I totally only read this book to finish the story; I’d kind of given up on The Alchemist Who Survived Now Dreams of a Quiet City Life but I wanted to see how the main group of heroes would save the day as they inevitably would (and did). One of the only reasons this conclusion to the question of will they be bale to defeat the Labyrinth and how isn’t a bad finish is because there’s not much of either Mariela or Sieg. Throughout the series Mariela is supposedly this amazing alchemist with powers far beyond what anyone in the current time and places could imagine, but she’s an airhead with very little personality. As Sieg himself points out, she genuinely is pretty unintelligent; really, the only reason Mariella is of any interest to anyone is because thanks to her memory and education in a time when alchemy was well known and common, and she had a powerful teacher who herself has very little to recommend her except buckets of magical power, Mariela is the only alchemist who has enough knowledge and connections to the magical power necessary for advanced alchemy. Had Mariela not been born a few centuries earlier and gotten stuck in magical suspended animation, she’d be virtually invisible to most everyone in the story.
Only in volume 5 of the light novel series does this become recognizable by the characters in the story. The actual defeating of the Labyrinth is done by General Leonhardt and some of the Black Iron Freight Corps which makes sense given that they’re warriors, but the final stages of the dungeon and the monsters are vague and the plot basically gives up for a while at that point. The play that gets made of the final story apparently takes what happens and gives it a tragic twist that is both true but only in terms of what happened, not necessarily what it meant to those involved. Basically, Mariela pulls off a super potion that has some very consequential side effects, which was a known thing before everyone drank it.
Even the part about saving Endalsia (the spirit, not the country, but that too in a way) seems like a rushed add on; it’s not like it isn’t obvious what would happen, really just a matter of when and how. The how wasn’t that interesting or suspenseful either, mostly because neither Mariela nor Freya have much depth or character. In the end, everyone is basically normalized in a power loss that means the whole world including them is about to see how well everyone can do without being super-powered. Do I care about this? Not really. If no one has much personality anyways, what’s the point?
Do I care at all about the probably continuation and the search for where Freya might have disappeared to after giving Mariela all her alchemical power, and maybe figuring out what her game was the whole time? Nope.