More below the fold.
In fact, this is a theme throughout this two-book (so far) series: at no time is he ever OP…except for one thing. His work ethic is dedicated to the extreme. He just doesn’t know what quitting is. I mean, he’s heard of it, sure. Yet no matter how hellish he finds his training, he sticks to it. Finding himself in an ecclesiastical state built around the deity of healing, he promptly signs up for crash training at the Healer’s guild, and armed with a single spell, then apprentices himself at the Adventurers’ guild to learn self defense in return for healing. Along the way, he learns that the two guilds are on the outs – and it’s largely because the Healers have become despicable money-grubbers. The biggest offender in the city is essentially a mafia don who always uses the most expensive spell necessary (without stating a price beforehand), and if the patient can’t pay, well, it’s off to the slave pens! Of course, providing free healing to the Adventurer’s guild starts cutting into someone’s profits, so it’s a really good thing he’s getting that self-defense training.
There are a few dramatic events, though they’re often related in an understated fashion. The focus is largely on his personal interactions, and his effect on people around him. Any fights (of which there are far more in the second book) are treated as first-person recollections, with a focus on strategy, not blow-by-blow combat. There are occasional interludes from other points of view, but sadly, none of them are female. There’s plenty of girls, and Luciel is attracted to them, in a way, but there’s no harem, no fanservice accidents, just… nothing. It turns out there is a reason for that, and it gets explained in the second installment. No, he’s not gay, even though the third novel’s blurb refers to his old-man harem.
In the second book, political machinations by the bad-guy healer gets Luciel posted to the capital city. The Pope (who is female) has a serious problem that the church has kept secret for about fifty years… a dungeon full of undead has opened beneath the papal palace, and it seems to be related to why the church hasn’t reined in the bad guys. (I guess…the fact that the pope and several of her chief assistants want to do something about them, yet hasn’t, is a glaring plot hole. The third book may address this.) For various reasons, the church has taken to sending a single exorcist at a time to deal with it. It’s been years since anyone got past floor ten; no one ever got past floor 40. Of course, having had a thoroughly brutal training regimen to go with his priestly abilities – which have also been increasing – turns him into the perfect answer, and he spends the next year single-handedly conquering the dungeon. Then it turns out things are going to get worse. You didn’t really believe those demons were just for flavor, did you?
Obviously, to write this much about it, I enjoyed the books, even though they don’t involve pulse-pounding drama, or romantic interests in various stages of wardrobe malfunction. With the caveat that you won’t find that, I recommend this series thus far.