Hazure Skill: The Guild Member with a Worthless Skill Is Actually a Legendary Assassin, Vol. 2

By Kennoji and KWKM. Released in Japan as “Hazure Skill “Kage ga Usui” o Motsu Guild Shokuin ga, Jitsuha Densetsu no Ansatsusha” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jan Mitsuko Cash.

Oh my God this book is garbage. This is not necessarily me saying the book is bad, though I would not recommend it to anyone except the most ridiculous fan of OP bullshit. But it’s like criticizing a sex comedy for having sexual humor in it. Garbage is what the writer is aiming for. In fact, I’m a bit more impressed with this writer than I was when I read the first in this series a year and a half ago. He also writes The Girl I Saved on the Train Turned Out to Be My Childhood Friend, which is a dead-on high school romcom sort of book. I haven’t read Drugstore in Another World: The Slow Life of a Cheat Pharmacist, but I assume that it’s a fantastic example of a slow life series. And then we have this, which is a fantastic example of “what if the lead was always cool and awesome and all the girls wanted him and the men envy him?”.

The book mostly is a series of “ZOMG Roland is awesum!!1!”, with two larger stories that help to show that in greater detail. The first has the king asking Roland to accompany the Princess (who was party of the demon lord hunting party, and is madly in love with Roland but is one of the few women he hasn’t slept with) to a neighboring kingdom for a marriage interview, which goes about as expected till the prince of that kingdom tries to mind control his way to a marriage deal. In the other larger story, we meet one of Rila’s old demonic allies, Dey, a vampire. She seems nice-ish, and Rila vouches for her, but at the same time adventurers have been disappearing. Is Dey responsible? Or is it that smug-looking noble with a torture basement using (again!) mind control?

I emphasize once more – this book is garbage. I laughed a lot while reading it, but trust me, I was always laughing at it. Roland solves the mind control problem in the first and second instances by simply dispelling it, which works almost instantly but is amazingly anticlimactic. The prince’s aide just seems to sleep with Roland for no real reason other than the book needed another sex scene here. (I say sex scene, but it’s not – this book is full of sex that is elided but not shown, so it’s not even good for horny masturbation material.) We also get (surprise, surprise) slaves! Roland frees them by killing the man who broke their spirits, but the slaves (all hot young women of various races) decide they’re going to stick around and try to get into Roland’s pants. This series really just BOGGLES THE MIND. Oh yes, and he resolves the vampire plot by discovering that the noble with a torture basement is torturing people in the basement, so he decides to torture the noble to show him what’s what.

Roland’s deadpan, somewhat baffled “what is normal” attitude is part of his charm, the other part being he treats women as actual people despite his tendency to fuck everything that moves. The book ends with the guild getting blown up, meaning the next volume will be going to a different kingdom. Bet I know what’s going to happen, though.

Hazure Skill: The Guild Member with a Worthless Skill Is Actually a Legendary Assassin, Vol. 1

By Kennoji and KWKM. Released in Japan as “Hazure Skill “Kage ga Usui” o Motsu Guild Shokuin ga, Jitsuha Densetsu no Ansatsusha” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jan Mitsuko Cash.

This is the fourth of the books that I never read when they initially came out where I had a Twitter poll to see which I should read. It came last. I can see why. That said… all the other books, after finishing them, I was immediately left with a sense of “I don’t want to read any more of this series”. The World of Otome Games Is Tough for Mobs has a protagonist I really hate, Apocalypse Bringer Mynoghra is in a genre I try to avoid, and Min-Maxing My TRPG Build in Another World was so boring I didn’t even do a review. This one, though… if I get another gap in my reading schedule, I might try the next one. It’s in the genre of what I call “McDonald’s” books, i.e. big dumb fun. More to the point, it’s filled with fantasy light novel cliches but mostly avoids the bad ones. Note the mostly.

Roland is part of the party that has been sent to defeat the demon lord. His talent, being unobtrusive, was thought to be completely worthless but makes him a fantastic assassin. He ends up defeating the demon lord himself, though he lets the rest of the party take the credit. Now what he really wants is to retire from his assassin work and live a normal life. The trouble is he has absolutely no idea what normal is. AT ALL. He ends up in a town with an adventurer’s guild, and decides to join… as a guild receptionist. Naturally, as the book goes on everyone else in the cast realizes that he’s far more than he seems. Also, isn’t the demon lord supposed to be dead? Who’s that hot girl who’s hanging out at his house?

I was not kidding when I said this was Big Dumb Fun. It reads like one of those fanfics where the author makes the main character able to do literally anything and have any woman he wants. Unlike a lot of light novels, Roland screws his way through a lot of this book, bedding not only the former demon lord but also the head of the guild and even a passing adventurer. Also, despite his “useless skill”, he’s had so much training that he can literally do almost anything. The reason this is not absolutely unreadable is that Roland is, at heart, a nice person… but he does not ACT like one, as a majority of the OP light novel potatoes do. Roland is brusque and rude, and really does have no idea what normal is, but he not only is incredibly powerful, but he’s good at teaching other people how to maximize THEIR useless skills to become more powerful. This was probably my favorite part of the book, where we see him pinpoint exactly how an adventurer can best be utilized.

So yeah, not going to immediately pick up the next book in this series, but if I get another lull in my reading, I might try the second volume. Which I guess makes it the winner of my poll, even though it came in last.