A light novel (or ranobe) is a Japanese novel published in bunkobon format. It usually has between 40 and 50,000 words and frequently has illustrations. Before being compiled into a book, the work is frequently published in anthology magazines.
We’ve collated this list of the best light novels for both beginners and experienced readers. Many well-known light novels have been translated into English and other languages so that you can read them in the language of your choice.
Best Light Novels Worth Spending Time On
1. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
After the passing of his parents, a shut-in is forced to leave his house. He comes upon a truck driving toward a gathering of youngsters. He then pulls one of them out of the way just before he is struck by the truck and dies.
He then discovers that he has been reborn in a realm of magic and swords while waking up in a baby’s body. He decides to succeed in his new life as Rudeus Greyrat after first giving in to his depravity and putting his old identity aside.
Rudeus starts practicing to enhance his mana capacity at three yours of age and teaches himself magic skills. His parents employ Roxy Migurdia as a live-in teacher after realizing he has a gift for magic. Rudeus gains more knowledge of the world and recovers from the trauma that had turned him into a recluse during his two years with Roxy.
Rudeus befriends Sylphy, a bullied girl he mistook for a boy, after Roxy leaves. Rudeus imparts all of his knowledge to her, enabling her to master magic. Rudeus’ father, Paul Greyrat, sends Rudeus to his relatives. After realizing that Rudeus and Sylphy’s co-dependence limits their potential, he wants them to learn about the outside world.
2. Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs
This light novel is one of the most popular Isekai novels about a salaryman dying from exhaustion. This protagonist was being forced into two days straight of playing an Otome game by his spoiled little sister.
He regains his memories and chooses to live a simple life away from the game’s plot after reincarnation with the name Leon Fou Bartfort. Leon is a background non-player character from a low-ranking noble family.
As he gets reincarnated into a brutal dating sim video game, he has a secret advantage. He can recall every detail of his previous existence, even playing the whole game in which he is currently immersed. Watch as Leon starts a revolution transforming this brand-new planet to achieve his greatest dream of leading a simple, carefree life in the countryside!
3. Accomplishments of the Duke’s Daughter
Many love manga. Now, try the original Japanese light novel about one woman’s desire for a happy ending while locked in an Otome romance game as the antagonist.
The daughter of a prominent duke, Iris Almeria, is detained and made to kneel in front of her fiance. Prince Edward is rejecting her in favor of another lady! Iris discovers she knows what will happen next. She has been reincarnated as the villainous character in her favorite otome game.
Iris avoids exile thanks to quick thinking, yet she still can’t sleep. She will need to alter the universe to survive in this one where everyone considers her wicked.
4. The Saga of Tanya the Evil
One popular anime series adapted from a light novel is The Saga of Tanya the Evil, which many light novel fans love.
This light novel is about an unidentified atheist salaryman who is about to be murdered by a disgruntled employee whom he fired recently. An entity who claims to be god challenges this salaryman and blames him for lacking faith during this ordeal.
The wage-earner denies its existence, criticizes its numerous claims from an atheist standpoint and refers to it in jest as “Being X.” The entity chooses to reincarnate the salaryman into a universe where he would have problems severe enough to require the assistance of Being X.
The salaryman is resurrected as Tanya Degurechaff, an orphaned child living in the Empire. The Empire is an alternate reality version of Imperial Germany, where World War I continued until the 1920s.
Tanya will be expelled from the cycle of reincarnation and banished to hell for the numerous misdeeds she did in her previous life. According to Being X, she either avoids dying naturally or rejects believing in it.
Tanya resolves to participate in the war and join the Empire’s Mage Corps to find a way out. She hopes to rise through the ranks quickly enough to avoid being killed on the battlefield. Tanya gradually develops into a merciless soldier who puts efficiency and her profession before anything else, especially those who cross her.
5. Reincarnated as a Dragon Hatchling
Reincarnated as a Dragon Hatchling is an isekai fantasy tale in a light novel genre about a man who went over a series of mysterious events. Must he start his life over in the form of an egg?
Our hero awakens in a new universe. He lacks fighting prowess, magical abilities, and arms and legs. He is reincarnated as a defenseless egg, imprisoned in an unknown jungle. Eggs hatch, hatchlings mature, and big things can come from small beginnings. No weak shell will stand in his path as he strives to become the strongest dragon!
6. Skeleton Knight in Another World
Reborn as a heroic skeleton!? This light novel is one of the releases that built today’s light novel market. Skeleton Knight in Another World would amaze any reader.
This fantasy story is about a gamer that passed out and awakened in the virtual world. Arc possesses strong abilities and weapons befitting his persona, but he’s been forced to maintain that appearance. If he can get acclimated to being a walking skeleton, he will embark on an adventure in a new realm!
7. The Great Cleric
The Great Cleric is a light novel about a particular salaryman on cloud nine one second, finally getting that promotion he so desired. The next thing he knows, he’s keeled down in pain. He was lucky that fate had a few more things to say.
His freshly reincarnated self will have a second chance at life in a world filled with magic, monsters, and other life-threatening creatures. He adopts the name Luciel and swears that only old age will cause his (next) death.
What better way to prevent (another) horrifying demise than to take a lovely, comfortable profession as a healer?
However, surviving on a different planet is neither simple nor inexpensive. Developing the abilities needed to succeed will require a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Will he succeed? Or will he perish (again) trying?
