Taking My Reincarnation One Step at a Time: No One Told Me There Would Be Monsters!, Vol. 5

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.

It’s always interesting reading a final volume that isn’t. This is NOT the final volume in this series – the 6th book is running on the JNC chapter release schedule as we speak – but if you didn’t know that, and you finished this volume, which does not even have an afterword, I think you’d be pretty convinced that this was the ending. It wraps up almost all the plot points from the previous books – though I still say Sara is a monster attractor. She finally goes to the capital, she accepts the fact that she’s a celebrity and will have to deal with it, she, Allen, Nelly and Chris realize they’re all a family, and she not only gets the prime minister to reject Liam’s marriage proposal but rejects him personally. It does everything but say “our fight has only just begun”. Still, I’m glad there’s more of this, as I like the cast, and I like Sara. She’s just fun to head when she’s snarking.

Everyone is getting invited to the capital, it would seem. Sara has to go for multiple reasons – not only does she have to introduce herself to the King (and deal with Liam’s annoying marriage proposal), but the capital is asking for extra apothecaries due to the dragon migration currently going on – the same thing that tore Nelly away from Sara in the second book. Unfortunately, once Sara gets there she discovers similar problems to previous books – she’s only 14, and looks about 12, and she’s only been an apothecary for two months, though she’s already a prodigy. As such, she’s disregarded and belittled once she’s there, and paired off with the other rookie commoners. Fortunately, Sara is the heroine, so the plot comes to find her anyway.

Sara admits in this book that she is very happy to be an apothecary, but honestly I think her true talents may lie in management. When they wrap things up in the capital, and Sara realizes they’re just going to do the same thing with the same problems next year, she gets very angry. And then it’s explained to her that none of the guilds collaborate with each other at all, or even help out unless asked, and thus no one has given any thought to anything but the immediate problem of that month. Long-term thinking doesn’t happen here, mostly as everyone’s competing for power and prestige. Fortunately, Sara is an Invited, and has some of the most powerful people in the company as her found family, so she is able to call everyone around to the royal table and cut through the bullshit. Though admittedly, she doesn’t recognize the King. As for marriage… there’s a minor hint that Allen is thinking about marriage, but for the most part this book is content on the two of them having a sibling bond, and for now that’s absolutely fine.

So, NOT the end, I guess. I look forward to seeing what happens in the next arc.

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