It’s the end of the world, but life still carries on, even for Willem Kmetsch, who was turned to stone but then revived some five hundred-odd years later. Even when civilization crumbles and survivors have the option of rebuilding society however they please, they still opt in for capitalism, so Willem gets slapped with quite the debt for his revival. In order to pay it off, he takes up a job managing a facility with a bunch of girls running amok but learns that just because a girl is cute and adorable doesn’t mean the author won’t do what he can to torture her.
The Floaty World:
Not much tickles my pickle like floating landmasses do, and WorldEnd’s end-of-the-world world gets major points just for taking place on hovering rocks. More points are addressed for how refreshing it is as a fantasy setting. Unlike the common isekai, it’s a world which has a history and an uncertain future and citizens who are just trying to go about their everyday lives rather than joining a guild and battling goblins until their arms fall off. It’s cool as hell and must be, since nobody ever complains about how drafty living in the sky is.
The last thing I expected going in was a harem. It’s mostly in name only, but WorldEnd handles the harem with the finesse of an Olympic gymnast by deconstructing the entire concept using the rules built in to its universe. Compare this to most actual harem, which force half their romances with the finesse of beating a man in the face with a rock.
The Middling Pace:
While the deconstruction was like looking up to the heavens and seeing a rotisserie chicken descend for your consumption, the moment when you actually receive the chicken was a couple hours out. This book is on the slow side, since not much goes on. There’s some drama stirring in the background, but in the foreground is Willem wandering around counting inventory.
While I docked it for its meandering pace, there’s a care and precision put into this story you don’t see in too many other places. The prose is wistful without being overbearing, and it paints a despairing reality the characters still find reasons to smile in. And then to apologize for its slow pitch, it presents me with a chocolate-dipped strawberry by having a final line that made me exclaim, “What the &*$#?!”