The Magician Who Rose from Failure: Tales of War and Magic, Vol. 2

By Hitsuji Gamei and Fushimi Saika. Released in Japan as “Shikkaku Kara Hajimeru Nariagari Madō Shidō! ~ Jumon Kaihatsu Tokidoki Senki ~” by GC Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Alexandra Owen-Burns.

As with the first volume in the series, I would describe this book as “solid”. It keeps things interesting, has some fun new characters, balances political intrigue and character development (the first half) with an adventure against villains with lots of fighting (the second half). The protagonist is, of course, a prodigy who is praised by everyone else in the story – need I remind you what genre you are reading? – but he’s still probably the best reason to read this, being mostly sensible but with a core of ludicrousness that pops up whenever he tries to bring in ideas from his Japanese life. Oh yes, and this is still an isekai, but it’s used pretty sparingly, mostly to show why Arcus is a better thinker than the magicians in this world. All that said… as with the first book, solid is all I can give it, and it didn’t really knock my socks off. Magic in This Other World Is Too Far Behind fans are justified in being annoyed.

The book starts off with Arcus’ big invention being shown off to the leading magicians of the Kingdom. We’re briefly shown the group before the presentation, and they’re all stereotypical eccentrics who each have their own agendas and do not get along with others. But the thaumometer blows them all away, to the point where they’d all be fighting to see who gets it first if they didn’t all get one because this was a predictable outcome. After this we jump forward two years and see Arcus as a 12-year-old. The device is still a state secret, but the other kingdoms know something is up, and there are now spies trying to get it at any cost. Arcus joins forces with Orco from He-Man… erm, a mysterious elf, his (ex)-fiancee, his sister, and his “magical partner” to take out the enemy… though he may need help from a passing pirate.

The Arcus generation are all still in their tweens, so romance is not happening yet, but it’s clear that Charlotte likes him and would like to reignite their engagement, and that Sue (who we find out here is the daughter of a duke, though that’s hardly her only secret) is really possessive of him. It’s a love triangle I’d be more invested in if the King had not blithely said he could have two wives as a reward for the magical measuring stick. (Multiple wives getting a bit overdone? Yes.) As for Arcus, he has the fantastic spells, and can sometimes make them devastating (his magic machine gun boggles the mind), but he still lacks the mana to be a powerhouse like his sister (who still adores him). That my change in the future, as he gets a temporary power-up via his elf guide, which implies the same sort of thing could happen again.

In general, the series is better then it’s doing politics and character than battle scenes, which means both volumes so far fall down in the second half. Still, it’s one I’ll be reading more of. As I said, it’s solid.

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