By: Kugane Maruyama
Release Date: (Original) November 8, 2012; (English) September 27, 2016
Publisher: Yen Press
Series: Overlord, Book #2
Every time I go into a bookstore it’s the same. I chant “I just bought books; I will not buy more.” I’m not sure why I bother. It never works. This last trip to the bookstore was my best attempt yet. The last set of books I’d ordered had just arrived at my door that morning and I swore I wasn’t buying more. Then I saw Overlord, Vol. 2: The Dark Warrior sitting on a shelf with some recent manga releases, squee’d, and immediately bought it. Because I’m weak.
And I confused Vol. 3’s US release date with Vol. 2’s, but let’s not talk about that.
Overlord, Vol 2: The Dark Warrior by Kugane Maruyama picks up where Vol 1 leaves off. It’s been a week since Momonga logged into the RPG Yggdrasil for the last time and, along with his guild and its npc’s, was trapped in a world that definitely wasn’t Yggdrasil. Momonga now goes by the name of Ainz Al Gown, once the name of his guild. Trying to find more information on this new world he finds himself in, and trying to build up his own reputation, Ainz goes to the nearby city of E-Rantel, joins the adventurer’s guild, and goes on what would be classified as beginner quests – escort an apothecary as he gathers some plants for potions and kill any low level monsters nearby.
The story has a lot of strengths, but also a few weaknesses. Something prevalent in this book as well as the first volume is pacing issues. The first book of the series saw a great deal of explanation and world building within the book, especially the first half. This book simply has a lot of dialogue. It still feels slow in places.
Near the center of the book there is a chapter simply labeled as ‘Intermission’. It’s a very short section featuring some of what’s going on back at The Great Tomb of Nazarick. When I got there I was, in a way, glad for the break. I’m not positive that’s a good thing.
However, when there is action, it is very well written. Fight scenes are exciting, and well detailed. And the last battle in the book does make up for chapters which felt as if they were just plodding along.
Speaking of plodding along, a few subplots are put on the backburner in this book. Albedo isn’t in it almost at all. When she does make an appearance Albedo quickly grew on my nerves. The ‘she’s completely obsessed with Ainz’ gag just grows wearying, especially when so little personality shines though.
This book saw the introduction of several new characters. Hamusuke is rather endearing. Clementine is at once completely insane and utterly annoying. The members of the Swords of Darkness were also enjoyable and had a decent amount of characterization and backstory related rather quickly. The other character I really liked was Nfirea, a teenager confident in some of his abilities and completely insecure in others, and the grandson of a locally famous apothecary, all captured perfectly by Maruyama.
I must applaud Overlord for is its intricate explanation of the world, more specifically how magic and other traits/skills work. While there are a plethora of ‘trapped in a video game’ books the majority don’t ever go into any real detail. There are vague overviews and sweeping generalizations made, but nothing so complex as what Overlord does. This makes the world feel more real, and, as a gamer, is much easier for me to understand than some other explanations of how magic works in other books.
Also worthy of note is the absolutely beautiful artwork by so-bin. Not only is there a full color image at the start of each chapter, but an additional two page image and a foldout at the beginning of the book.
Overlord Vol 2: The Dark Warrior does leave off on a bit of cliffhanger, more so than the first volume, and I’ll definitely be coming back to see what happens next. While there were some issues, largely with pacing, I still found the book highly enjoyable and would recommend anyone who likes high fantasy, manga, or video game related books.
you like high fantasy, you like the ‘trapped in a video game’ sub-genre
Don't Read If:
you don’t like slow paced books, escort quests make you want to scream (even in book form)