Book Review: L, Change the World

L, Change the World

by M

Translated by Takami Nieda

Series: Death Note

2007. 188 pages.

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Suspense

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars



In an alternative continuity in the Death Note setting, ace detective L’s name has been written in a Death Note. He has twenty-three days to bring a terrorist group to justice, or they will use a deadly new virus to change the world—by killing off most of humanity.

First Sentence:

“So how’s it going, Fairman?  Must be difficult having to stap in for Naomi and all.”

My Thoughts:

Before I say anything at all about the actual story written in this book, let me take this chance to say that the art work on the book cover is absolutely gorgeous!  Front and Back!  The front depicts L Lawliet fully awake and the back shows him in the same pose with his eyes closed.  From life until death.  Beautiful!  Just beautiful!

I was at the book store many years ago and being the overly obsessed L Lawliet fan that I am —squealed with joy when my brother found the then most recent book from the Death Note franchise, L, Change the World. It’s based on the live-action film, bearing the same title.

I have to admit that when I saw the movie, I wasn’t too impressed with the way it was written. The plot didn’t particularly appeal to me aside from the fact that it involved L. There is always the typical assumption however, that the book is always better than the movie. With that in mind, I renewed my hope that perhaps the story would be more interesting.

My new hope was not wasted. I really enjoyed this book and I wish the guy who wrote it — known only as M—would have had a hand in writing the original screenplay. Alas, the movie was made before the book. The novel flowed so much better than the movie did!

The story is told a lot differently here than in the movie. That within itself took care of the original story’s biggest flaw. The little boy from the movie is not present, but Near (the version we see in the manga and anime) makes a brief appearance or two within the pages. We also see cameo appearances from Misa Amane and Matsuda with scenes that didn’t take place in the movie.

The best thing about this book was its portrayal of L himself. I’m not saying that Matsuyama didn’t do a good job acting the part of L in the movie (he makes a great L); I’m saying that the script itself was so focused on trying to show the innocence and human side of L, that his brilliance and talents were pretty much completely ignored.

In the movie, we never see L do much of anything that compliments the greatness of his abilities— at least not in my opinion. The novel, on the other hand, puts L in numerous situations where we see his true abilities shine! I don’t want to give away too many examples because I don’t want to spoil the book.   L actually fights in the novel and uses his quick wit to escape several spur-of-the-moment situations. The best thing is even though it displays L’s childlike qualities and his total lack of people skills, it also still shows us that he’s a grown man and not a nine-year-old who’s stuck in a man’s body.

One of the highlights for me was the disguises that L wore. We see him in a bear suit and we see him dressed in drag. He always acted in character to what he was wearing too! Something else that I liked was the scene where L’s frustration and despair actually get the better of him and he has an emotional scene of personal anguish. I need also to mention that L’s obvious infatuation with Misa Amane was not only cute but also believable.

A couple of things I didn’t like: L’s sorrow over Light’s death—he wears the guys watch!!! I’m not one of the many people that saw L and Light’s friendship as authentic and sincere.  The creator of Death Note doesn’t see it like that either. Their friendship was all a ruse.  Another thing I didn’t like was the fact that L didn’t learn capoeira in this story until after the Kira case, which means by the end of his life he was still at novice level.  It lacks continuity with the scene in the Death Note series when L kicks Light Yagami across the room. I got around that by viewing the book as just another fanfic—which is really all it is.  There’s nothing wrong with that though. I had the same mind frame when I read Another Note. It didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment.

This is the first book I’ve reviewed that has no favorite quotes.  There wasn’t anything that stood out for me in that area at all, which was a bit disappointing.

As usual, when I came to the part of his death, I got teary eyed. Any L story is always a sad ending it seems. At any rate, the book was a great read, despite the fact that it was extremely short and there were a few mistakes that the editors missed.




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