a fatal defect to engender sympathy from the reader. It is the laziest shorthand that is often unearned. It can be done well but often it isn’t, and we the reader suffer for it.
By the conclusion of this first volume, Kunon has achieved his primary goal, leaving the future to be a continued checklist that will no doubt continue the biographical blandness of the timeline of Kunon’s life. There’s no antagonist, no conflict, and no real reason to watch this wunderkind with a silver spoon become a court sorcerer someday. I simply don’t care for these characters.
The illustrator for this series is competent but rather generic. There aren’t really any extras beyond the author’s note in which the author admits the whole reason to write is to get rich. Good luck with failing upward.
Kunon the Sorcerer is another freshman fantasy that is all tell and no show. Kunon’s shortcut to reader sympathy is his being born blind, which is problematic for all sorts of reasons that show off the bias of the author. The characters are boring placeholders that exist for no other reason than to further the lead’s development. Kunon doesn’t act or speak like a child and it breaks the suspension of disbelief. The magic system is somewhat interesting but the novel gives no real reason for us to care. Even worse, this story has no stakes, it’s just a stretch of time playing out in sequence. The worst crime a story can commit is not being poorly written, it’s being boring. At least the translation reads smoothly.
Content Grade: D
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A –
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen On
Release Date: August 22, 2023
MSRP: $15.00 US / $19.50 CAN