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 mentioned that I found Rentt fairly dull, but the story being told around him fascinating. Unfortunately, this second book sticks with Rentt the entire time, and suffers from it. It’s divided fairly evenly into fourths, each of which sees Rentt telling us about what’s going on very matter of factly. And speaking in that “I… am a zombie… sort of tone…” to boot. The stronger part of the book is at the start, as I really enjoyed the Bronze Adventurer test he took with the young adventurer couple. And the chat he had with Sheila was also good, though signposted something that I was hoping this book would avoid. (It’s a light novel series, guess what? It’s not avoided.) Unfortunately, the last two stories aren’t as interesting, and by the end of the book I found myself skimming, never a good sign when the ending features a fight to the death against a giant dragon creature.
The start, though, is very good. The test that Rentt and the adventurers he’s paired with take is quite vicious, which is fair given what adventurers of this level have to go through. More monsters than expected, ambushes from guild members, and also ambushes by other adventurers trying to take them out, given that only the one team who gets there first passes. This allows Rentt to show off his knowledge and experience. The adventurer couple are cliched (they reminded me a bit of the brother/sister team from Log Horizon) but cute. After this, we see that, as expected, Rentt’s attempt to hide himself by taking on a different last name and putting on a cloak and mask are not QUITE as effective as he’d imagined. Unfortunately, this then leads to the thing I thought we’d avoided. Sheila is clearly in love with Rentt, and when brought back to the house to meet Lorraine, Lorraine immediately knows it. I don’t really need undead harem adventures.
The third story has Rentt going to a village whose ritual sacrifice festival has gotten a bit too literal about its ritual sacrifices, and she steps in to save the day and figure out what’s going on is not as supernatural as people would think. The final story is the one ending in a cliffhanger, as Rentt takes on the task of finding a rare plant to help heal the head of an orphanage (the orphans are the ones hiring him). The most interesting part of this is when Rentt tries to kill a giant rat creature and instead finds himself getting a familiar, and a rather snarky one at that. Unfortunately, this is almost entirely Rentt by himself and Rentt without other people to bounce off of is far, far too dull. Things aren’t helped by the fact that, due to a rumor of adventurers disappearing, he has to stay out of the dungeons to avoid being suspicious. As a result, he’s stagnated a bit.
So now that we’ve had that dreaded second album syndrome, can things pick up? I believe they can, but I suspect it relies on how large the cast is for the third book. Too much Rentt can be deadly.