By Makino Maebaru and Hachi Uehara. Released in Japan as “Konyaku Hakida, Hatsujō Seijo” by PASH! Books. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Kashi Kamitoma.
The danger of getting a killer premise is that you have to go through with the killer premise even though it will require reassuring some readers that it’s not THAT killer. So, let me reassure you, the reader. This book is a shoujo romance, basically Cinderella, and the lead heroine remains chaste throughout. That said… the premise of the book means that this heroine is frequently horny a great deal of the time, and sometimes imagines naughty fantasies. (Her powers also arouse the men she uses them on, and be warned there are a couple of sexual assault scenes in this book.) The author is not just interested in writing about Monica being aroused, though there are a few funny moment there. The book is more about why slut-shaming is terrible, and how treating women with respect and dignity will be its own reward. Plus, y’know, being rescued from an abysmal fate by a hot redheaded prince. Still a Cinderella story.
Monica, the priestess of the title, is not reincarnated from Japan or suddenly in her favorite game, but boy, the start of this book seems familiar anyway. Her fiance the prince publicly breaks up with her, and calls her a harlot. Her powers, which are fantastic when battling monsters and can heal nasty injuries, have an unfortunate side effect – she, and the person or persons she is healing, get aroused. And the more she uses them, the more aroused she gets. At first exiled, and then finding out that even worse is planned, she is fortunately rescued by Richard, a knight in the city she previously worked out of, and (as it turns out) the prince of the Empire next door. His country has a problem – the King is impotent, and this is leading to political difficulties. Can her powers help things along?
As you might imagine, this is mostly better than it sounds. I appreciated that the king’s impotence is NOT magically healed by her arousal powers, but instead requires months of repairing the infighting in the kingdom and restoring the self-confidence of the Queen to the point where they are no longer battling hideous stress every day. Monica herself has an odd combination of self-confidence and self-hatred – when it comes to her powers, or, by extension, her expertise in battle (being a monster-battling priestess, she’s basically had to be a general much of the time), she’s got it all down pat. But her upbringing and the attitudes of the kingdom she lived in prior to this have left her believing herself to be a worthless commoner, unfit for someone like Richard. Who, by the way, she is convinced is asexual, possibly the funniest part of this book.
The book enjoys its tropes – there’s a literal sadist maid here, as well as a knight who’s a bit TOO devoted to his master. But it uses a light touch to ensure that we’re not too put off by it. Basically, the author wanted to write a book that runs on horny but is still a pure shoujo romance, and mostly succeeds. I’ll read Volume 2, which I hope is not as long as Volume 1 was.