Title: The Men of the Kingdom Part I
Author: Kugane Maruyama
Series: Overlord #5
Brain Ungulus is a shattered man after his encounter with Shalltear Bloodfallen. But Gazef Stronoff, his old rival, might be what he needs to get on his feet again. In the castle, Princess Renner is mostly useless, but she has a very devoted servant in Climb, who will do anything for her. Sebas and Solution are in the country simply to gather information, but Sebas’s kind nature soon gets him in trouble with the local criminals. When Climb’s path intersects with Sebas, Climb gets a glimpse of ultimate power . . .
This novel has fun moments, but by and large it’s mostly setting the stage for what happens in part 2. I like seeing some of the fallout from things like Brain’s fight with an enemy he absolutely couldn’t beat. Similarly, it’s interesting to compare Brain and Climb’s reactions to Sebas. Brain can’t help but compare Sebas to Shalltear, but Climb’s one-track mind allows him a different perspective.
Of course the best moments by far are watching Sebas take down a tiny corner of a corrupt organization. When the butler gets mad, the butler proves he’s just as capable of smashing in heads as anyone in Nazarick (and he’ll continue to look classy while doing it). My only regret is that there’s nothing even approaching a threat big enough to cause him to reveal his alternate dragon form (mentioned in book 3, but so far has yet to make an appearance even through book 11).
Sebas is also easy to feel sorry for because he’s the one person at Nazarick with something approaching basic human decency. He was the creation of Touch Me, who besides being the strongest person in the original game, was also the one who brought the guild together because of his compassion towards players who were having a hard time. Sebas inherited that desire to help the suffering (although he does have a condition I like: they have to be willing to struggle themselves. If they’re just not strong enough, that’s something he’ll help with, but if they’re not even going to try, he’s not going to bother). But he’s surrounded at Nazarick with a host of beings who don’t think like he does, and after Shalltear’s betrayal, aren’t willing to trust anything that looks like disloyalty . . .
Overall this novel drags on a bit. It’s unfortunate that even the bits about Sebas and Brain don’t really carry the long passages about Climb and Renner. Hopefully this will be part of what’s animated for season 2, which is due to start airing in January. That should help significantly by cutting out all the description in favor of visuals, therefore truncating the more boring parts for the actual fun. At any rate, though, since this does set up the next book, it’s not really skippable in order to understand some of what goes on there. I rate this book Recommended.