This LN’s boredom-inducing powers are omnipotent.
Sei is an overworked salarywoman who stumbles home late from work one day only to be whisked away to another world once she’s made it through her own front door. The country of Salutania is struggling with a growing monster problem, made all the more acute by the failure of their would-be savior to show up. Luckily, they do know an old summoning ritual, although they manage to scoop up two people instead of one, and no one is sure which one is the Saint they’ve been seeking. But, Sei’s fellow summonee, Aira, catches the crown prince’s eye, leaving Sei to figure out her own way in the world. Thus it is that Sei begins working at the Research Institute of Medicinal Flora, where she begins to quietly produce revolutionary potions and cosmetics, as well as introducing her new home to the magic of cooking using… herbs.
I’m going to keep this a bit short given the sense of boredom it induced which I noted above. A decent chunk of time is spent mulling and explaining stats, as while this isn’t a video game world, it nevertheless utilizes mechanics from RPGs, and a lot of the remaining time is spent on making potions. The latter did not necessarily have to be dull, as there are plenty of LNs which focus on crafting which aren’t dull (Ascendance of a Bookworm being the best example), but it is here. Partly this is because the whole time one has a strong sense that Sei’s overpowered and should be out bashing monsters instead, and what we’re watching in the meantime is a lot of faffing about. The sense that three-quarters of the book is for the sake of killing time sinks the entire venture, at least for me. It doesn’t help that neither Sei nor the other characters are terribly interesting, either.
In addition to being fairly bored, I found the steady rumble of sexism throughout irksome. Sei being initially overlooked because she seems plain and worn out doesn’t work as a commentary on the tendency to overlook women deemed insufficiently attractive when so much time is spent after in noting that Sei looks prettier after a few months in Salutania, and that she’s even been able to ditch her glasses. The narrative does try to position Sei’s growing popularity among the nearly all-male cast (they’re all hot, by the way; I suppose I’ll give the book some credit in that it isn’t shy about flat-out saying that) as tying in with Sei being decent and kind-hearted, but, again, no one gave her a second thought when she showed up and wasn’t cute, which seems to indicate that her niceness is secondary to her looks when it comes to drawing men to her.
And, by the way, this *is* another one of those isekai worlds that are way more sexist than Japanese society is… which is a bit of a drag, as is always the case. Is it really so difficult to imagine a fantasy world for a female audience which is MORE equitable than our own societies?
Continuing in this sort of key… there are a surprising number of sloppy moments for this as a release, mostly to do with word choice with a smattering of odd punctuation. None of them are huge mistakes (although one did make a paragraph very confusing on the first and second read-throughs), but they are suprising from a company that has been so reliable over the years when it comes to quality of releases. Between that and the delay of Roll Over and Die LN Vol. 1, which was slated for release same day as this LN, I am a little worried that Seven Seas might be licensing more than they can ably handle at the moment.
As much as I always like to see more LNs centered around female leads, this is not one I can recommend much. It is very light fare, so it may work well for you if you’re seeking something a bit lighter as, say, afterwork decompression reading. It may also have worked better had I read it over a lengthier amount of time, as I read the entire thing across an evening and a morning, which likely made its weak points much more obvious. Early on I thought it was probably a title which would work better for a younger audience, middle school-aged or so, but the attention given over to the need for women to have skincare routines makes me uneasy about suggesting placing it in the hands of a twelve year old.