Dahlia in Bloom: Crafting a Fresh Start with Magical Tools, Vol. 2

By Hisaya Amagishi and Kei. Released in Japan as “Madougushi Dahliya wa Utsumukanai” by MF Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Nikolas Stirling.

Last time I said readers should not be surprised if this romance series turned into romance in the next book. It turns out that it may take a bit longer than that. Both of our protagonists are suffering from the death of a beloved parent who was their whole world. Moreover, due to different circumstances, both of them are avoiding love at the moment. As a result, while to the eyes of the reader it might look like they’re basically dating at this point, it really is merely a series of dinners, with the occasional experimental magical sword crafting as a side dish. That said, by the end of the book I think Volf is starting to realize how he actually feels about this captivating young woman/drinking partner. As for Dahlia… well, it’s going to be a bit. Heck, we can’t even credit her break up as being responsible for her avoiding love, as it’s made clear in a side story here that Tobias was also not even on her radar. She’s just dense to love. As are they all.

Fortunately for the reader, Tobias and his new bride are entirely absent from this book, which instead focuses on one major flaw that Dahlia has: she does not realize that her new inventions are stunningly revolutionary, rather than just off-the-cuff things that she can casually give out over drinks and dinner. This includes toe socks and insoles, something she suggests when hearing about Volf and his fellow knights having to battle in a swamp and constantly having issues with wet boots. As it turns out, Athlete’s Foot is a huge problem among the men in this world, and Dahlia’s creation – as well as advice she gives them based on experience from her past life – it enough to set up meetings with royalty. And let’s not even get into the magic bracelet she gives Volf that essentially allows him to leap tall buildings in a single bound. She really does not know her own strength as a craftswoman. Fortunately, everyone else does.

I joked on Twitter that the series was called “Dahliacoholic”, and it’s certainly true that pages and pages of this already very long book are devoted to her and Volf sitting around and having dinner and drinks and more drinks. Fortunately, she pretty much only does this around Volf, and he’s as bad as she is but also a gentleman. He also has a woman who he has an agreement with that they pretend to be lovers – for Volf it’s because he wants to avoid the adulation he tends to get walking around town, and for Altea because she appears to have been interested in his mother more than any man in her life. They both make good cover for each other. Which is good, as otherwise rumors about Volf and Dahlia would be rampant. She doesn’t quite have the social standing to be involved with a noble at the moment… but that may change if she keeps inventing at this speed.

I do think these books could stand to be shorter – like their main couple, they enjoy lingering over dinner and drinks and are in no rush to go home. That said, the mood of this book is excellent, and it manages to be a “slow life” that is actually slow, unlike a lot of those sorts of books.

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