By Hamuo and Mo. Released in Japan as “Hell Mode – Yarikomi Suki no Gamer wa Hai Settei no Isekai de Musō Suru” by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Taishi.
Having now circled back to read the 2nd book in this series, which came out about a year ago, I find that I will be struggling to write a review of it, because so many of the strengths and weaknesses in the book are the same as the previous volume. In general, whenever Allen is NOT using his summons to fight things, I am reasonably entertained. It’s an interesting reincarnation fantasy where we’re learning about the world at the same time as the main character is, and the climax of the book is action that is actually exciting and cool. Unfortunately, the weakness of this book is that it’s still written for game heads, and I do not give a rat’s ass about how many summons it takes to screw in an orc’s lightbulb this time around. Plus, this is a one-man series still. Cecil plays slightly more of a role here than Krena did in the first, but sadly most of that role is to run away or get kidnapped.
After the events of the first book, Allen is now at a Baron’s house, serving as the servant to the young lady of the house, Cecil. Of course, we don’t really see much of his servant duties. Instead, we see him leaving the city to go out and hunt monsters, experimenting with different types of birds, beasts, stone creatures, and even fish that can buff you. He also starts taking out goblins, then moves up to orcs, which gains him the attention of the local soldiers, who see that he is clearly not Talentless but turn a blind eye. Things change when (it’s implied because pf Allen’s activities) the local dragon moves to the other side of his mountain, meaning that the poor city will soon be able to be rich again. Unfortunately, there are evil nobles who want to change that reality.
The last quarter of the book really is the best part. Allen and Cecil’s escape from what amounts to a dirigible is exciting and also ludicrous (break both legs? Use a leaf and heal myself instantly!). You’d think someone who was a 2-level magic user might try to contribute a bit, but I’ll put it down to Cecil being sheltered. We also get a much better look at the world itself, as after saving his daughter the baron tells Allen the real secrets about this world… and how it ties into his Japanese self selecting “hell Mode” in the first place. Of course, what this ends up meaning is that we’re going to be going to a different locale for the third book in a row, though at least Cecil will be coming along (and I suspect we’ll see Krena again too). I really enjoy the plot, and wish that I didn’t have to wade through 150 pages of experimentation to get to it.
The series is out up to Book 5, but I’m taking a break here so I can read in increments another book people have been demanding I try. In any case, recommended for those who enjoy books with lots of gaming talk in them, as well as books where the hero is not immediately OP but has to work to be OP.