I just finished reading the Japanese light novel 'I Became the Secretary of a Hero!'
Why did I start reading it?
The last month or so had been a been a bit stressful, so I wanted to read something light-hearted. Usually, this isn't the kind of book I reach for but for once I let my girly side pick and I ended up with this fluffy fantasy.
What is it?
Aki, an office worker from Japan, comes home after a long day to find her younger sister with a strange man who calls himself the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord whisks her little sister away and in an in an effort to get her back Aki leaps into a portal taking her to an unknown world where she ends up partying with a hero in order to get her sister back.
What are the characters like?
I loved the characters in this book. Some more than others I'll admit but there was no one I hated.
Anyone in particular?
Well, three in particular. Elias, Leo and Johann are all great characters. The three of them have a great dynamic not only when they are all together but in pairs too. All the brotherly love thrown around makes me feel warm inside even if, like the silly bashful boys they are, we only get to know how much they care for each other when we have a bit from their point of view. I just want to slap them and tell them to be honest with each other.
Out of all of them though, shockingly, my favourite isn't the white haired anime boy. Even when Johann is my favourite type of white haired anime boy, small with a large weight on his shoulders, Leo came out top for me. He's just so...big brother. At a first glance he comes off as childish and aloof but it's easy to tell its a front and he cares more than anyone, worries more than anyone. He brings a bit of fun to every scene he's in.
What's the bad news?
Okay so, the bad news is this first volume is mostly world building. I know that it was bound to happen with a whole new world and all but I did feel like I was in the tutorial of a game sometimes. Very tell don't show but that's a weakness of a lot of light novels. After reading the Afterward from the author though I can kinda see why they did it that way. They just wanted to explain stuff then have fun which is a choice I made in Moon Girl 1 so I don't really have a critical foot to stand on here...
I got a little irritated by the romance but I guess that's because I've always had little patience for it. I'll admit Elias and Aki are pretty darn cute but I don't know how many times I had to read Aki berating herself for falling for him. That she wasn't good enough, that she'd get in the way of his destiny etc. I mean it was sad the first few times but it got a bit repetitive. Again though, that might just be me and my lack of patience.
Also it ends at a bit of an odd time. Even for a first volume the ending felt a bit strange. There was no climax, it just felt like the end of a chapter rather than the end of a book. I was a little disappointed, especially since I can't find a date for the second volume yet.
What's the good news?
I love these boys. I love that the book took a couple of chapters away from Aki to let Elias, Leo and Johann have a bit of time to show what they are thinking and how they feel about the situation. I think it really helped solidify their characters and their relationships.
I also like that it's starting to subvert some of the typical things you would expect. Obviously, I can't say much but I was particularly surprised, I think it was about halfway through when Johann came across someone. I didn't expect that at all in the first volume and already it's making waves in what should be a straightforward adventure.
Lastly, as much as I complained about the world building some of it is kind of interesting. The contents and how they are put together. That there is a country that could probably take over the world but is too busy researching the best way to throw a fire ball. There's been a lot of thought put into the building of the adventures guild and how it tries to protect clients and adventures.
Would you recommend?
Want a light-hearted, fluffy fantasy adventure? Yep. It was a nice read to just forget the world for a while, exactly what I needed.
You can grab your copy of 'I Became the Secretary of a Hero!' here!