The illustration on the cover is very similar to the artwork on original release of the HG Thunderbolt Gundam
This review is spoiler free!
First things first, this is a soft cover novel. There are probably around 250 pages and about a dozen of them are in color. There are also a few beautiful splash art pages included at the beginning of the novel too. This manga reads in the correct direction (right to left) and there's an idiot's guide on how to read in this style on the very last page.
This is practically mecha porn,
This is my own subjective opinion, however, I'm not wild about the design of the characters featured in the novelization or animated versions of this story. While still expressive, and well drawn, some aspect of the design does not resonate with me, your mileage will probably vary.The mecha designs by contrast are gorgeous, and drawn with tons of mechanical detail. Overall the artwork quality throughout the novel is fantastic, practically everything is drawn with an attention to detail and there's a real feeling of dynamic motion throughout the combat scenes.
Without getting into spoilers here's what you need to know. Thunderbolt occurs in the Universal Century timeline during the waning hours of the One Year War. Events from the story occur in a dangerous debris laden area of space known as the "Thunderbolt Sector". Thunderbolt is a more grounded story from the Gundam franchise. It eschews many of the more fantastical tropes like new types and their space magic.
This is a story that focuses on a small scale conflict between a branch of the Earth Federation Forces called the "Moore Brotherhood", and the "Living Dead unit", a vanguard force of the Republic of Zeon. The story portrays the conflict evenly from both sides and allows the reader to view the events of the story from the eyes of very different characters.
So far, the story has very minor differences from the OVA. Most of these changes were probably made to produce a more streamlined narrative; I don't believe any of these changes seen so far will have a major impact on the overall story or character motivations.
For reference, this first novel concludes around the 30 minute mark of the OVA adaptation.
If you have already seen the OVA version of this story you can probably skip the Manga without missing out on anything. Otherwise I would strongly recommend picking up this Manga and giving it a shot. The story is tight, and the artwork is beautiful.
This first novel is currently selling for just over $8 on Amazon at the time of writing this, and volumes 2 and 3 are now also available now for purchase.
If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!