Category Archives: Young Adult

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #3 (Light Novel)

Title: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #3

Author: Fuse

Format: Light Novel

With the orc lord defeated and his army disbanded, Rimuru is turning his attention back to building a town. Or rather, it’s starting to look more like a nation. With their first treaty signed, he’s moving onto a bigger stage. But the demon lords have also taken note, and have sent their own investigative team . . .

I like a lot in this book, but since I’m not really fond of Milim, that takes it down a notch for me. (And that cover. Ugh. Talk about books I am glad I got digitally because it would be too hard to explain in public.)

I enjoy reading about the little details of building a town. In this case, the various sanitary improvements Rimuru is trying to implement in his monster town. Toilets. Showers/baths. All very difficult when you neither have a good way to pressurize plumbing (if you can even lay all the piping) and no obvious way to heat the water. Rimuru himself may not need to use some of this, but his formerly-human sensibilities demand a much higher level of cleanliness than anything this world can provide. To be honest, I wish the books had gone into this level of detail on some of the other things too. I love the nitty gritty of working out these engineering issues with magic and a very primitive technology.

I also find it hilarious how Rimuru mentions his town is getting really GOOD at the whole “drop everything and evacuate” routine because of all the ridiculous monsters that have been showing up spoiling for a fight.

There’s also a good look at some of the various major powers in the world, from the demon lords to the dwarf king, and how they’re reacting to the gathering power in Rimuru’s town. For the demon lords, who are themselves extremely powerful, this is just something to keep an eye on to make sure it doesn’t get out of control. But for the dwarven/human kingdoms, Rimuru’s pace of development is frankly insane, and worrisome. And both groups would be happy to trap Rimuru in various schemes if they can, so he’d better learn to be a politician quickly.

The big bad in this one feels less like an immediate threat and more like a chess piece. We have a mysterious organization that may or may not be working on behalf of a demon lord, the demon lords themselves, and Tempest caught in the middle. Given Milim’s presence, though, it’s hard to put as much tension here as there was in the battle against the Orc Disaster.

Overall this is a solid continuation of the story. I rate this book Recommended.

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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #2 (Light Novel)

Title: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #2

Author: Fuse

Format: Light Novel

Rimuru and his allies are busy laying the groundwork for the city that will become their new home. But something is stirring in the Forest of Jura. An army is on the move, displacing monsters and devouring anything that they can catch. It’s Rimuru’s first real taste of war . . . and can his small group of followers conquer such a vast number of enemies?

It’s just one thing after another for Rimuru ever since he left the caves where he was reborn. This time around, a massive army of orcs is advancing into the forest, which is upsetting the local monsters. And these are no ordinary orcs. They’re being held together by an all-consuming power that has turned them into a single-minded swarm bent on only one thing: devouring everything in an attempt to fill their insatiable hunger.

I really like this arc for a number of reasons. The orcs, lizardmen, and ogres show a broader view of the Forest of Jura—and in the case of the lizardmen, a bit of civil unrest as the war creates divisive opinions on how to fight.

It also shows how names, something Rimuru takes for granted because of his memories as a human, can totally change the course of a monster’s life. Perhaps in keeping with the game-like mechanics behind skills, a named monster is more powerful than its unnamed kind. And something Rimuru totally fails to notice is that a named monster is ALSO loyal to the one who named it. So in handing out names because he can’t otherwise figure out how to talk to specific monsters, he’s single-handedly evolving pretty much every monster he meets . . . and creating an ever-growing group of allies willing to help him with his dreams of civilization. Titles also work to boost skill—the monsters Rimuru calls “king” and “lord” grow right into that.

There’s a lot of work that’s going into the town Rimuru is creating, but I like that for now much of it is still so preliminary that they haven’t constructed much. He’s determined to do things right from the ground up.

I’m also hugely amused that Rimuru, who naturally has no sense of taste in slime form (nor, if the magic concentration is high enough, even a need to eat at all) is a real foodie. Now that he has human form, he wants to enjoy all the dishes he liked before he was killed. Figuring out how to recreate them here is problematic from a number of angles, and I like seeing how he starts to work through them.

Then there are the orcs. This large-scale war and its accompanying complications provide for a lot of great fights, not only by Rimuru but also by his allies. I’m particularly fond of the first battle in the book as well as the final battle. Rimuru’s solutions shows he’s growing and adapting–and also that at his heart he’s just someone who wants real peace.

Overall this is a fun read, and a good continuation of the story. I rate this book Highly Recommended.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #1 (Light Novel)

Title: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime #1

Author: Fuse

Format: Light Novel

Satoru Mikami had just gone out to meet a coworker for lunch, but a thug wielding a knife put an end to his ordinary life. As he’s dying, he hears a strange voice responding to his thoughts . . . and when he wakes up, he realizes life is going to be very different from now on. He’s no longer human, and the various abilities the voice had mentioned are now his to command. This begins his adventures as a slime . . .

I saw the first few episodes of the anime and got intrigued about this, and too impatient to wait for the rest of the episodes to come out to learn what happens next.

