I admit that I picked up this book purely because of the title. I was expecting something a little goofy, and that’s what I got, but not in the way I expected.
The action takes place in Orario, an area defined mostly by the existence of The Labrynth, what seems to be a cave of who-knows-how-many-levels filled with monsters. Adventurers come to town to slay the monsters and earn both reputation and money. Also in the case of the hero, Bell Cranell, the admiration of girls. The more a hero fights, the more experience he or she gains which results in increasing skill, physical, and magical levels. Heroes are usually members of a Familia, a group of people who work for a god. The gods, primarily of Norse or Greco-Roman origin, decided to come to the world of humans for some entertainment and many decided to stay. A god keeps the records (ie-Falna, aka ability status) of each adventurer inscribed on their backs in magic symbols.
To me, this reeks of video game, not always in a good way. The fights also are video-game-esque, told through a first person perspective, and use mostly sound effects rather than words. For example:
Warning bells are going off in my head. It’s time to go.
It’s moving again!
It bends it’s knees, turning its body right toward me and the goddess!
Here comes a massive fist! I have to move!
The other genre that this novel looks to be leaning on heavily is the harem romance, with one clueless male protagonist getting attention from a variety of female characters, except of course, the one he wants, who is the talented adventurer Aiz Wallenstein. Bell is the sole member of Familia Hestia (and Hestia naturally has a crush on him), while Aiz is a member of Familia Loki, a much more powerful and successful organization.
The one and only thing that saves this story from outright cliché status is that several of the deities, including Hephaistos and Loki, are not exact matches for their traditional attributes. Hephaistos is a smith, but also happens to be a lady. Loki is also female, and less a trickster than a tomboy who still gets a little sensitive comparing her bust size to other, better endowed women. She isn’t the only one fascinated with boobs either; they seem very much a main feature of many of the female characters. Freya is the expected superlatively lovely goddess of beauty but has an unexpected evil streak which drives the climactic scene towards the end.
I admit I’m torn with this one. The gender-bending of some of the recognizable gods has interesting potential, but the video-game style action and obvious love polygon set up is not appealing on account of the overly mundane and predictable plot and characterization of a lot of the key individuals and relationships.