y Hajime Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi. Released in Japan by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Elizabeth Ellis.
Slayers is Lina Inverse’s series, and that goes doubly for the original novels. The story is told from her first-person perspective, and while we’ve had a supporting cast around her for most of the books, I’d argue only Gourry is the one that can’t be replaced… as we’ll find out in a couple book’s time. Thus, it should not particularly be a surprise to find that this one sorcerer is actually on the mind of almost all the demons in the world, being it wanting to kill her as part of some as yet unknown plan, wanting to kill her because the plan is unknown, wanting to kill her because she killed some of their friends earlier, etc., Lina’s got a lot on her plate right now, to the point where “find out why everyone is trying to kill me” is number one on her bucket list. And yet, I’ve got to say, it’s STILL a shocking moment when an elder dragon casually asks Lina if she’s a fragment of the Biggest of Bads in the series, even Lina is shocked. (Note we never find out if this is the truth.)
This may be the most hilariously inappropriate cover art ever. First of all, Slayers does not have a lot of romance in it. Second, almost all the romance it DOES have, including any crushes Amelia might have on Zelgadis, stem from the anime – the author has stated he avoids romance as he’s bad at it. Thirdly, Amelia is actually pretty badass in this book, punching a demon till it explodes, so I’m not sure why we get the “fair maiden” shot here. (Any Amelia fans who were always grumpy about how she was overused for comedy in the anime should definitely check out the novels.) Likewise, Zelgadis does occasionally get angry in this book, particularly when he discovers Xellos’ actual identity and the fact that Lina knew about it, but I can’t see him making this face in the novels ever – like Amelia, he’s simply far more sedate and put together.
The Slayers novels are not exactly what I would call fluffy, but this one in particular is pretty grim, with the city Lina and company are in getting devastated. Early on Lina is hunting down rumors and meets a little thief kid, who lays out some bits of plot for her. He even gets interior art, and I was wondering how he’d show up later on. Then, while fleeing the burning city, she comes across the boy’s body – he’s dead. It’s the sort of thing you rarely see this blatantly in Slayers, but it helps to show off one of the book’s main points – in a battle between demons, humans are irrelevant. When an elder dragon protects Lina from being killed, the demons trying to do it are stunned that he would bother, as humans are there to be meat shields, allies or no. This is a very dangerous world to live in – particularly if you’re Lina.
The next volume wraps up the first major arc in this series, and should be a lot of fun, as our crew tries to defeat Gaav – who I didn’t even mention in my review, despite his being in the title. Plus we’re almost at the books that never came out in English before!