By Sasara Nagase and Mitsuya Fuji. Released in Japan as “Yarinaoshi Reijō wa Ryūtei Heika o Kōryaku-chū” by Kadokawa Beans Bunko. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by piyo.
When I was younger and more emo, I would sometimes write things that I knew people would hate just because I wanted to amuse myself watching their reaction. Not my finest moment, let me tell you. Sarasa Nagase is not quite that bad, but there’s a sense when reading this series that she knows that no one wants to deal with the fact that Jill is 11 years old (10 in the first two volumes). the characters in the book are disgusted by it. Judging by the afterword, the readers are not very happy with it either. So of course, it is ground in our faces throughout this book how these two are over the moon for each other but Jill is so, so underage. It’s a shame, because otherwise this would be a terrific LN series to recommend, especially if you like kickass women, because Jill does kick ass. But any time you have to say “she’s not 11 technically”, that’s not great, Ryan.
Having won over two of his family, Hadis is still dealing with the fallout of everything else that happened in the second book. Everyone just seems to default hate him, and he can’t introduce Jill as the Dragon Consort because it will come out that she’s from Kratos and cause even more uproar. Into this mess wander more family members: Natalie, the second princess, who has low self-esteem but is otherwise the most normal and put-together of the royals; Frida, the young third princess, who is shy but also very good at magic; and, most importantly, Vissel, Hadis’ older brother, and one of the few people that he trusts. Which makes it a shame that, as Jill knows from her prior life, Vissel will be the big betrayal that leads to Hadis finally snapping. How’s Jill going to solve THIS mess?
To be honest, mostly by hitting things. The villainess books as a genre run the spectrum of different types of heroines, some of them crafty and long-term planner sorts, some of them massive improvisers, and some who rely on their large pool of allies. And then there’s Jill, who has never mean a problem she cannot beat the shit out of. She is definitely on the “dumb muscle” side of the equation, which is sometimes a problem, but honestly, “straightforward talk and occasional violence” genuinely seems to be the way to go in this case. She also claims that she’s absolutely terrible at romantic things, and so is Hadis, but the two of them make up for any conscious effort by pure subconscious effort – they don’t so much flirt as scream their passion at each other at massive volume. Which is adorable, of course, but… again, Jill is 11.
There’s several more books in the series out in Japan, but after three in a row over the last six months, which is highly unusual for Cross Infinite World, it appears we’re taking a break before the next one. If you can get over its biggest hurdle – and I don’t blame you if you can’t – this is worth reading purely for Jill’s force of personality.