By Riku Misora and Sacraneco. Released in Japan as “Choujin Koukousei-tachi wa Isekai demo Yoyuu de Ikinuku you desu!” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Nathaniel Thrasher.
I really have to hand it to the writer of this series, they know how to keep a reader’s attention distracted. There’s romantic subplots (none of which are going to go anywhere given the nature of Tsukasa, but hey), there’s political intrigue, there’s starting a revolution by starting a religious movement, there’s a big-ass fight (literally in some cases) near the end of the book, and there are even moments of pure horror in a “welcome to our totally average town, weary travelers!” sort of way. And then you get to the end of the book, and you realize that the entire thing was incredibly dumb and full of holes, with one plot getting dropped so fast that I’m concerned my digital book was missing a chapter. Last time I said that this series is popcorn, which is very true. You eat it and enjoy it, but if you want an actual meal, look elsewhere.
Unlike the manga, the light novel covers are allowed to have more than Lyrule on the cover. Here we see Ringo, who doesn’t really do much here besides build power plants and get really jealous of Tsukasa and Lyrule’s relationship. Life is tough when you’re the unlucky childhood friend. The book deals with the aftermath of the coup that has happened. There’s a lot still to achieve. They need to figure out a way to unite the people regardless of class. They need to figure out ways to keep up their modernizations. And they need to worry about the neighboring Duke, who is made entirely of fury and condescension, and also has a magic firebomb that can take out a city. Even Shinobu, who is traveling towards the capital to try to get the lay of the land, runs into trouble when she gets to a village that is glad to eat her — I mean, meet her.
I will say one thing, which is that the book’s message of “the rich hate everyone else and will happily watch them die purely for entertainment” is a very 2020 mood, even if the book was written five years earlier. It tries to distinguish between “normal” nobles who are just rude assholes and “evil” nobles who are doing things like raping and murdering, but it doesn’t quite get it. Shinobu’s subplot is good and also quite dark… but then gets resolved so fast, and dropped so hard, that, again, I worried a section was missing. And then there’s Aoi, who in the grand finale volunteers to help a guided missile reach its target (a magic spear of fire) by running along side it… then hitting it with her “honed glutes” to get it to change course… then smashing her “sizable breasts” against the missile’s air vents to get it to change course AGAIN. The scene is so dumb your jaw drops, and sexist as hell, but you have to admire the bravado of writing it at all. I imagine this must have been something to see animated.
So yeah, this book is dumb but highly readable, provided you are not troubled by plot, or characterization, or thematic unity, or overt fanservice.