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Book Review: Overlord, Vol 3 by Kugana Maruyama

Overlord, Vol 3     

Author: Kugane Maruyama

Publisher: Yen On

American release date:  January 31, 2017

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/Fantasy Adventure /288 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ainz quickly realizes there is a lot he needs to learn about this world he finds himself in. Not everything is exactly the same as in Yggdrasil. It’s important that he learn about the differences,  to know what or who else is out there, what their strength is and what their intentions are. Also, are any of his fellow guild members possibly out there? He sends out Sebas and Solution and Shalltear on a mission – “capture humans who can use magic or martial arts, but aim for people whose disappearance won’t be an issue, like criminals.”

Capturing a very gullible fish, Shalltear learns the whereabouts of a bandits’ hideout and sends the others back to Nazarick, and moves forward, accompanied by two of her vampire brides. When she arrives at the hideout, everything seems to be straight forward…until it isn’t. And something that should not be possible happens…

Back in Nazarick, Ainz sees to his dismay that on the list of NPCs, Shalltear’s name has gone from white to black. This could mean rebellion, or it could mean mind control. But how can that even be? Why would Shalltear, always so devoted to him, rebel? But conversely, who could possibly control her mind? He has to find out.

Accompanied by Albedo, Ainz returns to E-Rantel at the request of an adventurer’s guild. Seems they have a bit of a vampire problem. Ainz promises to handle the problem himself, since he already knows what is afood, but one of the members, who is clearly jealous of AInz, wants to accompany him. Ainz warns him to come at his own peril. Meanwhile Albedo has found Shalltear, who has indeed been mind-controlled and is now dangerous to Ainz and Nazarick.

This volume is primarily centered on Shalltear’s involuntary rebellion, and the inevitable battle between Ainz and Shalltear – Player vs NPC. Ainz will have to use every skill he knows to win against such a strong being as Shalltear. He has no choice. The battle itself is amazing, watching all the various skills displayed on both sides. Who will win? That would be a spoiler.

Great volume, looking forward to more.

Book Review: Overlord, Vol 2 by Kugane Maruyama

Overlord, Vol 2     

Author: Kugane Maruyama

Publisher: Yen On

American release date:  September 27, 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/Fantasy Adventure /256 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Ainz is having issues he never dreamed of when he was playing Yggdrasil! Two beautiful women are at war with one another…over him! Whodathunkit? Two of his NPCs –  Albedo and Shalltear –  are ready to fight one another to win his love. What’s a man to do? Except, he isn’t a man, not anymore. He’s an undead lich king. Man, life is complicated.

He decides he needs more information about this new world he finds himself in, more than he has received so far. Actually, he really needs to see things for himself. He sets out with one of the Pleiades warriors, Naberal, and presents himself as an adventurer named Momon, and her name is Nabe. But it’s hard to get her to keep from calling him my lord. Guess he’ll have to work on that. Heading to the nearby city of E-Rantel, they first rent rooms at an inn, where Ainz has to deal with a troublemaker, but in doing so he accidentally breaks a young woman’s potion. She is less than thrilled with him and lets him know about it, so he gives her one of his Minor Healing potions to make them even. Little does he know….

Next they seek out the Adventurers Guild, from which they can find offers of employment and make some money as they explore the land. The trouble is that, while Ainz can speak the language, he cannot read it, never having acquired the skill to do so. In all fairness, he never thought he would need it. The jobs are posted on a board, according to skill level required. As a newbie, Ainz is at copper level, but he has no idea which jobs he would qualify for and he can’t let them see that he can’t read. So he grabs one job request and takes it to the receptionist, who disdainfully tells him that is mythril level while he is merely copper. He asks her for the highest job he can do, but before she can respond, he receives an offer from a group of adventurers who ask if he would like to join them. This doesn’t sound too bad, so Ainz agrees.

They are known as the Swords of Darkness, and their leader, who looks like a warrior, is Peter. The other members include ranger Lukrut Volve, Spell Master Ninya and Druid Dyne Woodwonder.  Lukrut seems inordinately curious about the relationship between Momon and Nabe, which mystifies him. But once he explains that they are friends, the truth is revealed when Lukrut makes a declaration of love for the girl! She shuts him down immediately, but he doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of the word no. Luckily, she has no problem with telling him how little she thinks of him.

