Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Saint's Magic Power is Omnipotent
Sei, an office worker in her twenties, had just made it home from another night of overtime when she was enveloped by a bright light and whisked away to another world. Summoned as a “Saint,” a person with the power to end the miasma crisis afflicting the land, she's not happy to be summarily ignored by the prince in favor of the teenage girl who was summoned alongside her. Desperate not to make the situation worse, the officials allow Sei to become a researcher at the royal medicinal herb lab…where it quickly becomes apparent that Sei may in fact be the Saint they were looking for. But Sei's not so sure she wants to be – as her powers grow, will she be able to continue to lead a normal life?
If you've been following recent light novel releases with a female target audience, one of the first things you'll likely notice about Yuka Tachibana's The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent is that it falls somewhere between The Extraordinary, the Ordinary, and SOAP! and The White Cat's Revenge as Plotted from the Dragon King's Lap. Like in the former, its heroine, Sei, is definitely not pleased to have been summoned to another world as a savior and she's also, as in the latter, only one of an unexpectedly large group of summoned people – and almost certainly the one they intended to summon, although assumed otherwise due to her appearance. In Sei's case, she's only one of two (as opposed to Ruri being one of a group), but because the other is a fresh-faced teenage girl to her workworn twenty-something, the Crown Prince witnessing the event immediately decides that young(er) and pretty Aira must be the Saint they've been looking for, and summarily ignores Sei.
This is the point where it becomes apparent that Sei is not like many other giddy isekai heroines. She has no idea what's going on, is royally pissed that she's been ignored, and she wants out now. She immediately tries to storm out of the castle, much to the horror of the rest of the officials, knights, and mages in the room, who themselves are aghast at the prince's actions. Desperate to keep Sei happy (just in case she's the actual saint, rather than Aira), they convince her to stay and promptly misinterpret her succumbing to exhaustion as a sign of frail health rather than a product of Japan's harsh work culture. To top off this series of misunderstandings, Sei assumes they're leaving her completely alone because they also prefer Aira, when they're actually trying to let her recuperate. Eventually Sei manages to get out of the palace proper and find the royal herbal medicine research facility, which is where the story truly begins.
Sei becomes a researcher at the facility in fairly short order, which makes everyone happy – Sei because she has something to do that she's interested in (herbal remedies having been a hobby of hers) and the court because now they have time to sort things out without worrying that they've pissed off their one hope of salvation. We see these two narratives through both regular chapters in Sei's first person narration and “behind the scenes” chapters in the third person, where we're filled in on government issues. Both make clear that the government itself isn't corrupt; it's just that the crown prince is something of a twit and everyone is torn between anger at his actions and genuine fear that he's ruined everything. We also learn that Sei's work at the research facility allows the mages to evaluate her magical skill/potential while Aira's enrollment at the local magic school (arranged by the prince) gives them the same chance, hence why no one objected to Sei's request.
That brings us to one of the few positive uses of “stats” in a fantasy story. While the fact that a level system exists in an otherwise non-game world is still a bit irritating, Sei's ability to see hers lets us know that there's definitely something up with her power. Even Sei realizes that she's seriously over-powered, meaning that she, and not Aira, is probably the Saint, something about which she's torn. On the one hand, it means that Sei is able to learn all sorts of skills. On the other, for the first time in her adult life she's living in a world where people actively want her to not work herself to the breaking point, and that means that she's able to have a happier life than ever before. Would she really want to give that up for a kingdom that, as far as she knows, ignored her arrival?
It's in the details of Sei's new life that the story sells itself. While she still has the work ethic that was, essentially, programmed into her upon entering corporate life in Japan, the people around her all actively encourage her to have a healthy work/life balance. That they care about her makes Sei feel safe getting to know them, and that, in turn, means that she can't ignore that her powers could help the people she's coming to care about. We see this specifically in two scenes where she interacts with wounded knights, and although conflicted, Sei does tend to come down on the side of selflessness, albeit not without considering the consequences. The first of these scenes also leads to the romantic subplot, which is definitely in the “subplot” category; as of this volume, this is a fantasy novel with some romance, not a romance novel in a fantasy setting. Like many shoujo and josei heroines, Sei is on the oblivious side, but not to an unbelievable degree; as someone who has had very limited interpersonal interactions and has never fielded male interest before, she's unaware of what to look for or how to interpret Albert's crush in a way I can assure you from personal experience is completely possible.
While the story itself is good, the writing isn't entirely up to the task of carrying it, which is a shame. There's not a huge sense of time flow, with each chapter opening with a variation of “It's been ___months since I came here,” which is clunky to say the least. Plot and characters do make up for it, but this volume at least is definitely on the lower end of light novel writing. Fortunately the rest of the book makes up for it, and if you're looking for an OP protagonist who isn't a high school boy with loner tendencies at the bottom of the social hierarchy – or just something light and fun – then this is a novel worth giving a chance.
Overall : B
Story : B
Art : B+
+ Solid story, Sei is a nice variation on the OP isekai protagonist. Nice clothing detail in the art, good use of game stat trope.
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