The “light novel” is a concept probably unique to the island nation of Japan. Basically, it’s a comic book without pictures. Paragraphs are very, very seldom more than three sentences. One paragraph would usually be one frame of a manga. Characters’ dialogue lines are preceded by a short, complete, present-tense sentence that names the character speaking, the character(s) being spoken to, and maybe an “~ly” adverb. (“Jimbo turns fiercely to Sully: ‘Let’s get the hell out of here.’”) Usually, readers buy light novels because they like the comic artist who contributed the cover. Light novels are basically like junior novelizations of movies too bad to actually exist, aimed at a market made up entirely of kids who have read enough comics to spontaneously conceive and design a fully-drawn manga in their head while they read a light novel.
—Tim Rogers, characterizing light novels.