Japanese Light Novel: Fate/Zero
The Light Novel Fate/Zero was written by Gen Urobuchi as a prequel for Fate/Stay Night. As a prequel to Fate/Stay Night, it helps establish some background stories on characters that appear on Fate/Stay Night. For those that have watched the Fate/Stay Night anime, I would recommend to read this light novel even though you may know what the general outcome is, the build up and characterization of each character in Fate/Zero is phenomenal. The great thing about reading this light novel before watching the anime adaption is that you can read about the characters feelings which can be missed when watching the anime.
Now, let's talk about Volume 1 of Fate/Zero. Volume 1 mostly contain the preparation each characters does as they prepare for the Fourth Heaven's Feel. The characters introduced are obviously those that will be part of the Holy Grail War that'll take place. As each characters are getting introduced, we also learn a little about their backgrounds and what their wish will be when they finally obtain the Holy Grail. Besides the characters or the Masters, we also get the introduction of the Heroic Spirits that are summoned to do battle in the Grail War. These spirits are based off of legends we have in the world as artifacts are needed to summon the Spirits. In addition, even the spirits themselves have wishes they want the Holy Grail to grant.
Besides character introductions and preparation for the Holy Grail War, there were a couple of important events that occurred in Volume 1. The first one is the scheme of killing Assassin. This was a prearrange scheme that Kirei and Tokiomi came up with to get the other Masters that are participating in the Holy Grail War to let their guard down by making them think the Heoric Spirit of Assassin has been knocked out of the competition. But what the other Masters didn't know was that Assassin isn't just one Spirit but has multiple Spirit that acts as the Assassin. The second important event is the Warehouse Battle. In this battle all but two of the Spirits came together. This battle first started out with Saber VS Lancer in which the outcome was not determined due to the appearance of Rider, but due to this battle, Saber cannot use her left hand due to the effects of one of Lancer's spears. When Rider appeared, he was able to provoke Archer to appear but no battle was initiated until Berserker appear who started fighting with Archer. Due to Berserker's ability to turn any weapon into his own, Tokiomi forced Archer to retreat. This in turn made Berserker change his next target to Saber. Lancer wanted to help Saber but was forced to fight Saber together with Berserker due to Kayneth's use of the Command Seal. Luckily, Rider was there to help Saber out that forced this battle to end and the Heroic Spirits retreated. With this, Volume 1 of Fate/Zero came to an end. Even though, this volume was mostly setting up the rest of the story, there were still an interesting battle that took place which was able to explain how Magus and their servants fight. From this we can expect Volume 2 to have interesting events and battles to occur as the Fourth Heavenly Feel continues