By the Grace of the Gods, Vol. 2

By Roy and Ririnra. Released in Japan as “Kami-tachi ni Hirowareta Otoko” by HJ Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Mana Z.

It’s probably not a coincidence that while the genre of ‘Slow Life’ novels is very popular in Japan, we haven’t really seen that many straight examples of it here in the West. There have been a few that come close, but they tend to have a lot of things happening, or else they’re standard isekai only lackadaisical. By the Grace of the Gods really comes closest to the pure type (Ryoma does do some adventuring and goblin slaying, so it’s not 100% “no I will not be a isekai protagonist I am going to farm!” like the best of them), as Ryoma, over the course of the book, realizes that rather than hanging out with the rich family who “rescued” him and getting closer to their daughter who clearly has a crush on him, and rather than going on guild quests and monster hunting, he’s going o be… opening a laundry. Of course, given his slimes, this is not as big a jump as you might expect. The result is that the book is… pretty good but dull.

We don’t get the laundry till the end of the book, so for the most part this book involves Ryoma finding odd things to do with his ever increasing pile of slimes. He’s learning new magic, so that he can store them better and also teleport. He’s clearing abandoned mines of minor monster hordes, along with the occasional worse than expected monster horde. And he is getting involved in fights between a bunch of bully adventurers and the kids they’re taking advantage of… which not only leads Ryoma to kick their ass and make sure they’re punished, but also makes him realize that this sort of thing is exactly NOT what he wants to do. And that he’s not happy with this side of himself. So a laundry, given how hard it is to get monster guts off of clothing in this world, sounds fantastic.

This last part is the most interesting part of the book. Ryoma gets really pissed off when he sees the bullying adventurers, enough that it gets a color page. Given Ryoma’s default mood has been ‘stoic’, this merely involves escalating to ‘glower’, but it’s a start. That said, I really liked his attempts at self-analysis after the event – they make sense to him, but also feel a bit wrong to the reader and to everyone else around him. He decides to be “more independent” by breaking off with the duke’s family, convinced that being with them would “spoil” him. Honestly, I agree more with everyone that he tells this to: I think he needs more exposure to others, not less. He’s easily pegged as someone who will never ask for help. Even the Gods, when he prays to them and goes for a visit (remember the title), inform him that he’s not just a 40-old guy in an 11-year-old body – his emotional state is matching up with his age in THIS world. It’s a great conceit that’s the best part of the book.

That said, the REST of the book is a lot of monster hunts, slimes, and everyone praising Ryoma for being awesome… in other words, standard light novel. That said, I’m very interested to see where this goes nest.

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