Just when it seems things are settled with these adventurers, Momon receives a personal request for his services! A young man named Nfirea, a well-known apothecary in the village, wants him to accompany him while he gathers herbs in a dangerous area. But Ainz is reluctant to simply abandon his new companions, even though they say they understand. He finds a way to combine the two requests that is mutually beneficial to all. And off they go!

Meanwhile, there are sinister goings-on beneath the cemetery of E-Rantel. Something’s going to happen, and it isn’t going to be good!

I am totally loving this series! It’s like being inside an MMORPG except for real! I love Momonga/Ainz! He is coping with an unusual situation rather well, I think, and adjusting to being a skeleton instead of a man. The rivalry between Albedo and Shalltear is hilarious, but I admit to being Team Albedo. Nabe proves herself to be a good companion for this first adventure, and the apothecary Nfirea is cute! I’m looking forward to the next volume!

 

Book Review: Overlord, Vol 1 by Kugane Maruyama

Overlord, Vol 1   

Author: Kugane Maruyama

Publisher: Yen On

American release date:  May 24, 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/Fantasy Adventure /256 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Yggdrasil  has been a very popular multi-player online game for a dozen years. But nothing lasts forever, players’ tastes change, and all good things must come to an end. So it is with this particular MMORPG. One of the game’s  guilds in particular, Ainz Ooal Gown, is composed of very dedicated players, led by the Overlord Momonga. But the time has come for the game to end, and out of the 41 members of the guild, only a handful  remain. Of these, only two show up to the Tomb of Nazarick to witness the end of their beloved game—the Momonga player and his friend. But his friend is very tired from working hard and even he doesn’t stay the course, so Momonga finds himself alone, waiting for the countdown that will signal the end of Yggdrasil.

As Momonga waits for the end, he remembers the other guild members, and the accomplishments of the guild, with justifiable pride. Each of them has created the various NPCs that populate the tomb and designed their personalities. Momonga isn’t happy with what the creator of the NPC Albedo did, though, making her into a veritable bitch. So he does something he normally wouldn’t do, and goes into the program and changes her. Just for fun, he adds the line that will come back to haunt him… he says she is in love with Momonga. What the heck, the game is going out in a few minutes anyway.

Just before the game is scheduled to wink out of existence, though,something happens, something inexplicable.  Momonga first realizes it when he notices his senses actually working in this place, for example he can smell things around him, something he could never do before. And the NPCs… are actually responding with lines that are certainly not pre-programmed, and moving in ways they previously had not been able to. And why is Albedo looking at him so oddly? Almost as if she’s in love with him or something. What has happened here?

Before I read this, I started watching the anime, unaware that the books existed. But then the first volume showed up on my daughter’s wish list, so I bought it for her and borrowed a copy from the library for myself. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised at what I read. Reading the novel helps me make sense out of what is happening in the anime. In fact, I think I’ll start the anime again after reading a couple more books.

As a gamer myself, this is a very fun read, one that I am greatly enjoying. Momonga finds himself living inside the game, except it’s not a game, it’s a real world. Good thing he worked so hard on his character all this time, because Momonga is a force to be reckoned with! Kugane Maruyama is taking us on a fascinating ride into an MMORPG, but the difference is everything is real, magic exists, and the sorts of things players do in a game are the same things these people do here. I love how devoted and unabashedly lovesick Albedo is over Momonga, despite the fact that he is literally a skeleton, albeit a very powerful one.

The book contains some fabulous color drawings as well, done by the illustrator so-bin. I loved them! I also love how Momonga is quickly adapting to this new life in which he neither eats nor drinks nor breathes… nor anything else associated with his prior human life. His first order of business is to have someone scout outside and find out if they are still in the area in which the guild was located… or somewhere else. Also, he decides to meet with his staff, ie his NPCs, and see what’s up with them as well as give them their orders.

A new world has just begun and Momonga has to figure out how to live in it, since he has no idea if he can even get back to the real world… assuming he wants to.