Naofumi is still trying to prepare for the coming of the waves but now finds that the church is also blocking his path by denying him access to levelling up his party. It isn’t any wonder he has difficulty trusting the young Princess who has come to his party insisting she wants to try to reconcile the Shield Hero with the King.
This continues to be a really enjoyable series, though this books is starting to stretch the basic premise a little bit. Naofumi was starting to make some progress making friends and allies and this book throws the church and entire army at him adding in the notion that maybe he has a brainwashing shield and everyone who has started to trust him has fallen victim. It is such a shallow ploy and yet the fact that it works seems slightly insulting to the other heroes and to the entire population of this fantasy kingdom.
The premise wearing thin or not doesn’t change that this was a pretty enjoyable ride. We do get some more wandering around and attempts to gain more levels and strengths before the wave. We also meet Melty, who turns out to be the younger sister of the Princess who really caused Naofumi all his initial problems and it also turns out is the actual heir to the throne (sibling rivalry much). Melty is an okay addition to the cast, or at least might be once Naofumi stops distrusting everything she says on principal (though some caution is probably advisable because she is certainly up to something).
However, the highlight of the book, and it isn’t the climax, is the next wave. Naofumi has gained the support so some soldiers and they help him protect the villages nearby until they are evacuated and then he goes to find out what is taking the other three heroes so long to actually end the wave. Naofumi can’t really attack given he is the shield hero but he finally gets an ability that allows him to do some serious damage and it momentarily looks like he may have turned the tide of the battle. It is a good moment for Naofumi as a character.
And that is when we are introduced to Glass and for the first time get an idea that there is something more to these waves than just a natural disaster. While her appearance is brief, she leaves a definite impression and gives us a reason to want to see the next wave happen sooner rather than later as getting to know more about her would be fantastic.
However, I then have to address the weakest part of this book and that is the climax. Naofumi and the others were trying to cross the border into another country to attempt to level up there when pretty much everyone on the planet with a weapon comes at them. While it works well enough as a climax, the descriptions get very messy and at times it is hard to remember where the characters are or who is involved in which fight or why someone isn’t fighting at that moment.
Still, for those who have enjoyed Naofumi’s adventures so far, volume 3 is a good follow up and seems to be leading us further into the politics of this world. I kind of want Raphtalia to get a bit more attention in the next book as she seemed a little overlooked at times in this one and she’s my favourite character so far.
If you’ve read it, I’d love to know your thoughts on this book.
If you’re interested in reading The Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 3 it is available on the Book Depository.