Halfway done with 鹿の王 Vol. 1, here are some thoughts:
– I definitely do like the premise of a fantasy disease/pandemic and the way it’s handled (so far) is just what I’d expect from Nahoko Uehashi: it’s actually based on real-life biology/medicine and explained in a way that actually makes sense instead of just being a plot device
– So far it doesn’t feel like much has happened at all. I’m personally not a big fan of altering the point of view between different characters, especially early on, because whenever I’ve gotten used to one character the change happens. That being said, I can see why it’s being done here and it has a lot of potential, especially considering the two characters come from opposing “sides”.
– While the lore itself is interesting, I really don’t like the way it is presented, i.e. in long, impassionate paragraphs of exposition – for both characters. I actually had to take notes because I couldn’t remember all the names and relationships. I personally much prefer it if information like this is given in context, e.g. conversations between characters. An omniscient narrator doesn’t make it very engaging.
– It feels like a rarity in Japanese fantasy that both main characters are fully-grown men instead of children or young people without much life experience. I personally found it much easier to emphasize with Erin, but I like this change of pace nevertheless.
– As always I do love Uehashi’s language. So far it’s a little bit harder to read than her other works (due to being more lore-heavy), but I appreciate that she doesn’t use modern Japanese and/or English loanwords in a medieval settings like many manga/LN do. This always hurts immersion for me.
Some examples where Uehashi used Japanese words instead of katakana loanwords:
– However I could do without these fantasy metrics that are explained in brackets – really defeats the purpose, especially if it’s just an 1:1 converstion (入っている油はきっちり六マル（約六時間）保ちます。)
– I convert the ebooks into a format that’s more handy for me and remove the furigana in the process, but for Uehashi books it often backfires since she often adds the fantasy pronunciation as furigana.
tl;dr: I enjoy it so far, especially the premise and the world building. I also appreciate the deliberately slow pacing, but the exposition segments are exhausting and I hope there won’t be too many more of them.