Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside, Vol. 11

By Zappon and Yasumo. Released in Japan as “Shin no Nakama ja Nai to Yuusha no Party wo Oidasaretanode, Henkyou de Slow Life Surukoto ni Shimashita” by Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Dale DeLucia.

I did not intentionally line up two books in a row where the plot is “the author tries to write a light and fluffy vacation volume, but cannot help hammering on the more serious plot”, it just turned out that way. So yes, if you read Seven Spellblades and this series, you may want to stick something else in between them. As for the book itself, it’s quite good, continuing to hammer on the main themes of this series (destiny vs. free will, fighting god, etc.) while also trying to let our heroes get in some swimming and beach volleyball. That said, when you have to remind yourself to make happy memories, there’s something going wrong, and it’s arrived in the form of the latest antagonist, who is (what a surprise) on a mission from God. The end of the series has been announced in Japan, but I think that Red and Rit will be battling till the end.

It’s the height of summer, and Zoltan is far too hot, meaning no one is shopping for apothecary items. Perfect time to take a vacation, right? They can also invite along Tanta, who we just discovered has the blessing of the Cardinal, which definitely gets in the way of following in his parents’ footsteps. Heading out to a remote island, they get in some swimming (and fighting sharks), some boat building, some fishing, and some barbecue. Unfortunately, also on the island is an ascetic woman who has blinded herself to better serve her faith for God, and she’s clearly very suspicious, and very eager to talk to Tanta. Can he really achieve his dream of being a carpenter? Or is he going to have to be indoctrinated by the Church, (and, it’s implied, have to fight Ruti and Red)?

There’s a lot of good stuff here. The series themes are handled very well, with some good discussion of how to work with your blessing without letting it control you, and Eremite is seen as someone whose family couldn’t do that, and she is course correcting far too much in the other direction. She makes a very good one-book antagonist, though she may come back. Tanta is the real winner here, being forced to use his skill points for healing (which puts him on the fast track to the Church, not the house building), but his response about what he thought when he saw the family in that collapsed house is wonderful. As for the “little things” in the series, Red and Rit are cute and flirty, Ruti is badass, Mister Crawly Wawly is fantastic, and there is, thankfully, zero incest subtext this time around.

There’s a prologue I skipped over, and now that we know we’re in the final third I’m sure it will be relevant in future books. For now, though, I’m still quite pleased with this slow life series that, like most of them, struggles for every relaxing moment.

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