A long time ago, the Citadel city was destroyed by the Stampede, an horde of monster. Mariella, a young alchemist hid in her home, using a circle of life suspension. Without life sign, she wasn’t found by the monsters, but she woke up 200 years later.
This is one LN that I didn’t know. However, the title was intriguing, because when you think of alchemy, you think of course of the Atelier game series! Barrel, bomb making, and puni! None of that. All my expectations were dashed, as expected. Now, searching for informations; this is a WN turned LN, with 6 volumes published in Japan.
Mariella is the main protagonist, of around 17 years old. As an orphan, she spent most of the time with her alchemy master, only referred so far as master. In the old Citadel City, she was an average alchemist, or so she thinks. She earned just enough to live. But 200 years later, it turns out she is the last alchemist of the region, making her one of the most valuable person as she can use the lost art of alchemy. As she wants a quiet life, she keeps it secret.
Mariella is a kind girl, a cross between a genius and a klutz. It wasn’t easy to figure which one she is. Probably more of the later. When it comes to her self preservation, she is ignorant and have other people care for her, whether she is aware of it or not. Some would act in the shadow, other will just reprimand her for her carelessness and obliviousness.
Sieg is one of them. A dying slave she bought for cheap. Using alchemy, it was easy to heal him, and the slavery magic would prevent him from spilling her secrets. As she is kind, there is not much of slavery displayed, and he becomes more of a companion and body guard. Of course, he is no ordinary character and has a long history of development which result in him being a near dead slave at the beginning of the story, despite his talents.
Now this LN is a slice of life in fantasy settings with magic, alchemy, and labyrinth. As it’s from the point of view of alchemy, that one needs to be well developed with different elements, namely, tools, recipe, ingredients, and technique. The author came up with all of them for his world building, making the alchemy interesting for those who like crafting. Lots of fantasy ingredients and mixture are awaiting the reader, all with more characteristic than just a name you have never heard of. While it’s a slice of life, it’s not all totally rosy. They live in a city with a labyrinth, so there are dangers, whether it’s monsters or humans.
In her day to day life, Mariella will thus do all the work of an alchemist, that is gathering and make potions, while keeping them under cover of making medicines which are less potent. Her common sense from 200 years ago will often result in strange situations where her secret is almost revealed, or just surprise at the culture shock between eras. In a way, it’s like an isekai, except using time skip to create the divergence of world and culture.
Volume one tells her awakening moment, and how she is adapting to the new era. It ends with her setting up a shop. It’s a nice conclusion, but to me it was like a cliffhanger. I wanted to see how she was going to run it.
Comes the second volume where it’s her life at the shop, which becomes more and more a café than an apothecary. Lots of surrounding events will affect her one way and another, and her secrets are always in danger.
Now, the narrator is one interesting point of this LN. It’s the usual third person one, switching point of views, without much flowers but still nice to read. But he is unreliable. Volume one left me figuring Mariella’s alchemy level, and volume two, left me clueless about the resolution. It’s both a good and bad point in my book. Volume 2 had several unforeseen development. I like surprises but I’m not sure if they were hinted or it just totally flew over my head. Only once the plot twist is unravelled, would the narrator describe what truly happened. Are these cheap tricks, or clever narration? I’m shared between the two. This will probably depends on the readers. Otherwise, you can expect the switch of point of view to be used to make cliffhangers and raise tension.
The story is also complimented with an appendix, filled with character descriptions, alchemy recipes, and even an hidden preview to the next volume. This is some really nice bonus, but there are more, which comes in the form of illustrations
Illustrations are very detailed in this LN and numerous. You have the usual black and white with backgrounds like on the cover. Some alchemy tools are used as inserts. The appendix is illustrated. And, the volumes starts with a few manga pages instead of the usual colour illustrations. This make it probably the most illustrated LN I have ever seen.
The alchemist dreams of a new life is a enjoyable ride, just like a cruise on a slightly agitated river of a theme park. World building and its likeable character are the driving force. If you like crafting and slice of life, you will probably like this one. Even if you don’t, it’s very relaxing to read with some twists.
There is a manga, but I haven’t checked it at all.
Author: Usata Nonohara Syosetu