It’s been half a month (or half a year if you believe the Amazon blurb) since Chtholly and a couple of her pals went off to fight a kaiju, and when they have yet to come back, Willem starts coming to the conclusion that promising to survive a battle you’re not expected to survive might not guarantee actual survival. But life moves on, so he takes another of the girls to get checked up on so that someday she, too, can make shaky promises that are easier said than kept.
The Misleading Synopsis:
Before I start any book, the first thing I like to do is read the blurb on the back so that I know what I can look forward to, but this volume’s blurb is a mischievous one. The hook of the last line is that the kaiju face-off was a total bust and that the girls are nowhere to be found. But in the book itself, the battle is a success—though they have to dump an island in the process—and the girls show up five minutes later. I don’t know where this volume gets off trying to be cheeky like this, but it had me thinking that Willem was gonna have to go on a search & rescue mission or take up poetry to lament his anxieties.
A Tale of Two Tales:
Rather than have an overarching arc, the story this round is split into two shorts, the first centering on Willem helping a foxy mama deal with local rapscallions and the second reuniting him with some old buddies of his. The first story feels more inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but they both introduce interesting characters, particularly the second story, which shows what an amusing relationship Willem had with his human friends before the end of the world was a thing. Best of all, splitting the narrative like this alleviates the car-with-square-wheels pacing problems of the debut volume.
The Deconstruction Deconstructed:
My favorite tidbit from the first volume had to be its deconstruction of the harem, like it was spitting on the work of fanciful harem authors, and I loved it for that. Then comes this volume to ruin it for me. To be fair, Willem’s explanation on why all the Leprechauns fell in love with him and took the forms they did was just conjecture, but it undermines a character’s contribution to the worldbuilding when someone else comes along and says, “Actually, we make things that way just ’cause.”
While the reassembled deconstruction was a sour note, this book was still darn good. It’s just a shame that after the brilliance that was the first volume’s final line, what we get this time is something so mundane I wonder if the author wrote the last page while staring at a dinner plate.