Housekeeping Mage from Another World: Making Your Adventures Feel Like Home!, Vol. 5

By You Fuguruma and Nama. Released in Japan as “Kasei Madoushi no Isekai Seikatsu: Boukenchuu no Kasei Fugyou Uketamawarimasu!” by Ichijinsha Bunko Iris NEO. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Hengtee Lim.

Welcome to Housekeeping Mage from Another World, the Zeno’s Arrow of light novel titles. Every volume we get closer and closer to Alec and Shiori sitting down and talking about their respective pasts, and every volume it continues to not happen. We’re closer than ever here. Shiori has pretty much figured out by researching who Alec really is. Alec has pretty much figured out where Shiori comes from, mainly due to her slipping up on occasion. Indeed, one of the big subplots of this book involves her doing something really impossible for this world. They’re kissing, and petting, and at the end of the book have moved in together. But trauma still holds them back. Shiori is hung up on a) Alec’s status vs. her own, and b) the scars on her limbs from her earlier experiences. Each volume she heals a little more, and we keep hoping to get that final step. Alas, still not quite there.

The bulk of this volume is taken up with a mystery story, though the author makes it a bit easy for us by signposting the guilty party immediately. The whodunnit is not the point. It’s the Nativity Festival, and a singer from another city is coming to give a performance. Unfortunately, someone is apparently trying to sabotage her. Half her orchestra has come down with what appears to be food poisoning, and without a full orchestral sound the performance will not be nearly as impressive. Shiori is asked if she could provide the illusion magic with stories that she’s done at the orphanage to help pep things up. Alec, meanwhile, is asked to help them try to find the saboteur. Is it the singer’s friend, the #2 singer in the city, who might be jealous? Mmmmm… probably not, as when we meet this other singer she’s about as conniving as a ball of yarn.

If I had a nickel for every time Housekeeping Mage from Another World had a major plotline end up being heterosexual when everything before that pointed to it being gay, I’d have two nickels. Which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice. This one is not quite as obvious as the one from the last book, but I was very much wondering if this would be a love triangle with the two singers as a couple, but no, this series is far too heteronormative for that to happen. We’re even given a flashforward to assure readers that everyone is properly married in the future. I will also admit that at times the writer gets a bit too syrupy for my tastes… usually when trying to pour on the heteronormativity, in fact. Other than that, this is a very solid volume of the series, with some fun “mystery” and excellent Alec and Shiori interaction, despite their still not quite opening up fully.

Will things finally come to a head next book? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s definitely worth a read.

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