The Lizardman Heroes plays out fairly differently from the previous books in the Overlord series. The premise of this story is that Ainz is sending an army to attack various lizardman villages. However, eight days prior to the attack they give the lizardmen a heads-up about this. While there are scenes here and there following Ainz’s group, most of the book is from the lizardman characters point-of-view. Having read the last three books, we as readers know these guys are just going to get slaughtered. The lizardmen, however, do not know this and that makes them interesting as characters.
For what will probably be one-shot characters, the lizardmen were incredibly well developed. The Lizardman Heroes goes into detail about how their society works, the history of their culture, the individual history of the key lizardman characters, and more. Even a love story manages to work its way in there on the eve of this massive battle. Most of the book is the central lizardman character, Zaryusu, trying to shore up his people’s defenses. This seemingly impossible task of getting everyone to work together is their only hope for survival and it is incredibly well written.
Titling the book “The Lizardman Heroes” is a very apt name. Zaryusu and the other lizardman do genuinely believe that they have a chance. They see this giant army that outnumbers them 3-to-1 incoming and know if they fight smart, they can win. This leads to some other character development as well, with Cocytus. Ainz put Cocytus in charge of the invasion as a learning opportunity for our favorite icy bug man. Ainz’s fight against Shalltear in the last book demonstrated that while the floor guardians are strong, they do not fight smart. They are so used to overwhelmingly overpowering opponents that they do not fight well tactically. Getting them to cover these weaknesses to avoid another incident like with Shalltear seems to be one of Ainz’s goals.
While Ainz’s group is not the focus in this book, we do see enough of them to get more character development. Ainz himself is shown to be furthering various goals to strengthen his power base while simultaneously starting to feel the pressure of being a ruler. Giving the characters challenges they cannot just solve with epic magic spells is very important here. If every book is just them one-siding every fight they are in, Overlord will get stale very fast. While the lizardman perspective was a different and somewhat slower approach, it was a way of keeping the series fresh. Still, getting back to focusing on Ainz’s group in the next book will be good too.