This is a game-flavored story for sure, but it doesn’t lean too heavily on those mechanics. The skill system seems to be run by some gigantic computer-like entity, but other than that more of the story proceeds like a fantasy than like a game.

I really enjoy watching Rimuru (Satoru’s new name, eventually) learn about himself and his environment. He’s still got all his human memories, but now he’s got a body where none of that applies anymore. He doesn’t breathe, doesn’t really eat, doesn’t excrete, and obviously has no limbs to speak of. So he enters this new life blind and confused, and his explorations often have comical results. As a migrant soul, he’s definitely got some overpowered skills, but he’s still figuring out the best ways to use them. (And unlike similar types of series like Overlord, most people who arrive or reincarnate from another world get overpowered skills, so he’s not the only one with an ace up his metaphorical sleeve.)

And Rimuru can use a mimic skill on things he’s eaten, so he gets a number of fun transformations as he confronts various monsters. His reaction to some of their skills as a giant NOPE was funny too.

Rimuru is also a pretty cheerful main character, eager to explore, and easily talked into helping out the various monsters he encounters who are in trouble. One thing I also appreciate about this book is that the majority of the focus stays on the monster characters, whether it’s the dragon Veldora, the goblins, etc. Ranga was my favorite, because giant storm wolves for the win. Humans exist, but they’ve got a more minor role so far.

But this isn’t a novel about everyone fighting. It’s actually got quite a bit of construction as Rimuru and his new monster allies work on building themselves a place to live. I liked reading the details of how they intend to set up a town, and the various people they recruit to try to make it work. He certainly isn’t planning on something small, but given his propensity to recruit powerful allies, everything’s more or less working out.

Overall this is a fun story that opens what looks to be a promising series. If you want a bit of a different twist on a story about traveling to another world, this would be a good book to check out. I rate this book Recommended.

Wizards and Heroes

Title: Wizards and Heroes

Author: Clark Graham

Jason has been summoned to be the Hero of another world—but the wizard who did the summoning messed up, and Jason only crosses over to this world in his dreams. He’s got a mission ahead of him: capture the golden orb from the enemy King, or his dreams will continue to drag him to a world that’s trying to kill him. Problem is, his real life is falling apart because no one believes him when he explains how he keeps getting injured.

This had some good ideas, but the execution fell flat in a number of areas.

The first, and most immediately obvious, is the writing style. Between the wording choices, the occasional grammatical errors, and the tone, this feels like a first novel from a high schooler. The prose is very basic, and the storytelling tends to skip over important bits like battle scenes, or summarize them in a way that’s not all that believable. Like having Jason behead a bear-sized creature in one blow, when he hasn’t been gifted any kind of super strength.

There are errors like that in many of the events. Like the ease in which various characters are getting medical information bothered me. Simply pushing over a TREE because the ground was wet (and then hacking it from its roots with swords, not axes) was another. Most of these could have been fixed with some minor changes.

Many of the characters are flat and unbelievable. I think the school councilor had some of the best characterization, but other adults like the mayor (who doesn’t even get a name, just Mayor), or the evil king, are more like caricatures. I especially disliked the romantic elements. I’m not sure why she’s STARTING off with a kiss on the cheek, or why she thinks this is an appropriate reward (and I won’t even go into the whole sunbathing scene).

And it was really annoying how much of the final battle was just skipped over. Possibly because it would be hard to explain how a bunch of average adults and kids could win just by virtue of being taller against people who presumably have actually trained with their weapons.

Overall, this feels like something that was probably a lot of fun for the author to write, but really could have used another draft or editing pass to strengthen the story. I rate this book Not Recommended.

Trash of the Count’s Family

Title: Trash of the Count’s Family

Translator: miraclerifle

Chapters: 28 (ongoing)

Location: https://www.wuxiaworld.com/novel/trash-of-the-counts-family

One day a young man fell asleep reading a series of books, and woke up as one of the characters. Unfortunately, the identity he was given was that of the wastrel son of a Count, and his destiny is to be beaten up by the main character in the first book and then never be heard from again. Cale hates pain, and decides to use his knowledge of the events to come to position himself in a better spot . . .

This is hilarious. Cale is unabashedly self-centered (although maybe not as much as he wants to credit for himself), and very much interested in staying completely out of the events described in the books he’d been reading. Unfortunately, there’s only so much he can do to stop the plot from rolling along—but he’s determined to influence what he can, where he needs to, in order to live his dream of being a couch potato unaffected by the catastrophes to come.

Naturally, Choi Han would be doing the battling. Why would Cale even try to fight when such a strong person was next to him? Cale thought paper-cuts hurt a lot, so he didn’t want to even think about getting cut by a sword.

But his little machinations are already having bigger ripple effects. Take the dragon. Cale’s main goal is to stop it from rampaging, as well as get a little revenge on the noble who’s torturing it. And everything goes more-or-less as planned, except for one major thing: the dragon isn’t interested in following Cale’s version of the script.

It’s likely Cale’s attempts to keep himself out of the spotlight will only put him into it. And he might start having problems holding on to his bad reputation now that he’s proving he’s far more competent than anyone gives him credit for.

