Slayers: The Darkness in Vezendi

By Hajime Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi. Released in Japan by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Elizabeth Ellis.

We are slowly starting to edge towards an ongoing narrative, even though for the most part these books still try their best to be books that can be read entirely on their own. That’s harder here, as we get the villains from the 2nd and 4th books seemingly teaming up to try to take out Lina… and the others, but mostly Lina. This should not be surprising – as Lina has been going around the countryside wiping out more and more people, even leaving out the Dragon Slave and Giga Slave, she’s attracted a name for herself, and there are a few folks who want her to stop doing that – particularly demons. Unfortunately for them, Lina feels no real need to change any of her habits – she still gleefully goes out bandit hunting at night, and while she can justify it to Amelia as needing traveling funds, there’s no denying that she also does it as she loves beating the shit out of people. Good news for her, then, this book is full of fights.

Zelgadis is on the cover, and those of you know know light novel cover art know what that means. Right – he does very little in this book. The plot involves Zuma, the hired killer from the 4th book, suddenly reappearing saying that he never finished the job he was hired for, mysteriously having two whole arms again, and demanding that Lina travel to Vezendi or innocents will die. Despite the fact that their party is one larger than expected (Xellos is back, and Amelia and Zelgadis are furi… well, actually, no, they take it quite well), they arrive and are hired as guards to a local merchant who Zuma says he’s going to kill. Oh yes, and Seigram, the villain from the SECOND novel, is also back… somewhat randomly… and trying to kill Lina. Do all of these things have a common element? Can Lina avoid getting killed? And can Lina avoided getting savagely roasted by her “friends”?

It is somewhat interesting still to see the differences between the novels and their far better known anime adaptation. I’ve talked before about Lina’s narration, and how she frequently skews things to make herself look better, but it’s actually a bit more than that: her inner thoughts are very cool, logical, and collected, even during a fight. The girl who will explode if you look at her wrong shows up sometimes, but it’s far rare than the anime. Amelia, as well, also feels “cooler”. While she does go on about justice, she is also not above beating the crap out of bandits, and literally says to Lina that if she dies Amelia will loot her corpse. WOW. She’s also far more competent in these books. And Gourry… OK, you’ve got me there, Gourry has been getting dumber by the book, and now appears to have reached anime levels, though he still sometimes steps in as the voice of common sense when needed.

The epilogue is not so much of a cliffhanger as an “ah, there it is”, and it comes as a surprise to no one, least of all Lina. I’m interested to see what happens in the next book, which is the final one in this loose “arc”. That said… these are still books that function more as a tasty snack than as a full meal.

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