By Fehu Kazuno and Jun. Released in Japan as “Isekai Mokushiroku Mynoghra: Hametsu no Bunmei de Hajimeru Sekai Seifuku” by GC Novels. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Charis Messier.
This was the runner-up in my “what book that I skipped reading should I give a try?” poll, and unlike The World of Otome Games Is Tough for Mobs, I didn’t actually know anything about it in advance; it just did not sound like my thing. Honestly, when it was announced I was surprised. Cross Infinite World is a publisher that has a back catalog that, while not genre-specific, tends to lean more into “I am a girl in a fantasy world and romance is involved”. Licensing not just an isekai but also one from the POV of the “evil” side seemed like a step out of the comfort zone. Still, I think it’s done pretty well for them; it’s getting an audiobook, which shows that it must have some dedicated fans. That said, after reading the first volume, I think I will stick with my original premise: this series isn’t for me.
We open with Takuto Ira dying, as so many of these books do. He’s a rich kid who unfortunately has spent most of his life in a hospital bed, and has finally passed away from the incurable disease that kept him there. Then he wakes up… in what appears to be the game that he played so much in the hospital, Eternal Nations. Together with his most beloved NPC, the sludge girl Atou. Surprisingly, she remembers all the playthroughs she had with him, even though she is also surprised that this is where they are. As both try to figure out what’s going on, they have to deal with a tribe of dark elves on the run, some paladins who are investigating a dark prophecy, Takuto’s own communication disorder, and the possibility that this is not merely “I’m now in the world of my beloved game”. Also, they’re evil.
I said this series is not for me, but if you’re a fan of Overlord, or Her Majesty’s Swarm, then this is absolutely in your ballpark. It does a good job setting up its world, and while there is perhaps a bit more gaming talk than I’d like, it makes sense given that is where Takuto and Atou think they are. The relationship between the two of them is adorable, and also contrasts nicely to their relationship with everyone else in the cast. This all leads up to the climax of this first book, where – I hate to break it to you – there’s a lot of violent slaughter. This is not all that interesting in and of itself – in a book where the main cast is on the evil side, you sort of expect it – but the reaction of Takuto to it is the best part of the book, if only as it’s so disturbing. He’s shown no sign of not being “normal Japanese guy”, he’s talked before about trying to live in peace. So the sudden loss of morality and ethics in his behavior unnerves Atou and the reader at the same time.
For what it is, this is a good book. Not for me. But if you like dark fantasy with an emphasis on the dark, it’s fine.