Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
The Saint's Magic Power is Omnipotent
After almost a year in Salutania, Sei's gotten used to her new life and has even come to love her work researching medicinal potions. But everything's contingent upon her hiding the fact that she's actually the Saint, and time to do that seems to be running out. When Yuri Drewes, the Grand Magus, awakens and is ordered to Appraise her, Sei knows that the jig is about up. What will being acknowledged as the Saint mean for Sei? And what will it mean for Aira and the crown prince who's convinced that it's Aira, not Sei, who is the summoned Saint?
Among the most interesting parts of the second novel in The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent are the changes that author Yuka Tachibana discusses making in her afterword. Like many, if not most, light novels being translated these days, this series began as a web novel on the popular Let's Be Novelists! site, and also not unusually there was some heavy editing between the web and the print/official versions. Tachibana is very forthcoming about these changes (Milli-gram, author of I'll Never Set Foot in That House Again!, is the only other writer I've seen be quite so open), and while the differences don't appear to be stark, they do absolutely shape what the trajectory of the series going forward will be.
Most notable is the fact that originally, Tachibana had planned for there to be more romance. Apparently the romantic relationship between Albert and Sei was at first intended to be the major driving force in the story, and while it certainly gets some space here (albeit not as much as in the first novel), it takes a backseat to the fantasy plotline and the introduction of Yuri Drewes, the Grand Magus. While he doesn't entirely come across as a rival for Sei (who, let's face it, barely registers that Albert is interested in her romantically), he definitely gets in Albert's way. But more importantly, the sidelining of the romance storyline forces the question of whether Sei or Aira is the Saint to the fore, with Sei having some very complicated feelings about it and Aira never questioning her identity, although perhaps she ought to.
That Aira gets a point of view chapter is probably the most important piece of this book. Previously all we knew about her was seen through Sei's eyes when they were first summoned, followed by little bits and pieces given to us by Liz, who attends school with her and found her somewhat trying. But the second behind-the-scenes story (where the narration switches to third person and deals with characters besides Sei in situations she's not privy to) takes us back to the beginning and follows Aira for thirty pages. From this we learn that Crown Prince Kyle has largely been making her ignorant of the situation surrounding her summoning (in part because he's willfully ignorant himself) and allowing his obsession with her to alienate the girls at school. Since she's not only a modern Japanese teen not raised to segregate from the opposite sex, but also the only child of parents who treated her more like a doll to be dressed up and taken out than a human being, Aira has no way of knowing what she's doing wrong or why the girls are all mad at her. With Kyle mostly rebuffing Liz's attempts to help Aira, the situation isn't going to get any better until Sei is revealed to be the true Saint and Kyle is forced to acknowledge that.
This does give the story more reason to force Sei's hand, because as little as she wants the attention that being acknowledged as the Saint will bring, she also likes Liz and understands that something is really wrong with the way things are going around Aira. The fact that Sei is basically a nice person also makes her realize that she can't just keep hiding; while she doesn't love the fact that both the Second and Third Knight Orders essentially worship her as a goddess, she does like that she can help them and prevent loss of life and limb. She still rejects political machinations – the king twice offers her lands and titles, which she soundly rejects before telling him he can arrange for what amount to Salutania Lessons instead – but she knows that things are going to have to change, whether she reveals her stats to Yuri or not.
That brings us to the other very interesting bit of information in Tachibana's afterword. Apparently, due to the preponderance of otome game villainess isekai novels, there was some discussion of punishing both Aira and Kyle for Kyle's transgressions, treating Aira as a willing participant in his plans to claim that she, and she alone, was the Saint. By choosing not to do that (although no one gets off scot-free), Tachibana allows Aira to become a character in her own right (albeit a pretty minor one), and not just another run-of-the-mill villainess. After all, it isn't her fault Kyle did what he did, and while she could have questioned him, the fact is that she's much younger than Sei, still under her parents' guardianship, and really doesn't have the tools to cope with being summoned the same way Sei as a working adult can. In any other series, Aira would be the heroine, and punishing her wouldn't have made her more of a trope-breaker, it just would have made her one-dimensional while making the writing feel sophomoric.
Not that there's a vast improvement in the writing in this volume compared with the first novel. It is better – there's less reliance on the stat trope and Tachibana seems to be finding her feet with the way Sei's magic functions as well as the cause of the miasma – but this is still on the clunkier side of the light novel spectrum. More entertainingly, there's a bit more Yiddish used in the translation than we typically see, which made me happy, although it might not work for everyone.
The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent is still not quite at the level it needs to be truly good, but it's still improving and is a fun read. Sei's adjusting to her new life, Albert's clearly willing to do whatever he can to help (and woo her), and she's surrounded herself with a job she likes and people who care about her. She may not be thrilled with being summoned, but she's winning the isekai lottery in a lot of ways, and her projected trip into the countryside should be fun to read about next time.
Overall : B
Story : B
Art : B+
+ Art still has nice details, giving us Aira's point of view helps. Interesting afterword.
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