Book Review: 『ガーディアン』by Gaku Yakumaru

ガーディアン
Title: ガーディアン
Genre:
First published: 2017
Published: 2019
Format: Bunko
Page Count: 368
「ようこそ。これであなたはガーディアンの一員です。学校でのあなたの身の安全は保証されます」。教師や親にはその存在を明かしてはならない、生徒による中学の「自警団」、ガーディアン。問題ある生徒に制裁を加え学校の平和を保つ。荒れた学校が一転、平和になった陰には、不登校をしいられる生徒たちがいた。新任教師、秋葉は不登校の生徒の謎を探るうち、その存在に気付くが……。少年犯罪を描いてきた著者の学校ミステリー。

Gaku Yakumaru is a popular author of mystery novels and thrillers. Recently, one of his novel has been a huge best-seller in Korea (where I live). The novel is 『誓約』 , and I have read and liked it. When I was in Japan for a short trip earlier this year, I saw that Gaku Yakumaru had released a new mystery novel, 『ガーディアン』whose topic and setting was very appealing to me.

Setting

The story takes place at a middle school, and while the topic of the novel is school bullying, there surprisingly seems to be very little bullying problems in this establishment. We follow several students and professors, in particular professor AKIBA, as the school year progresses and secrets get revealed.

Review

『ガーディアン』 is a great school mystery novel. I loved reading it, it was easy to feel involved in the story of each characters, and it was easy to read in Japanese.

I am interested in the topic of school bullying in Japan, and I think that novels are a good way to try to understand this social issue. 『ガーディアン』has an interesting way of tackling this topic and leaves some questions open as to what is right and wrong. I also liked the end very much.

Apart from the social issue it tackles, 『ガーディアン』is also a good mystery novel. I often took my book to read 20 pages (it was my daily goal) and ended up reading 50 or more (it does not sound much, but it is when you read in a foreign language!).

As for the language level, I found this novel easy to read: there are a lot of dialogues, and I found no difficult part or description. However, there are a lot of characters (both students and professors), so I highly recommend to make a list. While it is not essential to understand the story, it is best to know in which class and year a student is, as well as who their main professor and friends are, so here again you should take notes while reading.

This is the second novel I read by Gaku Yakumaru, and I liked 『ガーディアン』much more than the other, 『誓約』(review). 『誓約』 had maybe more suspense to it, but I find the story of 『ガーディアン』more interesting and the plot more credible, so I would recommend this one over 『誓約』 . In any case, Gaku Yakumaru is becoming one of my favourite authors of mystery novels!