Title: The Lizardmen Heroes
Author: Kugane Maruyama
Series: Overlord #4
The lizardmen tribes thought little of the outside world, until the day an unwelcome visitor appeared with a message: in eight days, their villages will be destroyed. With the threat of annihilation upon them, a lizardman traveler named Zaryusu sets out on a desperate mission to unite the tribes. But can their efforts save them from the armies of Ainz Ooal Gown?
The series shifts gears in this book, telling most of its story from the point of view of the lizardmen Ainz intends to conquer. Having gotten a good taste of Ainz’s power in the last three books, there’s little doubt how this will eventually go . . . which is why it’s fascinating that most of the story humanizes so well those Ainz sees as little more than statistics.
I love the details about their culture and society, about the five tribes and their last war, about the day to day worries about food shortages and the new inventions that might disrupt their former way of life. Zaryusu’s solitary existence hasn’t bothered him until he meets Crusch, the head of another tribe. So there’s a bit of romance in play too as the two of them fumble around getting to know each other in the shadow of certain death.
There’s also some scenes carrying forward previous plot threads, like Shalltear’s reaction to having been under mind-control. Ainz is also still interested in running experiments, and those range from completely understandable (wanting to see what the ACTUAL area-of-effect is on some of his larger spells so he can more effectively use them) to the more villainous (wanting to wipe out the lizardmen for trivial causes).
It’s interesting that Ainz has trouble reacting to anyone not in Nazarick as beings with their own lives, hopes, and dreams, which is something this plot highlights extremely well. He mentioned in Carne village about how humans seem to him like ants, or perhaps like a pet once he’s talked with them for a bit. Whether it’s an effect of being undead, or his humanity being overstressed by not actually getting to sleep, or him thinking too much in game terms isn’t clear.
Actually, I really liked the detail about sleeplessness basically driving him insane. His body may not need it anymore, but his mind desperately wants a break from all the stress. And sure, he’s very likely overreacting (again), but the problem has always been a lack of intelligence about the world around him. He is PROBABLY overreacting, but he can’t be sure, and if he’s wrong he’ll lose everything left that he cares about.
And at the end of the day, things not going as he expected might be best for everyone involved.
I do hope Ainz and the rest can grow in this new world. I’d love to see Ainz picking up new magic (although making time to study would be a problem), or Cocytus figuring out how to become an able commander as well as an excellent warrior, and so on. Either way, it’s going to be a long and impatient wait for me until the next book arrives. I rate this book Highly Recommended.