Book Review: Final Fantasy VII – The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story

final fantasy viiTitle: Final Fantasy VII – The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story
Author:
 Kazushige Nojima
Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Version: Paperback
Page Count: 224
Publisher: Yen On
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: POC cast, based on a video game
Recommended Readers: Fans of Final Fantasy VII, the Turks, and original characters
Rating: ★★★★★

This is definitely not going to be a typical review from me. If I’m being honest, this entire thing is one big excuse to fangirl both over this book and Final Fantasy VII in general because this past week has fed us so well, fam. So well. If you haven’t seen the new trailer or the demo of the game yet, please do because we are blessed.

When it comes to The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story, I won’t lie to you: it’s probably not accessible to people who haven’t played FFVII (or at least know the game’s events) or who haven’t watched the Advent Children movie. The story bridges the two, leaning heavily on fans’ understanding of the FFVII world, its locations, and the game’s ending.

It may not even be a book that some FFVII fans appreciate if they want a book solely about the main party. While Cloud, Tifa, and a few others make brief appearances, readers are solely going to be running around with original character Evan Townshend, his best friend and crush Kyrie Canaan, and everyone’s favorite Turks: Reno, Rude, Tseng, and Elena. Oh, and Rufus Shinra, which, thank you. Thank you so much, Nojima-san.

So here we go. Time for me to shine unabashed love and feelings on The Kids Are Alright and all things FFVII.

 Hi, I love Evan Townshend and Kyrie Canaan so much. They are magnificent and share only one brain cell. I would die for these two dumbasses.

Also sharing just one brain cell are the Turks, and omg, I love them. I love them so much. “We kind of want to be your friend, but we’re also the Mafia.” *shoots a guy in the background* “No hard feelings, right?”

But seriously, I loved seeing further into the Turks’ way of doing things. It’s already so hot that they’re the muscle and undercover mission specialists for the Shinra Electric Power Company, but any time I can see them individually as people? Pachameme.png

Tseng is still as cool-headed and attractive as ever. I did not know how hardcore and ready to kill a man at any time Elena was, but I’m so glad I know that now. Then, there’s Reno and Rude, these beautiful idiots, these absolute buffoons.

Them: [does everything wrong]

Me: You have never done anything wrong in your life ever. I know this, and I love you.

Having these guys be partners is absolute poetic cinema; I could watch their interactions for hours. Would I climb Rude like a tree? Best believe it. And omg, I love Reno so much. I truly didn’t think I could love him or be more attracted to him than I already am, but this book proved me absolutely wrong, wow.

“And whose fault is it that we’re here?” said Kyrie, and we each pointed at Reno just as he pointed with both hands at us.

See? Who wouldn’t fall for this absolute ridiculous disaster of a moron?

Okay, might as well go ahead and put all my cards on the table. Thanks to Advent Children, I’ve always felt a tingling of something for Rufus Shinra. It never went much of anywhere because here he is, ~mysteriously robed~ for most of the movie, face covered, armed mostly with a hot voice, and there are Reno and Vincent standing right there, then Kadaj happened to me, and then Sephiroth appeared. It’s just a lot to measure up to, y’know? Rufus didn’t stand a chance.

Well, thanks to this book, now he fucking does, and I hate it. I hate that if Shinra ever got back on its feet, I would be That Bitch applying for Doofus Shinra’s secretary position because I, too, am an absolute moron. I could’ve been free from this basicness, but no. Rufus had to go and be in top form here, with wry dialogue, obvious chemistry between him and the Turks, and an absolutely endearing relationship with Evan. And then, he had to go and be unflappable and manipulative and In Control at all times, like Whomst the Fuck?

And then there’s Kadaj.

Okay.

How dare… the film hold back so much of what he could do, ability-wise?

Like okay, I get it. The film came out first and maybe we didn’t even know. The book came later, and Kadaj in the film was already cranked up to fucking 100, absolutely batshit crazy, but, look, hear me out. Hear me out.

Why not crank him up to 101 and let him be even more batshit crazy? There’s still room! We have plenty of time and space to do this, so let’s see it. Let’s see him be able to remove and give back people’s pain, to absorb their feelings and memories with a touch, to appear as the people you love most, even if they’re dead. I just got gut-punched if Kadaj had done this to, say, Cloud and had actually appeared as either Aerith or Zack to mess with him while he was at his lowest point. The nerve. Also, wow, Hot.

I’m also feeling Some Typa Way—and maybe I’m reading this wrong—but I feel Some Typa Way about Kadaj assuming at least the partial identity of an old flame of Kyrie’s. It’s just Wow. Okay. Cool cool cool cool. It’s just good writing. Also, I’m laughing so much at how briefly Kadaj had contact with Sephiroth in the Lifestream and is all, “I didn’t care for him.” Absolutely perfect.

I also, of course, enjoyed all the cameos of other Final Fantasy VII characters I received. Cloud. Tifa. Nanaki. Even if they weren’t there for very long, this translation was so true to who they are as characters. You feel them living on the page. What also tended to help was Evan’s unusual narration; there’s a lot of character work that went into this, and I absolutely loved the entire thing.

And yeah, if I wasn’t already vibrating out of my skin for the Final Fantasy VII remake, I would be after reading this. As it is, I think I’ve transcended into some other plane where time is meaningless and yet it means everything. Good Lord, is it March 2020 yet?

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Final Fantasy VII – The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story

  1. […] The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story by Kazushige Nojima probably isn’t a LitRPG book in the strictest sense of the word, but it is a book based on the classic JRPG Final Fantasy VII, focusing on the Turks, a mob-like, fictional organization, and a slew of original characters. And Kadaj, let’s not forget that. I’m still stunned by how amazingly written and in-character this translated book was. [Review] […]

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