Life is short, and life is sometimes wasted. This is the exact scenario for one NEET who holes up in his room all day and skips out on his parents’ funeral to jerk off to hentai. Beaten and exiled by his siblings, he drops to an even lower point, right as his life’s cut short when a runaway truck slams him into a wall. However, he’s granted a second chance at life in a world of swords and sorcery and, retaining his memories and regrets of his squandered first life, Rudeus, as he’s now named, resolves to spend his years in this world making it a life worth living.
The Excellent Prologue:
The best prologue I’ve enjoyed in recent memory. The narrative comes to life right before Rudeus loses his life, so there’s no first act foot shuffling, and it’s a blend of synopsis, commentary, and action balanced perfectly so as to provide the reader some food for thought while also moving things along. A prologue this good should be called a black hole because it sucks the reader in and doesn’t let them out.
The Exposition Bog Abutting the Scenic Field:
This being an isekai, blocks of the book are reserved for explaining the world’s magic system, which grinds the pacing to a crawl, but it gives the magic system its own identity, integrating it organically into the world rather than ripping MMORPG mechanics. But when the story frees itself from having to explain that healing magic heals people, summoning magic summons things, and offensive magic calls people fat, ugly bastards, things do speed along. Nothing so spectacular as a goblin invasion of Rudeus’s home village, but the sorts of high points you might see in your own life, like finding out your mother’s pregnant or that that cute boy you saved from bullies is actually a cute girl.
The Narrator Labels:
Here’s something every first-person narrative with multiple narrators should have: clear distinctions of who’s talking. Seriously. It boggles my mind why most series think it’s cute to switch heads midchapter without any indication of having done so until a page and a half later, and it’s such a simple fix, too. The person’s name, and boom. Reader irritation averted.
Some while ago, I dismissed the whole isekai genre as not to my tastes, barring one or two exceptions, but Jobless Reincarnation has reminded me that, yes, even if an entire genre is filled with stagnant, uninspired, smelly crap, that doesn’t mean that a series can’t swim itself free and differentiate itself from its contemporaries as not-crap.