That title is really way too long no matter how you look at it.
Anyway, onto book 2 (book 1 thoughts here) and we continue to follow Bell’s adventures. Hestia’s role in this book is much smaller and the focus is more on Bell developing as an adventurer and the introduction of Lilly, a supporter for Bell’s dungeon exploits. There is a small introduction of the idea of having a personal smith and people who have watched the anime will know where that is going, but it isn’t really dealt with in this book. As I said, this is definitely more about Bell and Lilly, with a little bit more about Eina from the Guild.
What made this book so fun to read is that you just kind of roll along from one event to the next. There’s ideas that we know will get developed later and reminders of things that have already happened, but there’s always this sense of pushing forward and growing. And that is driven largely by Bell and Bell’s character but it also comes through in the writing itself which keeps exchanges short and description sparse. There’s certainly enough description, but there aren’t large sections where you feel like things have been over-described and you are waiting for something to actually happen.
Lilly was a great addition to the cast in this book. Hestia and Bell are both too sweet for words in most scenes and the majority of other characters that were focused on in book 1 were also relatively nice characters. Lilly, with her more complex story and motives and her definite bitter streak really injects some much needed flavour into what might otherwise become a fairly bland fantasy romp. Despite their being a goddess targeting Bell, this is still a very peripheral story line and so without Lilly there really wouldn’t have been much tension in this tale at all.
Ais also fares well in this second volume. Though her presence is minimal, her few encounters with Bell, as well as Eina’s observations of her, help to start painting a picture of her character. For Bell, Ais remains something of an ideal or a target, but the audience are starting to see Ais more as a person and hopefully this continues into the next book.
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However, this is a book set in a city where the focus is entering a dungeon and hunting monsters, and I must say that these parts of the story held up very well. We get taken deeper into the dungeon than we had been in the previous book and we learn more about the creatures living there (as well as learning more about the tower above the dungeon). We also see that Bell’s experiences in the dungeon aren’t forgotten as he has some moments where he plays it cautious remembering that Minotaur that nearly killed him when he first met Ais. The dungeon is also a good way of keeping track of Bell’s progress as an adventurer given otherwise it is just numbers and letters on a stat sheet. Seeing Bell’s encounters with the monsters helps give us a real image of how strong he has become.
This book also introduces magic to Bell. While that part of the story may have been underutilized, it certainly opens many future possibilities, and like Bell I have to admit shooting a firebolt is pretty cool.
All and all, this is a great follow up to the first book and I like that it seemed to have a focus for this book even while progressing other stories for later use. I’m looking forward to the third volume of this series.
Thanks for reading.
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