Teenager Light Yagami has the power over life and death. He has a Death Note, a notebook from the shinigami, and if he knows a person’s real name and what their face looks like, he can kill them. He just needs to write their name down in his notebook and the rest takes care of itself.
Light has been killing criminals, thinking it will make the world a better place. However, then he starts killing people who are trying to catch him. With so many criminals dying, it’s suspected that there’s a serial killer on the loose. This serial killer has been dubbed “Kira.”
Light is a genius, and he thinks he can get away with murder. Who’s going to go looking for a perfect student with a notebook? But Light underestimates L, who’s also a genius. L is in charge of catching Kira, and, before long, L suspects Light.
Now Light’s main objective isn’t so much killing criminals. It’s staying one step ahead of L. These two geniuses play mind games with each other and are constantly analyzing the situation. It’s very interesting to watch how their minds work. Light, whose father is also investigating Kira, acts as if he will help the police. This puts Light and L in regular contact so the two can always be watching each other. Light can’t just kill L, though. For starters, even though he knows L’s face, he doesn’t know L’s real name. Besides, wouldn’t killing L cast suspicion on Light?
To make matters more complicated, Light is no longer the only person in the world with a Death Note. Before long, he’s found another person possessing a second Death Note, and this can either make his life much more difficult or much easier, depending on how he plays his cards. Undoubtedly, Light is smarter than the other person with the Death Note, but he’s also much more conniving. The other person traded away half their life span in order to receive the shinigami eyes, which essentially enable a person to kill someone with only a face. Light doesn’t have the shinigami eyes because he doesn’t want to lose half his life. But if he teams up and controls a person with those powers, then he is in a very, very strong position. And he certainly won’t stop until he’s able to rule the world as a self-proclaimed god.
Reviewed by Danica Davidson on May 2, 2006
Death Note, Volumes 5-8