By Toru Taba and Falmaro. Released in Japan as “Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saisei Jutsu ~Sou da, Baikoku Shiyou~” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jessica Lange.
As the series hits double digits, it’s pretty clear that it’s at least sauntering towards a conclusion. Wein is closer than ever to becoming the King, but (see premise of the series) he really does not want this, and would much rather leave things to the little sister who’s been growing by leaps and bounds over the course of the book and just run off somewhere with Ninym to do all the things he could not do with Ninym when he was heir to the throne. Of course, what’s stopping him is the rest of the plot. For one thing, he’s made such a name for himself that people are not yet taking Falanya seriously, though I expect that will change in a big way after this book. For another, there are too many people whose ongoing plans really need Wein to be around and also as clever as he normally is. Lowellmina is the obvious one, but the Church has an eye on him too… or rather, on Ninym, by his side.
After events in the last book, Wein’s country, or more accurately the vassals in his country, really want him to stay home. Unfortunately, Delunio is holding a big event to celebrate their alliance with Soljest and Natra, and have asked Wein to attend. He’s not going to, but he can send Falanya… despite the fact that the disgraced prime minister of Delunio is now Falanya’s adviser. Of course, this does not mean that Wein gets to sit around either, as there’s a more serious crisis in the Empire. Lowellmina has too much power now, so her brothers have come up with a clever scheme: fight each other, let the casualties pile up, and then tarnish Lowellmina’s name because she, the peace loving princess, did not intervene. She wants Wein’s help. And as if this weren’t enough, in Soljest… Gruyere has been overthrown?!
The fun of this series is the fact that not just the main characters, but EVERY character seems to have one main scheme and seven backup schemes all going at the same time. The best scene in the book features a most unlikely pairing, Gruyere and Nanaki, but of course the main thing to talk about here is Falanya. She’s finally gotten to the point where Wein does not have to worry about her when she’s trapped in a dangerous political hothouse, and while she does need his help near the end, 80% of the victory in this book is down to her own clever scheming. There’s a reason that Sirgis has decided to make it his goal to have her become ruler rather than Wein, though I’m not sure I buy his “he doesn’t care about the people of the country” – if that were the case, Wein could have schemed himself out of this a while ago. But it definitely feels like we’re headed for a sibling thrown war, which is good, as Natra has experience with that.
So very glad to have this back, and I am pleased that it won’t take as long for the 11th book to come out here. Recommended for political intrigue fans.