Sol Press USA, under its “Panty Press” publishing line, announced what it claimed to be the first “h-novel” to ever have an official English release: “Busy Wizard: This Warlock Just Wants to Provide for his Wives!” The voracity of this novel being the first of its kind stateside is debatable, but the fact remains that a light novel with adult content being properly translated into English and given a wide distribution is almost unheard of. A fantasy adventure harem story seems like a solid place to test the waters, and the author’s rising popularity with the source material means there’s a lot to work with and translate. It helps that, prior to this official adaptation, there was a cult following around a fan translation.
This is a solid book, but reasonable expectations need to be set going in. This isn’t a great adventure title. In fact, all of the fantasy adventure is just dressing for the adult situations that are prominent in the book. Or, to put it lightly, hot damn there’s a lot of sex.
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The setup is simple enough. Christophe was raised deep in the mountains by an old man who taught him the way of the dark arts, and by hunters who taught him the way of the world. When he turns 18, he decides to head to the capital to make a name for himself. Along the way, he comes across a slave girl being horribly mistreated by her owner. Surprise – she’s cursed, and also beautiful, so after rescuing her he falls instantly in love with her and is determined to make her his bride. They have a lot of sex. Eventually they make it to the town where there’s a temple, and the two of them get the curse removed. Also the Goddess of Law shows up and says “Surprise! You’re the hero!” This gets the attention of another woman, who is the eldest daughter of the family that runs all the brothels. Turns out she and the first wife know each other as childhood friends; she quickly becomes the main character’s concubine, and the three of them have a lot of sex. The main character wants to prove his worth and takes on a couple of jobs, ultimately meeting up with a wolf-girl princess who is given to the main character as a sort of prize for defeating a bunch of ants. You’ll never guess what she and the main character do (hint: have sex.)
This book has a lot of sex. At their best, these scenes are plentiful and there’s some variety to them. At their worse, they all tend to incorporate some of the worst stereotypes found in this sort of Japanese fiction. Expect a lot of crying out and demanding to be made pregnant and orgasming at the same time. The book also takes the prize for having the most hilarious line in any raunchy book I’ve read this year:
That’s right kids – in this world, male ejaculate can cause third degree burns. Everyone is spurting out McDonald’s coffee over here.
The world building, at times, is intriguing. But it always takes a back seat to all the sex. The action scenes are almost non-existent; the main character is exceptionally overpowered, and the book makes it rather clear that these scenes aren’t its bread and butter. This is rather frustrating, especially coming on the heels of western authors who are able to finely balance both their fights and their romance.
The book also has this very frustrating obsession with jumping from character perspective to character perspective, sometimes several times in a single chapter. The book usually lets the reader know with a sub-header whose perspective things are in, but especially in the second chapter it feels rather dizzying jumping between five different character views.
Strangely, the story proper ends about 90% into the book, on a cliffhanger. The rest of the book is filled with a strange prologue, following the crown prince, suggesting that he was originally from “our world,” died, and now living in the world of a video game. The Goddess of Death wants him to keep from killing thousands, as he normally would have; he reforms his life, and also uses the knowledge from his previous life to bring over such inventions as bathing suits. It’s an unusual tale, to be sure, but I personally feel that the tone set by this “bonus chapter” kind of detracts from what the main story was going for.
It will be interesting to see how this series progresses. The original story is ongoing in Japanese, and Sol Press has an awful reputation for dropping books mid-run (see how they handled Battle Divas). This story has a lot going for it. It’s simply important to realize that the author has put the majority of his focus on the intimate scenes, and everything else takes a back seat.