By Kosuzu Kobato and Yasuyuki Syuri. Released in Japan as “Kusushi no Majo Desu ga, Nazeka Fukugyō de Rikon Daikō Shiteimasu” by DRE Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Satoko Kakihara.
When reviewing the 2nd volume of The 100th Time’s the Charm, I talked about all the ways that it was a good example of how NOT to do a 2nd novel for a series that seemed pretty wrapped up with the first, and suggested that it might be because DRE didn’t want a lot of one-shots to start their novel line. Feeling a bit guilty about that, I’m happy to say that the 2nd volume of The Apothecary Witch Turned Divorce Agent is a good example of how the author SHOULD do this. It gives us a lot more details about Carla’s past, but also leaves us a lot of mysteries still to solve. It also touches on Thane’s past, and why he has such a mad-on about witches. Both characters still flirt by being sarcastic at each other, and are mostly unaware of their own feelings – at least Carla is. Basically, if you read the first book and thought “more of this, please”, good news.
It’s the time of the year when all witches have to convene at a secret spot for their annual convention, and much to Carla’s annoyance that includes her. Thane wants to go with her, as he wants to ask the Fortune-Telling Witch, who used to be the Foresight Witch, about his past – as the Foresight Witch was supposedly related to the death of his father and downfall of his family. He can’t go to the convention itself, but Carla mentions it, and said witch agrees to meet with Thane after Carla does a job for her – and yes, it’s another divorce request. A noblewoman is not only puzzled why her husband and father-in-law are conspiring late at night, but lately she’s been unable to move out of bed at night to check. Is this a genuinely bad marriage that will allow Carla to successfully negotiate a divorce at last? What do you think?
There’s a subplot here involving the Queen from the first book, and how she turns out to be tied to Carla’s past far closer than we’d imagined. We do learn a lot about it, but it’s mostly along the lines of “this was no accident, it was murder”, which honestly is such a non-surprise I’m not even worried about spoilering it. It does help us get a lot more insight about why Carla is the way she is. On the magic side, it’s fairly clear that her magic is suppressed in some way, likely due to emotional trauma and memory loss, and no doubt when she regains her memories she will become a lot more powerful. On the personality side, everything I like about Carla’s attitude is also a major flaw – she has almost no regard for her own person or safety, barely eats at the best of times, and does not understand why this is odd at all. It’s no surprise that Thane’s sullen personality is explained very well in this book, while Carla is the ongoing story.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I enjoyed this book just as much. I’m really hoping for more, this is one of the best DRE licenses.