By Riku Misora and Sacraneco. Released in Japan as “Choujin Koukousei-tachi wa Isekai demo Yoyuu de Ikinuku you desu!” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Nathaniel Hiroshi Thrasher.
I am tempted to simply cut and paste the first paragraph of my last review here, because it applies even more. The middle section of this book is some of the bleakest, most cynical stuff we’ve seen in this series to date… and it’s a series that’s rooted in cynicism, so that’s pretty impressive. The Reform Party leader is seen as well-meaning but naive, and gets taken to the cleaners by the more experienced nobles. The leader of the interventionist party is a figurehead who has no idea what her supposed allies are planning behind her back, and when she finds out, well, bad things happen. (More on that later). As for Tsukasa and company, well, they get the confirmation they need that something is rotten in Yamato, and have to make a graceful retreat courtesy their powerhouse Aoi. It would be a dark but strong book in the series… were it not for the climax. Instead, I almost feel like dropping it.
Meeting with the leaders of Yamato, and after a brief game of Spin the Bottle that is the sole attempt at humor in this book, Tsukasa and the others get confirmation that, indeed, the nation is so peaceful and happy because of mind control – and that Princess Mayoi is driven by a fierce hatred and contempt for everyone around her. Making their escape, they end up reconnoitering with the resistance unit, which has far more resistance than Tsukasa expected. At the same time, the election heads to its conclusion, and unfortunately is being entirely controlled by Glaux, the noble who is manipulating both sides, plotting murders, and also selling out his country to boot. Fortunately, the cover up of one of his murders is not as smooth as he thinks, especially with Keine on the scene.
The dramatic revelation of just how evil Glaux really is was predictable, but well-handled, and Tetra’s murder was brutal and tragic. I knew Keine was going to be involved in some way, and when she didn’t show up until later I assumed it was going to be to help with the time of death at the autopsy, which it was. That said… Tetra showing up alive at the end of this book is jaw-dropping in its awfulness, and feels like a betrayal of the reader. I already don’t like Keine to begin with because she strikes me as the biggest sociopath among the prodigies, but I acknowledge she can work miracles. But there’s miracles and then there’s impossibilities, and please do not stab someone through the heart, then chop at their neck, then leave them for days, and expect be to be happy that they were somehow resurrected. It’s absolutely ludicrous, and makes the whole election feel pointless. I hated it.
At the time of this review the 7th volume of High School Prodigies is not solicited yet, and perhaps that’s for the best. I need a break to get the taste of this book out of my mouth.