Audiobooks are the next frontier for light novels, with several publishers announcing audio versions of their licenses. Reincarnated as the Last of my Kind was one of Cross Infinite World’s debut titles for their audiobook lineup.
I’ve already reviewed the original novel (and its follow-ups), so I’m not going to rehash all the positives and negatives of the text. Suffice to say, a Japanese woman dies and reawakens just as her new teary-eyed parents send her baby self down the river. She’s rescued by a creature called a Mythical Beast and ends up in the care of a former knight named Marcus. Marcus, who lost one of his arms in the war, names her Tinaris, and over the years, Tinaris finds she has an incredible aptitude for alchemy.
Reincarnated as the Last of my Kind (the novel) is rather unusual in that the first person point-of-view switches between Tinaris and Marcus. Tinaris’ chapter covers an event (or a series of events), then Marcus covers the same or adjacent time period. The audiobook uses separate narrators for these chapters, which I really liked. It adds variety, and also kinds of helps get listeners to snap back to attention.
That’s partially because the chapters are not equally balanced, and this will only get worse as the series goes on. Even the subchapters are not broken into equal pieces, and so you have some tracks that are 3 minutes or less long, and others that are over an hour. Depending on how and when you want to listen to Reincarnated as the Last of my Kind, trying to pick up back where you left off can be a major pain.
Also, I don’t know if this has been corrected, but a couple of the track names around Chapter 4 did not match up. Track 11 is labeled as 4c, but it’s introduced as Chapter 4, Scene B. It wasn’t a big deal, but it threw me off a bit.
As for the performances, the two narrators read the novel with some dramatic flair. I’m sure it took a lot of work to make those hour+ tracks…well, not sound like someone has been droning on for an hour. Again, having a second narrator makes it feel like you are making some progress in the story after having those long tracks.
Both Cassandra Morris and Graham Halstead do a nice job of reading the book aloud, but of course, there are times when I personally would have wished for a slightly different direction. One example is the line, “Noooooooo! I just died five minutes ago; I can’t die again so soon!” It’s more of a “Noo-oh-oh!” like you just found out the McDonald’s ice cream machine is broken versus a more horrified scream. Yes, this is an audiobook and not a radio drama, but I found myself chuckling when I obviously wasn’t supposed to.
Reincarnated as the Last of my Kind is a charming story, and the audiobook is certainly an option for interested light novel fans to experience it. Even if you have already read volume 1, the dual narrators helps add to the experience. But unfortunately, with some chapters passing the hour-long mark while others are only a few minutes makes this hard if you want to start each listening session on a new track.