The Haruhi Suzumiya light novel series first started in 2003 and by 2005, the series had already spun into 6 published novels, two on-going short stories in The Sneaker, and a surprise announcement with the seventh novel. Yes, the anime we all know about was mentioned on the obi attached with The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya back in August 2005. Yen Press licensed the first 9 novels in 2008 and have scheduled the release of Intrigues to be published on June 19, 2012. Thanks to Amazon, I was able to obtain my copy early.
Intrigues is the longest single novel in the franchise and uses that length to its advantage. I’ve mentioned before that Tanigawa tends to use a similar formula for his novels, and it’s executed very well in this one. The plot is very simply set up: A Mikuru from 8 days in the future comes back in the SOS Brigade clubroom after being ordered to time travel by Kyon. She has no idea what she is supposed to do and neither does he. Their adventures throughout those 8 days are told in this novel.
Since we see so much of Mikuru in this novel, it should be no surprise to anyone that time travel and the fundamentals of time travel are focused upon in this story. Tanigawa begins to contemplate: are our actions set in stone or can we change the future? Does knowledge of what happens prevent you from being free? How should one act when knowing the future? These concepts are very well debated by Kyon throughout the story and really accentuate the main story.
Yen has included full page illustrations by Noizi Itou and 5 color illustrations at the back. Personally, I’m not a big fan of her artwork at this point in her career. The illustrations are exactly the same as the Japanese versions, but they feel too comedic. Her later works have improved immensely.
As for translation, Paul Starr returns from Wavering and does a fantastic job explaining those confusing concepts of time travel. Having done so myself, I can attest as to how difficult it can be to convey that information to someone else. I only noticed one mishap in translation, but it shouldn’t impact anyone’s reading. I highly recommend this translation.
I’ve tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, but I’ll say that Tanigawa takes the premise, builds upon it, and then delivers with two fantastic scenes near the end. Chapter 5 is incredibly well-executed and is one of my favorites from the whole series due to that execution. The title comes into play throughout the whole novel and I really couldn’t think of another way to put it. The end will surprise you, but the whole story will make you want to see what’s coming next.
Personally, I love the novel, and re-reading it was an absolute joy for me. Yen, as usual, has done a fantastic job carrying the franchise to English audiences. I cannot recommend this novel enough to any Haruhi fan. I only wish that I could go into more detail about why this novel is a fantastic story, but I really don’t want to spoil anyone on the details. Read it and enjoy!