Taking My Reincarnation One Step at a Time: No One Told Me There Would Be Monsters!, Vol. 2

By KAYA and Naru. Released in Japan as “Tensei Shōjo wa Mazu Ippo kara Hajimetai: Mamono ga Iru toka Kiitenai!” by MF Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Amy Osteraas.

This series continues to interest me far more than I expected, possibly as, while it is doing a lot of the usual fantasy tropeland stuff (mana, guilds, etc.) it at least manages to avoid game stats and power levels. Our heroine and her too-young-to-be-a-boyfriend are both quite powerful, but in his case, this has mostly completely ruined his life, and in her case, she’s hiding most of her true strength to avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention. Honestly, in the first half of this book, everyone is sort of prickly, including the heroine. You’d expect this to be a warm, fuzzy series where the townspeople take in this plucky orphan and make sure she has everything she needs, but no, she’s still living in tents or watchtowers – albeit because she wants to, she can afford better – and they’re still content to use her skills on a regular basis. It’s slow life, but until the end of this volume it lacks the sweetness.

Sara is still selling meals at the adventurer’s guild and collecting healing herbs, all while trying to avoid the attention of Ted from the Apothecary Guild, who continues to dislike Allen and Sara intensely (though, as the book goes on, the reader sees he’s more a tsundere than anything else). Unfortunately, Nelly is *still* not back yet. What’s worse, she’ attracted the attention of a knight from the capital, who sees these two extremely powerful orphans sleeping outside the city and gets several ideas in his head. First he says they should come with him to the capital and be his maid and butler – rejected. Then he leans on the town to make things much harder for adventurers sleeping outside the city, in order to clear them off – and, it’s hinted, drive Sara and Allen to him. Fortunately, Nelly is finally able to return, and a whole lot of misunderstandings are cleared up.

I will admit the big flaw with this volume is that a lot of it depends on everyone being somewhat thick. Nelly and Sara’s descriptions of each other do not match the reality of who they really are, so no one recognizes they’re connected. Hell, they don’t even realize Sara is a girl till the other women of the town (who do know right away, of course) tell them outright. No one connects a missing 12-year-old kid desperately being searched for to the powerful 12-year-old kid who showed up in town at exactly the same time. You start to understand why Sara’s general reaction to most of the adults around her is disappointment and irritation. That said, the friendship between her and Allen is a definite highlight of the book, and I do wonder how things will go for them in the third book, especially now that Sara has revealed to all she’s from another world. I suspect she won’t be allowed to live a quiet life in the woods with her wolves for long.

This isn’t terrific, but definitely falls under “better than I expected”, and I’d like to read more. I miss the first book’s running gag, though, and hope it returns.

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