It feels kind of short right now because of the low chapter count, but this is already a very promising series, and one I’m looking forward to immensely. The updates should be pretty frequent for now, which will help. Highly Recommended.

Overgeared

Title: Overgeared

Author: Park Saenal / Translator: Rainbow Turtle

Chapters: 774 (Ongoing)

Location: https://www.wuxiaworld.com/novel/overgeared

Grid is a mediocre player in the immersive VR game Satisfy. But when his persistence unlocks a legendary class, his luck seems to be changing. Only he’s been saddled with Legendary Blacksmith, when he really wanted a combat class. The Legendary Blacksmith’s unique feature is the ability to equip any item, so he devises a plan to become the greatest through using items.

This is an extremely funny book. Grid isn’t familiar enough with games to know how to play effectively, and he’s also cursed by RNG, so things that even average players could do come with a lot of trouble for him. As an example, when he finally challenges a dungeon that recreates your greatest trials in the game, he’s fighting the rabbits in the starter town, because it’s the enemy he lost to the most.

Although my favorite bit of humor is Piaro. Grid runs into an insanely powerful NPC in the course of doing other things, and later when he needs more people remembers Piaro exists and recruits him. Piaro, having lived in the wilderness to avoid pursuers from his previous life, is dressed like a peasant, and Grid doesn’t bother telling anyone his true class or abilities, so everyone mistakes him for a farmer. Grid thinks this is funny and waits for everyone else to figure it out, but Piaro treats farming like training and pours all his considerable ability into it . . . leading to the creation of a legendary farmer who has a reputation for beating up strong people and then requiring them to work in the fields with him. “Happy Fun Training Times” indeed. Grid is, hilariously, extremely put out that Piaro’s potential got “wasted” on FARMING. He was hoping for Piaro to become a legendary sword saint like Piaro originally wanted.

And then Grid tries to complete Piaro’s revenge quest and comes back with another warrior . . .

Some bits of the book do drag a bit. For example, the second national competition was far too long. And no, I don’t buy that the viewership was that high, especially for things like an 8 hour blacksmithing competition. Most people would tune in right at the end to see the result instead of watching 8 hours of people hammering at forges. Even the Olympics don’t have that kind of dedicated attention.

It also seems odd to me that Satisfy is so popular when it features such things as using your real face instead of allowing you to create a character who’s totally unlike you. And it’s highly unbelievable that the executive team has time to sit around watching various players. Even more unbelievable is the mantra of “The game has no bugs and we refuse to interfere.” (As someone who works in software, the idea that any software has no bugs leaves me laughing hysterically.)

And some bits are probably going to rub some readers the wrong way. Grid is not only a terrible player at the beginning, but a terrible person. He’s a 26-year-old manchild who acts like he’s 13. But in the course of learning to love work, make friends, and find a purpose for his life, he starts growing up (of course, the story in its latest chapters is almost pushing it too hard in the opposite direction—but then Grid will do something utterly selfish and prove he’s not entirely reformed).

So overall this is a bit of a mixed bag, but the story is just so much fun I kept staying up way too late to read just one more chapter, even if I did end up skimming most of the real life segments in favor of the more entertaining game segments. I rate this story Recommended.

Warrior Genius (Geniuses #2)

Title: Warrior Genius

Author: Michael Dante DiMartino

Series: Geniuses #2

Giacomo and his friends are on the run from Supreme Creator Nezzera. They have the Creator’s Compass, but they still need to find the Straightedge and Pencil. But when they locate the Straightedge in a neighboring country, they have an additional problem—all of the horse-shaped Geniuses are dying from some mysterious ailment, and Giacomo may be the only one who can stop it.

I didn’t like this book. I tried. On a technical level, it isn’t bad. The plot has good pacing, the characters grow a bit, and we get to see more of the world.

But the various twists just torpedoed all my interest in finishing the story.

Giacomo’s innocence is souring to arrogance, as when he tries to fix Zanobius by himself to disastrous results. Predictably, this leads Zanobius to abandon the party again, so rather than having the other kids work out their mixed emotions towards him, all that gets pushed off.

Zanobius aims for peace, then revenge. He’s got enough vision to see Nezzara is a huge problem, and he should be able to turn those tables. And then he gets her scrawny neck between his powerful hands and HESITATES to off her. Look, I get he has a crisis of conscience, but do it AFTER you kill her, not before. She’s already AMPLY demonstrated she’s a tyrant willing to sacrifice anyone and everyone around her (and my one small joy was watching Pietro’s attempts to reason with her fail resoundingly), and at some point someone should be asking if the number of innocent victims she’s piling up are worth the minuscule chance of redeeming her. Aren’t their lives worth anything?

Apparently not.

Enzio is the only real highlight of the book, and even he gets incredibly far only to utterly fail at the last. He’s captured, tortured, and yet holds out enough rebellion to turn the tables—but he can’t quite manage to push in the knife. And that has unfortunate consequences for everyone not named Nezzara.

So it took me a long time to finish this because I kept putting it down and dreading picking it back up because it felt like the stupidity kept piling up. If these kinds of plot twists bother you less, you may like the series more. For me, I’m done. I rate this book Not Recommended.