Books: How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
July 11, 2022 · 0 comments
By Shelley Pallis.
And we’re off again, sucked into the world of an online game, and forced to remain there, sorry-not-sorry to discover that we have all sorts of super-powers in this other world, and secretly enjoying it…. At least for a while, in How Not to Summon a Demon Lord by Yukiya Murasaki.
This time, the MMORPG is Cross Reverie, in which sullen Japanese incel Takuma Sakamoto has invested so much time and effort that he is possibly the most powerful player in the world. He has created his own intricate, deadly dungeon, and is known far and white as “the Demon Lord”. He takes particular pleasure in taking down player-couples who even purchase the in-game “wedding ring” – an artefact that carries no power at all except the power to wind him up.
Oh, forget all that, it’s just the prologue, because guess what? Then he wakes up and he’s been summoned. An elf girl (who looks actionably like Lodoss War’s Deedlit) and a cat girl have used their magic powers in their own world, which seems to be that of his game, and summoned him in the mistaken belief that he is actually a demon lord. And they have rather stupidly banked on one of their own spells being able to bind him to their will. But it turns out that Sakamoto arrives in the game-world looking like his character, and with all the inventory and powers that he spent so many gaming years acquiring. So now they are his magical slaves, and he somehow trapped in the world of the game he loves so much.
Sakamoto has a wryly cynical attitude towards the game world, in the sense that he was one of those players who only concentrated on the important stuff. He had no time for little fripperies and adornments (like the Wedding Ring) that didn’t actually help him gain any power. And he seems genuinely surprised by the fact that he is not the unspecifically ugly person he was when he left Earth, but is now a savagely handsome young man.
Not unlike the hero of Overlord, we find ourselves in the company of a player who initially luxuriates in being able to experience his game-world for real, although not unlike Infinite Dendrogram, he has spent so long studying its rules and loopholes that he is a frightfully boring conversationalist. Instead of getting on with the plot, he witters incessantly about wandering monsters and NPC and the likely travel time to the next location on the map. In a more interesting aside, he also has to try to work out how to cast spells in his new physical form, whereas in the past he just had to press a button or move a cursor.
So now, here he is, in a game-world vaguely modelled on the war between angels and demons, although contemporary dungeon bashers are the human descendants of the angels, fighting to stop evil rivals from resurrecting the actual Demon Lord. Before long, Sakamoto and his two newly acquired slave girls are reluctantly going through the motions of dungeon quests, and trying to save the world, grumbling all the while at what a treadmill it is – the adventurers’ guild throws someone out if they don’t bring back more a minimum of 10,000 friths a month, which soon takes the fun out of adventuring for Sakamoto.
Although I do wonder if he even knows what fun is. Like many a light-novel adventurer, he is mildly embarrassed at the discovery that his game world is a real place, and paralysed with anxiety when he realises that he has inadvertently become the owner of two young girls. So it’s hardly Tarnsman of Gor, more like Mr Bean in Elfland, bumbling his way around adventures that he is starting to wish were not quite as real as they turned out to be.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord by Yukiya Murasaki is published by J-Novel Club and available in the UK from Anime Limited.