As someone who works for a store that sells light novels, I am not immune to seeing all the crazy titles light novels use to get your attention. You never expect a book called Reborn As A Vending Machine I Now Wander The Dungeon to exist, but I know people that have read it. I once even held the book The Hero And His Elf Bride Open A Pizza Parlor In Another World in my hand, but I haven’t read any of them. Because how good can they be? But after reading My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead To Doom! I thought maybe I had these books all wrong. It’s possible that, while maybe not masterpieces, they can still be great entertainment.
Finally, curiosity got the better of me with The Invincible Shovel, which probably has the best subtitle of any book ever: Wave Motion Shovel Blast ( `・ω・´)♂〓〓〓〓★(゜Д ゜ ;;;).:∴ KA-CHOOOM! That’s about all the positive I can say about this book. With its shallow characters, constant ecchi situations, and less-than-stellar writing, The Invincible Shovel has many of the negative stereotypes that people have about light novels.
The story is about Alan, the man possessing the garden equipment the book is named after. He is a miner who does mining things and through force of will is able to get his shovel to do literally anything he wants. Alan lives a miner’s life until he saves a princess, Lithisia. She needs to collect seven orbs to have the wish to save her kingdom granted. So the pair go on a quest to find them.
This novel is a good example why the writing guideline, “Show, don’t tell,” is so important. When the characters are about to enter a place or do an action, you get a sentence or two covering the very basics and then it’s back to dialogue. This reads more like a film script, which is a problem when you’re reading a novel. This shallowness in writing leads to shallow characters as well.
An adventure story needs strong characters to remain engaging, but The Invincible Shovel is more interested in introducing trope-filled female characters. The problem is that the book doesn’t give the majority of characters to develop. You’ll get a couple pages introducing a character and a couple pages later we’re already at the emotional climax of their character arc. Because we don’t get to know them well, these climaxes fail to deliver.
However, I can’t say I didn’t have a chuckle here or there. Alan mining career, it turns out, does not include much mining. Hearing his former feats of grandeur being briefly brought up in conversation is pretty funny. Oh, you dug to hell and defeated Satan? All in a day's work, I guess.
Sadly, the positives can’t outweigh the pile of negatives for me. It’s not a book I can recommend, but it’s not like all light novels are bad. My Next Life As a Villainess is a fun rom-com with good characters and So I’m A Spider, So What? is the best isekai I’ve come across, and I Want To Eat Your Pancreas is much better than the title would suggest. There's good novels out there, but, in my opinion, The Invincible Shovel isn't one of them.
The strongest miner in the world, Alan can reduce mountains to rubble with a swing of his trusty shovel—a legendary tool that grants him immortal life and can blast through the strongest of foes. When this legendary miner teams up with a runaway princess to track down cursed jewels and save her kingdom from an invading demon force, evil doesn’t stand a chance. A hilarious fantasy tale for fans of RPGs, with adventure… in spades!Add to CartLearn More