By Tenichi and Suzunosuke. Released in Japan as “Higeki no Genkyou Tonaru Saikyou Gedou Rasubosu Joou wa Tami no Tame ni Tsukushimasu” by Ichijinsha Bunko Iris NEO. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Emma Schumacker. Adapted by Michelle McGuinness.
I suppose it had to happen eventually. There can only be so many light novels brought over here with the exact same premise before you find yourself thinking “this is really a lot like the previous dozen or so villainess novels I’ve read this year”. Heroine tries to change her fate while at the same time convinced that her fate is inevitable. Everyone around her is gobsmacked by her skills and her emotional sensitivity, but she doesn’t see it as anything but normal friendship. Everyone her age falls in love with her, including her adopted brother. We get events from her POV, and the events are then repeated from the love interest’s POV. And this one started in 2018, a good four years after My Next Life As a Villainess, so it doesn’t get the excuse some others have. What’s more, this is 100% serious, so we don’t even get the parody of the genre that Bakarina has become. It’s certainly readable – and had one bit I found quite interesting – but still… been there, done that.
Our heroine doesn’t even get half a page in Japan before she’s hit by a car. She wakes up as Princess Pride Royal Ivy, the daughter of the Queen and first in line for the throne (a rare matriarchy in light novels). There’s just one slight problem – Pride is the evil Queen from our protagonist’s otome game Our Ray of Light, and after years of foul misdeeds she’s killed off at the age of eighteen. Pride, who is eight, only has ten years to fix things. She gets off to a good start, rewriting relationships with her adopted brother and younger sister-in-hiding, while also showing off the “precognition” unique to her family line… though in her case it’s just remembering the plot from the game. Unfortunately, there are people behind the scenes determined to portray her as a selfish evil princess. And the cast keep getting these nightmares…
Without a doubt the most interesting parts of this book are the parts of the “game” where we see the Evil Queen Pride. Generally speaking when we get otome game villainesses in these books they tend to be bullies who go after the main character for not knowing her place, etc. Pride goes above and beyond, ordering her adopted brother (who has signed a contract forcing him to obey her every order) to murder his own mother, and casually admitting to her guard knight that she let his father die because it was more important to kill the bad guys who were after her. She really does live up to her name, and it’s easy to see why THIS Pride is doing her absolute best to avoid going there. Unfortunately, the other side of the coin – why is everyone having nightmares of the game, and why is one of the characters secretly evil – is not answered here, so we’re unfortunately left with the main flaw of many villainess books, where the heroine simply cannot get it in her head that she’s not a bad person anymore. It’s frustrating.
I’m not sure if I’ll get Book 2 in the series, but I do see that, judging by the webnovel content, this is going to be at least 7 or 8 books in Japan, and I don’t think I can last that long. For villainess completists only.