By You Fuguruma and Nama. Released in Japan as “Kasei Madoushi no Isekai Seikatsu: Boukenchuu no Kasei Fugyou Uketamawarimasu!” by Ichijinsha Bunko Iris NEO. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Hengtee Lim.
This series remains ongoing in Japan – both as a light novel series, which has 7 volumes to date, and as a webnovel, last updated 2 weeks ago – which makes it odd that the series really feels like it’s going to be ending in the next book. Most of the drama in this volume involves other people – first there’s the wrap-up of the Annelie and Dennis arc, and then there’s an arc that points out the somewhat rocky relationship between other adventurers and knights. It’s definitely building more of the world that Alec and Shiori are living in. That said, Alec and Shiori are still in a “honeymoon” stage of their relationship, with almost every moment between them being cute and romantic. The only exceptions are when Alec worries about Shiori’s past and sudden appearance in their country, or when Shiori worries that Alec is actually royalty. Both of those things need to be resolved before they can marry… and it’s being dragged out.
We pick up where we left off, with our merry band having resolved Annelie and Dennis’ love life… well, at least their feelings for each other… and now it’s time to head back. On the way they find the annoying nobles from the Empire have opened the massive door that screamed “do not open”, and now the worst of them is dead, and the other two are ill. Fortunately for them, our heroes are all nice, so they drag them back home, despite the dangers on the way back, including mythical beasts. Once home, Annelie and Dennis have Mrs. Tragic Backstory arrive to explain what ACTUALLY happened in Dennis’ past, and why their family has not spoken with the adventurer’s guild in ten years. Finally, in a side story, Alec, Shiori, Zack and Linus are called to a village with an infestation of monster bugs and find the knights and the village folks are not getting on.
This is one of those books where the reader has to be careful not to be disappointed by the story that isn’t being told. Everything about the past of Dennis’ father and what turns out to be his MALE partner reads like it’s going to say everyone lied to cover up a gay relationship. That’s not what happens here, and the explanation of Dennis’ grandfather, the actual villain of the piece, is far less interesting. I wonder if this may have been changed for the light novel – everything about the death is framed as “they were lovers”, even the final image of their dead bodies holding hands. It’s weird. As for Alec and Shiori, now that she’s more relaxed around everyone she’s letting more things slip, and Alec and the others are starting to realize that she’s probably not from “the Eastern lands” at all. Unfortunately, she and Alec are still too afraid of ruining their burgeoning love to confess their backstories to each other.
This is well-written enough, and I’ll definitely keep going, but I found this book a bit more frustrating than the previous ones, and hope the next book takes a few definitive steps forward.