Who Would Like this Series/Volume?
It’s a fantasy rom-com with topics that spell drama but ultimately dissolve in comedy. Don’t expect anything remotely serious, everything in TaiCheat ends in something ridiculous. The setting isn’t what you’d usually expect, you’re basically with the “dark side” that the protagonist tries to turn into the good side. Also, the harem in this series is super pro-active, whether that’s a turn on or not depends on your preferences.
TaiCheat is of average difficulty – if it weren’t for the sh*t ton of names and locations you’ll have to cope with. You might even wanna keep a list if you’re not comfortable with that; I’m not kidding.
Nothing that I know of. It’s also a fairly new series.
NOTE: These summaries can never give you an accurate impression on how the book reads or what the book is really like. It simply gives you the gist of the novel, but don’t judge the book by this alone. It can’t be helped that things read rushed and colorless in a summary. You can get an idea by reading the conclusion and, finally, by reading it yourself!
You probably read the summary and were like, “Yeah, you pasted the summary of all four volumes by accident.” No, I did not. Volume 1 of TaiCheat (gotta love my shorthandles) has a lot going on. Like, a ridiculous lot.
Let’s start with the story. Tsunenobu, a dead-ordinary highschooler gets summoned into another world and becomes the Emperor just because he happens to look like him. That alone is okay, point is though, that the Empire is in decline. Rebels everywhere, outdated legislation, “outdated” politicians. TaiCheat‘s story has a lot of charming points to it. For instance, Tsunenobu – not a bad person himself – finds himself to be the emperor of an empire that basically ran over the continent not too long ago; they were the aggressors, the invaders. So there’s no playing the “We’re the good guys, cheer for us”-card, the empire’s just getting what they had coming. Even legendary, godly forces by the name of “The Seven Heroes of the Goddess” incarnated to bring the evil Empire to its knees. However, the young allies Tsunenobu surrounds himself with aren’t evil by heart either, everyone’s basically just paying for their ancestor’s sins. So one aspect is, that the Empire isn’t necessarily in the right here.
Another funny aspect is that, well, he’s the leader of the Empire. They got lots and lots of ressources, so Tsunenobu doesn’t really struggle in taking action, he’s got money and manpower in abbundance, so he can just overwhelm the legendary heroes with ridiculous meassures like digging several meters deep and wide pitfalls overnight.
The world itself is well-depicted, in my opinion. There are lots of countries involved, you get a good feeling for who they are and what they want, same goes for the different races. Although, there’s one thing I would’ve liked to see more of: While the story takes you to a bunch of different places within the empire, you don’t get an all too well feeling for the capital itself. It’s said to be huge, but you’ll visit more battlefield than streets within said huge capital, you get no idea what’s going on in there. However, it is forgivable considering how much is going on in this novel, a chapter of Tsunenobu roaming the streets with his entourage would’ve been nice, though. Maybe establishing a few landmarks like a pub full of weirdos or something.
It’s also not all just love, peace, and harmony in the Empire. People are prejudiced against women, racism is hinted at, but doesn’t play a major role yet, and the old ministers don’t like to see change, corruption, of course, is abound. All of these topics don’t take a course for the dark, though. They’re tackled by Tsunenobu in a light-hearted, humerous, and “knight in shining armor”-kind of way. For instance, he’s looking for a prime minister by his side, who’s competent and open-minded enough to reform the outdated legislation. He finds himself a candidate in a young, elven girl nicknamed “Bice.” However, her elven diplomat dad doesn’t want elves to get involved with the Empire’s business and the Empire’s geezer ministers want neither reforms nor women in the government. The solution is simply Bice’s mother apparently coaxing Bice’s father into letting her do as she wants and Paola’s granddad revealing he’s got dirt on the geezers (corruption). So now Bice is all over Tsunenobu, problem solved. TaiCheat‘s a comedy, not a drama.
Regarding the characters, Tsunenobu stays flat as a pancake. You know he’s a plain ordinary guy with neither special abilities nor superior intelligence. And that’s it. Personality-wise, he’s a nice guy who wants the Empire to be just and the people to be happy. Well, his “hollowness” does allow for easy immersion, I guess. The other characters do have more depth, but still remain shallow. Bice is a very proud elf, Paola a naive dere-dere loli, Kyala an always sleepy, pokerfaced genius loli, Hilde an overzealous knight who wants to prove her worth. Only Hilde gets some kind of proper background as to why she’s doing what she’s doing. The character with the most depth is probably Masato, the “antagonist.” I say “antagonist” in quotes, since he wants to free the continent from the Empire. Anyway, you get to know the story of his life. Basically, Masato is the kind of character who would be the protagonist in other novels: Smart, strong, charismatic. But this isn’t “other novels,” you’re in for the “Dark Side.”
So the characters, apart from Hilde to a certain extend and Masato, stay shallow. TaiCheat will, however, not lose when it’s about numbers. I didn’t count, but the numbers of characters introduced in volume 1 is easily 20. It’s ridiculously high and hell for someone like me who isn’t good with names. There’s a bunch of heroines, lords, heroes, cooks, captains, you name it. But it’s not just characters, there are also numerous places you have to keep in mind to make sense of what’s happening. All of them are important, so they’re not just fillers to fill in blanks. This also applies to the pacing: There are no fillers. There’s always something of interest happening, it’s amazing, really. No event drags out to fill pages, it’s just the most interesting stuff and the story moves on. It might be ever so slightly overpaced and could’ve used like maybe one of those “roam the streets of the capital” chapters I mentioned above, but that’s hairsplitting.
The perfect fantasy novel, then? No. TaiCheat has one major flaw, and that’s the heroine’s attitude. They’re clinging to Tsunenobu to a ridiculous degree and basically tell him to pop their cherries right here, right now. It really leaves the impression of Tsunenobu having a harem of prostitutes, they’re probably meant to leave a pro-active impression, but the way and extend to which they’re seducing him is ridiculous. In general, the way the heroines behave and their getup look like an ensemble of the author’s wet dreams. A fox-eared (?) loli in nothing but an oversized shirt, a naive dere-dere loli with big boobs… It kinda hurts to see. On top of that, Paola – as a character – makes no sense to me. The former emperor seems to have died from a curse and Paola is his little sister, she’s all over Tsunenobu and full of energy even though she loved her brother and he died, like, weeks ago? Maybe I overlooked something, but this is super fishy.
All in all, TaiCheat is a fantasy rom-com with an interesting approach that turned out to be far more interesting than I originally thought after seeing the overly sexualized harem the author decided to go with. I came looking for copper, and I found gold.