Why did I start reading it? The name.
What is it? The war is over and former soldier Lud Langard has achieved his dream of opening a bakery in a small mining town. Sadly, due to his background and scary demeanour, no one wants to buy his bread so it's suggested he hire a waitress to bring in the customers. A mysterious white-haired girl takes the role giving it her all to help Lud achieve his dream. Plot twist, is she's an Automation with the mind of the AI partner that Lud fought with in the war.
What are the characters like? Characters are okay. I can't say I was particularly drawn in by them.
Anyone particularly cool? Lud is pretty cool. As much as we didn't get to see it the books very good at showing the difference between what he would have felt/done as a soldier and what he does now as a baker. Finding out more about this transition is one of the reasons I would consider the second volume. I also like Jacob cause sass child.
What's the bad news? The bad news is generally the writing feels...unpolished. Normally, I don't feel too comfortable criting the actual writing in a book (if only because I don't read that much and don't feel qualified) but I couldn't ignore it in this one. The reason I couldn't feel very drawn in by the characters is because everything they were feeling was told to me without much embellishment. I felt it could have taken a bit more time to delve deeper into their emotions and told me a bit more about the fuzzy confusion Sven has as she struggles between her programming and emotion, the light happy feelings Lud had when people finally ate his bread. I'm not one for over-describing but the writing needed some colour, some smilies, metaphors. It was very plain. The book also had a problem with info dumping. I'm guilty of this at the start of Moon 1 where I basically explain the world before I set off but this book does it throughout. I don't know how many times it stopped the plot to explain something. There were some that were plot relevant but boring like the political situation left by the war and then some that were completely unnecessary like explaining how car sickness works. The whole thing just needed a bit of polishing before being sent out.
And the good news? Lud himself is a strong main character for reasons stated above. He can take care of himself like the buff man he is but breaks the mould a bit too by being very open with his emotions, many times in the book he bursts into tears from happiness at people loving is bread. The intro to the book is also interesting. It's a monologue from the perspective of our automaton waitress as she talks about how she started to become more human, how an AI developed to assist in combat developed it's own ego, how she began to care for Lud and wanted to help him achieve his dream. It's very well done and really pulled me into the story. It's called back to a lot when we get section's from Sven's thought processes and how she struggles a little to see things like a human rather than a machine.
Would you recommend? Sven and Lud are good characters it's just a shame the whole thing is let down by the writing style for me. If you are interested enough in the premise to give it a go then you might be able to look past it but for me, it's dropped on my priority list and whether I'll get the second volume is questionable.
Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress is only available through bookwalker.
I don't think I've got anything to link to this well, So! Out of all the light novels I've reviewed, here's a link to the one with the most badass main character. Not quite badass like Lud but amazing in her own way Akaoni: Contract with a Vampire