The Irregular at Magic High School is one of those novels that is hard to get into but once you do the payoff is great. Reading the description on the back does only the bare minimum of informing you what it’s about. Nominally it’s about the Shiba siblings and their high school life, but it is actually more about Tatsuya Shiba and how he interacts with the world of magicians as an outlier aka irregular . The problem getting into the story largely stems from its very heavy technical descriptions of spells and magic. The explanations are very detailed and verbose leading to some eye-glazing-over moments. I think it would help if I explained the authors scientific model for magic.
The author creates his model of magic based on computer programming. Psions are the electricity, CAD’s are the computers, spells are the programs and the rest is the programming language used. If you use this model of thought for the basis of magic then it makes sense and is a brilliant idea. So if you are reading the novel or watching the anime while struggling to understand it, just think of the steps you take to use a computer.
I am finding this review very hard to write without spoilers and conveying just how good this series is. The world of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, the Japanese name for this series, is complex and a much darker, more brutal world than you would expect. National power is directly related to how many magicians you have, the strength of the magicians magic and to achieve this nothing was out of bounds. Magicians were a strategic military resource to be used, regardless of the wants or needs of the magician. Tatsuya Shiba aims to overturn this and give Magicians a choice. This is his story of the hidden side of magicians and his struggles to give them a choice.
Verdict: Qualified Buy. If you can handle or even like technical explanations you will love this series but if you struggle with that I would say try it at your local library and see if you like it.