Slayers: The Dynast Plot

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.

After the review of the last volume, I said that I hoped this one would be a bit lighter in tone. It is, but only a little bit. This is still a series where not being Lina or Gourry gives you a high chance of dying horribly or being turned into a horrible monster. Indeed, one of the surprises towards the end of this book is when some of the cast we’ve met along the way *isn’t* killed off. And we also have Luke and Mileena, who are back for this book but, let’s face it, are there to be off-brand Amelia and Zelgadis – indeed, a joke in the final pages has someone mention how much Lina’s companions have changed. But honestly… I don’t think Luke and Mileena have the plot armor that Lina and Gourry do. Still, the end of the arc is still three books away, so in the meantime we have “let’s look into bad things happening” on a more mild level.

After giving her report on the previous book’s events to a very disbelieving sorcerer’s council, Lina and Gourry are forced… erm, asked to investigate a bunch of lesser demon sightings. Much to their surprise, these turn out to have been taken care of by a “white giant” on the mountainside. then, as often happens with Lina and Gourry, they run into a corpse and the murderer of said corpse, who is rather doggedly trying to eliminate witnesses. The they run into Luke and Mileena, who are with a young man, Jade, trying to save his kingdom from a very familiar person who seems to be putting poison into the king’s ear. Can our heroes manage to solve things with a lower body count than usual? Who’s destroying lesser demons up on the mountain? And doesn’t the resolution of this book seem a bit too easy to be true?

I’ve talked before about the author’s total lack of romance in the series, which seems to stem more from an inability to write it well than anything else. This comes up near the middle of the book when Lina, in a rare moment that’s just her and Mileena, asks why Mileena is always traveling with Luke. Mileena’s response is “because I’m very awkward”, which may be the most romantic thing we’ve heard in the series to date. And that’s not saying much, as you can see. As for Lina and Gourry, all I can say is that when Mileena asks about their relationship, Lina likens her and Gourry to a sex worker and her “gigolo”, which made my jaw drop but I can see her thought process. Lina’s making all the money and Gourry is the “guardian”. It makes sense if you completely remove sex or romance from the equation, and it’s clear Lina has done that.

As noted above, our heroes win, but… they win pretty easily. Even Lina suspects something else is going on here. I’m sure we’ll find out more next time. Till then, hooray for me, who managed to write 500+ more words about some very short fantasy books that are mostly fights.

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