I’m not going to lie, I didn’t really have very high expectations for this book. I had recently read another light novel when I received the copy of this book and I wasn’t at all impressed, but I was left pleasantly surprised when I started reading this one and was engaged and entertained by the story. Now, while I enjoyed the story, there were a lot of things about it I detested. Before I get too far, let me first explain the story without giving much away.
The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter begins with our main character, Noir, getting ready for his first day as a librarian, only to find out the strings his father pulled to get him the job fell through, leaving Noir unemployed. Rather than mope about losing the job he had looked forward to all his life, he decides to take the exam for the Hero Academy instead. In the world that Noir lives in, everyone was born with some sort of skill or power. Noir had the skill of the Great Sage that allows him to contact some mysterious being that answers any question he asks. Unfortunately, using his power results in massive migraines, so Noir rarely ever uses it. His best friend Emma had discovered that a past sage used the power and also had headaches, but found that if he kissed his wife the headaches receded. She suggests that Noir try using his skill and then kiss her when the headache starts. To the surprise and relief of Noir, the trick works and he’s able to ask the Great Sage how to become more powerful in order to pass the Hero Academy exam. The Great Sage instructs Noir to travel to a hidden dungeon where he’ll find what he’s looking for. Noir promptly finds the dungeon, only to discover it filled with dangerous creatures and rare items, as well as a woman chained to a wall. Noir is able to telepathically communicate with her and finds out she is an adventurer who went missing 200 years prior and has only been kept alive by the magical trap she got caught in. She then bestows Noir with all of her skills and promises to teach him how to use them and become a great adventurer like herself. The story then continues with Noir’s adventures through the dungeon, his experience with the Hero Academy and meeting new people that help him along the way.
What I enjoyed most about the story was that there were constantly new things that left me interested and ready for more. Each floor of the dungeon held different creatures that Noir had to figure out how to defeat. It was interesting and each floor was unique, creating fun situations Noir had to figure out. I didn’t feel bored reading this book in the slightest and as someone who can’t stay focused on one thing for very long, I was surprised I had gotten through the book so quickly and in one sitting.
One of the scenes I really liked was when Noir explored more of the dungeon and one of the floors consisted of a room full of ghosts. Noir finds out that the ghosts were souls of people who died in the dungeon and were now tied to it. Noir eventually found a way to free them that allowed them to move on. It was one of the less action oriented scenes, but you got to find out how each ghost died and it hinted to what was on the other floors in the dungeon.
What I absolutely hated about this book was the constant sexualization of every female character Noir came across. I’m a huge fan of the action genre but my biggest criticism is how 90% of anything in the genre describes women as sex objects first, before talking about anything else. Whenever a new female character was introduced, the first thing Noir would comment on was her breasts. The first time it happened, the feminist in me was SCREAMING to stop reading the book immediately. As the book went on, more things kept happening that made the female characters seem as though they were only there to sexually satisfy and please Noir. I honestly could not stand it. While Emmahad a lot of good qualities, she was a good fighter for instance, she would constantly compare herself to other women and get angry when Noir would interact with them. There was also the trope that every woman was romantically interested in Noir and he was completely oblivious of it. Just saying, Noir was not a gift from God that all of these women should fawn over. While I enjoyed a lot of different aspects, I couldn’t get over the obvious sexism the author reflected in his writing.
Another aspect of the story that I wasn’t the most fond of, was the way Noir had to gain LP. LP was the points needed in order for Noir to use his new acquired skills. To gain LP, he needs to basically do things that satisfy him, such as eating good food, achieving a desired goal or (the one the book really focuses on) having sexual interactions with the oppiste sex. Now I’m not a prude, the sexual interactions thing wouldn’t have been that big of an issue if it wasn’t for the fact that was basically the only way Noir decided to regain his LP. There were some instances that he would do things that the women were not fans of or were visually distressed about that really rubbed me the wrong way. It just added to the sexist feel that happened throughout the book.
I don’t want to completely deter someone from reading this book, because there were a lot of good aspects, but I want to be honest and warn anyone like me who can’t stand over sexualization of women and the outdated tropes.
Hidden dungeons—legendary places that no one knows how to enter—are full of extremely rare items, incredibly dangerous beasts, and strange beings that can grant power beyond measure. Noir, the third son of a penniless baronet, just lost his job. He was contemplating becoming an adventurer when fortune struck only a mile from home, and he opened the entrance to just such a dungeon!Add to CartLearn More