By Bisu and Yukiko. Released in Japan as “Tensei Oujo wa Kyou mo Hata o Tatakioru” by Arian Rose. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Tom Harris.
It could just be that I’ve grown so used to it that I’m actually starting not to notice it, but this volume seemed a bit less creepy about most of the cast being in love with Rosemary. And that’s despite the fact that a chunk of the book revolves around one of the cast kidnapping her to be his bride. (It turns out to be a lot more complicated than that.) But for the most part there’s less leering and more worshipping, as we get another of the classic reincarnated villainess tropes in force here, that of the villainess as messiah. Rosemary’s can-do attitude, combined with her knowledge from Japan and minimalist knowledge of the plot of the game (which is getting increasingly unreliable) has led to her winning over everyone around her (shades of Katarina Claes) and inspiring them to also be the best person they can possibly be (also shades of Katarina Claes). She’s savvy, too. (Sorry, Katarina.)
We pick up where we left off last time, with Rosemary being kidnapped. The book is about 60% her narration as we follow her… and she ends up in the village that she’s been looking or anyway, which is having trouble surviving (fewer children are living past infancy) for unknown reasons (Rosemary figures out pretty fast that it’s inbreeding). Now she has to win over the village, explain why she’s there, and get them to help her. And she has a time limit, as the other half of the plot involves her brother Johan, as well as Princes Nacht and Licht of Vint, discovering that the disease Rosemary has been trying to head off at the past has already ravaged this area of the kingdom… and is being covered up by a desperate noble. Will Rosemary make it in time to save everyone?
The best scene in the book is the one where the village chief convinces Rosemary to act the part of the Goddess from their past, using some stuff she has that can pass as “magic”… and she simply cannot do it, admitting she’s just a princess and winning them over with her earnest pleading instead. Over and over again we see that what matters most about Rosemary is not her past knowledge, but her ability to plead her case and get across how much she cares. She struggles at the daily physical tasks of the village, but she does them anyway, rather than complaining or half-assing it like a princess normally would. To be fair, this is not unique to her, and a lot of villainess books are like this, but it works quite well. It works for other characters as well – Nacht is beloved by his people, even though he’s a pessimistic grouch, because he clearly cares a great deal about everyone and everything. Deception does not win anyone’s heart here.
Fortunately, we don’t get a cliffhanger of “will the doctors arrive in the nick of time”, as Rosemary manages to gather everyone around her and get to where Johan is… even if that requires fudging how time works in a very Shakespearean way. That said, I won’t complain. I like Rosemary as well, and want to read more about her.