By Yu Okano and Jaian. Released in Japan as “Nozomanu Fushi no Boukensha” by Overlap, Inc. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Shirley Yeung.
Last time I complained about the dullness of Rentt’s POV, and though the cast remains as small as ever, it appears the author remains cognizant of it, as we get Rentt thinking about the fact that since he became undead, he’s become relatively flat and emotionless. Fortunately, though Rentt is still undead, he does level up a bit here, so at least we don’t have to read his halting, shambolic speech anymore in the second half of the book. In fact, I found the book very much felt like an inverted U as I read it. The middle two sections are easily the best, and I genuinely enjoyed them. I was not as enamored with the first section, which was essentially wrapping up events from the last book and meandered quite a bit, and the final section, which features far too many magic lessons. There are times when you can tell that the author is still learning the craft.
As I noted earlier, we pick up where we left off, with Rentt getting the flower that will help heal the woman in charge of the orphanage. While there, he meets an adventurer who turns out to be a butler (not named Sebastian, alas) and gets a request to visit the butler’s master… or mistress, as it turns out. This second section sees Rentt navigate a confusing hedge maze and then search through a pile of valuable magic artifacts for his “reward”, as well as making a contract to get more of that healing flower. Due to events in that section, Rentt is able to evolve further, becoming… sort of vampire-ish? He has bat wings, and is very pale. But he’s not QUITE exactly what the textbooks say, and he can still use his divinity, mana, etc. Finally, the young girl at the orphanage who hired Rentt to cure their caretaker is made a magic pupil of Lorraine’s, and she and Rentt attend a magic class which is made up of equal parts amusing pettiness and boring worldbuilding.
The best parts of the book are the ones where Rentt is allowed to wander outside the “boring old undead adventurer” narration. The sequence with the toy airship, and Rentt’s nerd infatuation with it, made me smile, and is absolutely terrific. That whole section was good, as Laura, the head of the family hiring Rentt, is intelligent and fun without being a brat (and knows the value of good tea). I also liked the aftermath of Rentt becoming a vampire-like being, as he and Lorraine take turns going over his body and exactly what he can and cannot do now. (I was disappointed that Lorraine didn’t ask if he was “fully functional”, so to speak, but then she seems just as shy as he is in many ways.) This was one of the sections where the worldbuilding and back and forth conversations worked quite well.
The end of this volume implies things may not go nearly as well for Rentt in the fourth volume, as we’re getting new characters who I suspect won’t take kindly to heroic vampire adventurers. That said, it may be a bit of a wait – the 4th volume is out in Japan in November, so I expect at least 3 or 4 months. Till then, The Unwanted Undead and Uneven Adventurer is still mostly keeping my attention.