8. Hell Mode
Hell Mode is a light novel revolving around a slice of life of the likable protagonist, Yamada Kenichi. He was left empty when his favorite online game shut down its services indefinitely.
He searches for a new game to play, but everything he comes across is far too simple. The type of game he enjoys – the kind that is harsh enough to compel gamers to invest countless hours in it – isn’t available anymore.
Kenichi discovers an unnamed game that promises an unprecedented challenge with unheard-of potential. He chooses the “Hell Mode” challenge without any hesitation. He cannot believe it when he discovers that he has been reincarnated as a serf in another realm!
As a game character, he must grope his way to the top of his new universe as he uncovers the mysteries of his class. He must do it without the ease of walkthroughs, gaming manuals, or internet forums.
9. So I’m a Spider, So What?
In this light novel, a potent spell used in a battle on another planet created a spatial gap. The spell destroyed a Japanese high school classroom, killing everyone. The kids and teacher may have been reincarnated into that fantastical world due to the rift.
Everything is determined by a divine system of abilities and video game stats. Many of those students have returned in human form. However, at least a few have returned as monsters. The most notable is a girl who was reincarnated as a 3-foot-long spider.
She must hone her meager skills and rely on her wits to survive because she is one of the lesser monsters found in the underworld. However, she is more successful than she realizes and is beginning to draw unwelcome attention.
10. Seirei Gensouki: Spirit Chronicles
Haruto’s ambition in life is to find his childhood sweetheart. However, the love of his life abruptly disappeared in high school, and he caught an untimely death in a bus accident at the age of twenty. These events have prevented him from accomplishing his goal.
The next thing he remembers is waking up at the age of seven in a freezing chamber. This chamber is in the slums of another world, where he calls himself Rio, an immigrant youngster in a fantasy country.
Rio discovers he has extraordinarily powerful magical skills. While he was still learning of this unexpected realization, he used these new abilities to solve the kidnapping case of a little girl. His good deed is recognized, and he gets accepted into a prominent academy for noble kids as payment.
11. Classroom of the Elite
Nearly all of the pupils of Advanced Nurturing High School, a top-ranked, prestigious school with cutting-edge facilities, continue to college or land jobs. There, kids can wear whichever haircut they choose and bring whatever personal items they like. Although Advanced Nurturing looks like a paradise, only the brightest pupils get special treatment there.
The loser protagonist, Kiyotaka Ayanokji, attends D-Class, where the school sends its “lesser” students so the other students can tease them. Kiyotaka was placed in D-Class because of his carelessness on his admission exam. Kiyotaka’s circumstances start to change after meeting Suzune Horikita and Kiky Kushida, two other pupils in his class.
Can they manage to survive in a school full of ruthless competition?
12. Goblin Slayer
Suppose you are an avid reader of Japanese dark fantasy light novels. In that case, you may want to indulge in this light novel. It is about a little boy who vows retribution against the monsters that brutally murdered his sister.
Adventurers all over the world travel to fantasy land to join the Guild. To obtain gold and glory, they perform contracts.
A novice priestess embarks on her first adventure, but she finds herself in peril when her first deal with goblins fails. They are saved by the Goblin Slayer, a man whose life’s work has been to eradicate all goblins, using any means necessary. And once word of his prowess spreads, you never know who might be the next to call.
13. Shadow Lord: The Strongest Legendary Hero is a NEET
Many advanced readers who are also long-time manga readers might want to check out this new light novel series. It is about this loser protagonist and the vision he saw while sitting at a computer desk, which became the entrance to another universe!
He quickly discovers that life in a different world isn’t the peaceful power fantasy he’d seen in anime. Instead, the world he entered is full of firearms, magic, and medieval villages. Will he laugh at the top? Will he succumb to the sadness that awaits him as he comes out of his shell to survive in a harsh world?
14. Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average In The Next Life?!
This light novel series revolves around the everyday life of Misato Kurihara. She is a genius, neither living with close friends nor experiencing an ordinary life.
She was taken to a divine world to be reincarnated following a sudden death, and as a bonus, she was given one wish. She wished to be reborn as an ordinary person. She thought about the ordinary existence she had always desired.
She was reborn as Adele von Ascham, a nobleman’s daughter, and has magic powers that are much beyond what would be considered typical. She leaves her home and enrolls under the identity “Mile” at a hunter school in a distant kingdom. Here, she is still determined to live the life she had always dreamed of.
Nevertheless, despite her best efforts to conceal her nearly limitless power, she will have difficulty achieving her goal because of the absurd circumstances that follow!
15. Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody
This Japanese light novel is about the everyday life of a programmer Ichirou Suzuki, who is approaching his 30s and is overworked. Exhausted, he finally gets a chance to catch up on sleep. He awakens in a fantasy RPG world that is a mashup of the games he was debugging.
In this new location, he discovers that his appearance resembles a younger version of himself and that his name has changed to Satou. Satou is a pen name he employed when conducting game beta tests.
Before Satou can completely comprehend his predicament, a lizardmen army attacks him. Satou wipes them out entirely because he is forced to perform a potent spell in retaliation. His level has increased to 310, thereby maximizing his stats.
Satou now embarks on exploring this fantastical realm as a high-leveled adventurer with a wide range of skills and no way to return to reality.
Are you an avid reader of light novels? Which among these best light novels do you plan to binge read? Let us know. Enjoy reading!