By Mako and Maro. Released in Japan as “Mahousekai no Uketsukejou ni Naritaidesu” by ArianRose. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Roko Mobius.
It should go without saying, really, but fans of this sort of light novel should also be fans of shoujo manga that also runs along these lines. If you, as a reader, read manga where the lead couple are constantly at odds? The girl is constantly angry at the smug arrogant guy? Everyone seems to think they’re already a couple even though she hates his stupid guts? Yeah, that’s this series in a nutshell, it’s just in prose rather than in Hana to Yume. So yes, if smug arrogant guys constantly mocking the heroine are not your cup of tea, don’t read this, because we know who the end guy is going to be and it’s him. The other thing to mention here, which I believe I also did in my first review, is that you’d better love “oblivious to love” and “everyone can see it” as tropes, because the book is drenched in them. When it’s not actually dealing with Nanalie’s actual work, it’s watching everyone smirk at her cluelessness.
As noted above, the book is divided in half. Half the time we are seeing Nanalie at her job at Harre, growing better at it, learning valuable magical skills, and beating up lesser demons. At one point she’s sent to the southern branch for a month to see what it’s like there, and the answer is basically “hot, with added exorcisms”. The other half of the book is her interactions with Rockmann, who always seems to be around despite her best efforts to not see him, and is always there to rub it in her face that he’s still Number One and she is Number two. This even applies to alcohol – Nanalie has an amazingly high tolerance… but not as good as Rockmann’s. The one worrying plotline is that a neighboring kingdom is asking – rather aggressively – for ice witches, and Nanalie is being asked to hide that she is one. What’s really going on here? Also, why is Nanalie being asked to meet the King?
This book is not without its problems. the ending to the first book implied that there was some dangerous demon possession going on… but it’s solved quickly and then dropped. More importantly, the nature of the “Ice Witches Wanted” plotline involves Nanalie not knowing anything about it, and so the climax of the book, frustratingly, takes place offscreen, with most of it explained to her in a “yeah, sorry about this” way by the director. It’s realistic that they would take such steps, but as a reader it is incredibly anticlimactic. Also, Rockmann heals up far too quickly and far too well given they’re making this out to be the first time Nanalie might actually feel something for him. Fortunately, the rest of the book is filled with fun banter and situations, and Nanalie when she’s furious and snarky is the best Nanalie.
There is a suggestion of a few ongoing plots, with some backstory dropped to help the reader along, so I don’t expect this will be ending soon. It’s a fun little series, if a bit uneven, and recommended for those who like shoujo manga where the leads yell at each other all the time.