Isaleebelle got the chance to read the first volume of The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress. BookWalker describes the light novel as:
The war hero known as Silver Wolf – Lud Langart – pilots a humanoid assault weapon while he dreams of life as a baker.
With the war over, Lud now peacefully runs his bakery, but thanks to his frightening scowl, he can’t sell a single loaf of bread.
After posting an ad for a waitress in a last ditch effort to save his business, who should reply but a beautiful silver-haired, red-eyed young girl.
What Lud doesn’t know is that this new waitress was born from Avei, his AI partner installed in the humanoid assault weapon he piloted during the war.
The sweet smell of bread brings surprises to the doorstep. Lud Langart is a former soldier from the Principality of Wiltia who is known for his battle prowess as the Silver Wolf in the great war. After abandoning the battlefield upon victory, he moves to the small, rural town of Organbaelz and starts Tockerbrot Bakery all by himself. As a foreigner to this small town with an inability to even crack an acceptable smile, his bulky and menacing figure scares all the townspeople and he’s not able to even attract one customer! Although his bread is really tasty and good, no one dares to come near the store… until one day a mysterious girl named Sven appears and agrees to help to help run the bakery as a waitress. Exactly how will this young girl help Lud run his bakery, and what are her reasons for appearing at Tockerbrot Bakery’s front door?
The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress overall is truly a pleasant and engaging read. As told in the third person, it combines the elements of great storytelling, imagery, and content to help drive its plot. Although there are very many common themes like a pacifist veteran, or a cute, young girl alongside a burly guy; the interactions between these two characters and the people around them are definitely what make up the story. The history behind the annexation of Organbaelz, the Principality of Wiltia, and the great war are also interesting topics that The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress addresses as one of many reasons as to why Lud and Sven may be partners for life. With themes of partnership, kindness, diligence, and a hint of romance, The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress focuses on telling the tale of attaining a peaceful life in the midst of resolving postwar emotions and political unstableness through fantastical elements and relentless action.
It’s hard to define the specific audience for The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress, but in general it seems to be aimed at young adults. The story contains topics that revolve around wars with a bit of politics in addition to its slice-of-life feeling and action. Lud was trained to be a warrior, and although he hates to admit it, becoming such a prestigious warrior was never truly what he wanted in life. Influenced by his interactions during the war, he decides to do what he loves the most to bring happiness himself and those around him — baking. However, that isn’t so easy as the annexed town of Organbaelz doesn’t like Wiltian citizens — they simply pin all their hatred on Lud due to his appearance and involvement in the war.
But by hiring Sven as his bakery’s waitress to attract customers to the store, the townspeople mindsets begin to change slowly as the sweet smell and taste of Lud’s baking brings them all together. Sven is the perfect addition as her white hair, beautiful skin, dainty smiles, and excellent customer service flawlessly brings business to Tockerbrot Bakery. She even calls Lud “Master” and executes every command and request of his almost perfectly. Even Lud is shocked by this seemingly young girl’s attitude in how she would do almost anything for him — he asks if he’s met her before, but Sven denies this constantly, keeping the truth deep within her heart.
The pacing of The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress really allows Sow, the author, to flush out the characters and setting extremely well. With a completely made-up world, it’s easy to get readers confused on unfamiliar country names and the deep ancient history that shadows the nations and the world in The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress. Nonetheless, many of elements to the story seem to have a Western influence based on European culture as the town names, character names, weapons, and other things seem to replicate that of European culture in general. Using the European history and culture as only inspiration, Sow is free to come up with the history of the nations as he wishes, and while does do so, he’s able to describe the events behind what led to the war and much more. He’s able to tell a story involving the conflicts between the nations, along with the development of weapons, tanks, and other advanced technologies. Even more so, he’s able to piece these intriguing characters and use them as anchors for the story.
As a debut and rising novel, The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress nails the idea of grasping a reader’s attention with a postwar setting, intriguing characters, and intense battle scenes. The novel balances comedy, fantasy, and action all very well as a first novel and will definitely have people be interested in what will happen in the near future. How will the relationship between Lud and Sven develop, and how will they face the government and people if another war is on the brink of erupting once again?
If you’d like to read The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress, you can check it out here.