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Street Fighter: Dream Never Ends is the first series of novels based on the popular fighting video-game series, Street Fighter. With its 25-year gaming history, the Street Fighter novel has been written for loyal fans spanned across the world. The novel focuses on Ryu's journey beyond the Dark Hado and his challenges against Akuma seven years after the Street Fighter III series.
Author Talyn Rahman-Figueroa has taken a simple dimensional fighting video-game and has given the storyline resonant depth. She has placed what was originally an action animation in the realm of the journey of the soul, scrutinising a group of flat video game personas and building them into heartrending people. Street Fighter: Dream Never Ends exemplifies how complex, conflicted and flawed the lives of Ryu, Ken and Guy is. They have families, careers, dreams, and troubles, and their interlacing stories unfurl and map out in thirty-six chapters spanning over three hundred pages.
The novel was written in 1998 and was finally released online in January 2012 with new chapters released every Wednesday. The main book artwork was illustrated by Jung Shan, a talented Chinese brush artist from Taiwan and other artists have contributed to the webpage too.
These pages are ablaze with an emotional fire that rivals the ferocity of Street Fighter games and films. One character is helplessly torn between lovers. Another is torn between tournament fighting and devotion to his family. Then there’s the fighter who destroys trust just to save his honor.
If readers tend to favor a story with supernatural highlights, Rahman-Figueroa does not disappoint. Fans know from the last tournament that the otherwise valiant Ryu has developed a bizarre, deadly problem: the Dark Hado tends to possess him. Dream Never Ends opens with Ryu in a torment over how this evil power still does it. He’s killed its proponent, the psychopath Akuma, but somehow, the evil still controls him to shameful violence.
Fans will recall that the character Ryu was raised by the venerable Gouken, his martial arts mentor and sensei, and that Gouken was killed by his own brother, the lusting-for-power Akuma. Rahman-Figueroa understands that this simple story line can be spun into Shakespearean-style turmoil, with satisfying intimate knowledge of what goes on deep in the hero. That is, by reading Dream Never Ends, fans can know Ryu inside out, and can cheer on not only his fighting, but also his soul’s evolution.
Rahman-Figueroa has made Ryu a compelling Everyman, on levels young fans can relate to. During the course of the story, he grows, like most between fifteen and forty, from focus on self to the care of another. In the process he moves forward from the state of lone wolf to the admirable role of instructor. The budding devotion Ryu feels toward his student, and his brand-new feeling of pride, enables him to emulate his missed master, Gouken, and enables new affections in the reader. A Street Fighter novel would flounder, however, without a more harrowing challenge, and Rahman’s provision is sufficiently scary. The hero is forced to fight inner evil, and Street Fighter amplifications notwithstanding, this is a common battle. This is a mirror held up to good versus badness, with which people everywhere struggle, and the young are just starting to face it.
While the main novel revolves around Ryu's connections to Akuma, interconnected side stories takes a deeper look into the lives of Ken, Sakura, Fei Long and Guy, all of whom play a role in Ryu's turmoil. A few other well-known characters make guest appearances but the biggest highlight to the story is the introduction of new character Tawnya Blaze, a psychotic actress who is haunted by the voice in her head. She is no mary-sue as the twist to the story shows but the impact she has on Ryu further accentuates his human traits and kind character.
The novel is currently free to read online and there are plans for the book to be published in partnership with Capcom.