By Kuji Furumiya and chibi. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Sarah Tangney.
I do get into the ending of the series in this review, be warned, spoiler lovers.
Readers of the third volume of this series, where we had a happy ending for our hero and heroine yeeted away fro us at the last minute, may be a bit wary of this 6th volume of Unnamed memory. And they are absolutely right to be wary. This series has had the feeling, throughout all six books, of “what will get in the way of them getting married next?”, to the point where it’s almost felt like a short story collection as Oscar and Tinasha go around dealing with crisis after crisis. At first she was the wary one and he was the one wanting to get married. Now, in books 4-6, it’s the reverse. But it’s essentially the same vibe. And for those who enjoyed Tinasha the Witch, good news, you definitely get to see her again. That said, those who enjoyed Tinasha the Queen may be saying “uh oh” right now. This is the trouble with time travel and repeating lives.
The first half of the book, as noted above, is basically “what can get in the way of the upcoming wedding?”. This even includes plots from previous books/timelines, as the “curse song” from earlier gets dealt with a lot more swiftly and neatly. The main snag is when the king of a neighboring country ends up in a coma, and the culprit seems to be The Witch of the Forbidden Forest… who has been noticeably absent from the second arc of this series. Is she really the one trying to destroy Tinasha’s country? That said, the main antagonist here is Valt, who has been trying to find a way to save the girl he loves and not have her take on his own burden, and is coming up empty. Towards that end, he is now 100% behind “destroy everything, start over”, even if he has to get Oscar and Tinasha to do it for him.
The second half is the best part, as usual with these books. The first half isn’t really filler, but can feel like it. (A queen of one nation stabs the queen of another nation, while in her right mind, and we never hear from her again except that her son is now king. Was she executed?) Valt’s backstory hits a lot harder than I was expecting, and I enjoyed the scenes with him and Tinasha. That said, I imagine the ending can be frustrating – again. We don’t quite get the first timeline back at the expense of the second timeline – this is an all-new timeline – but there is a sense that the Tinasha who we’ve been following for the last three books, the human Queen of Tuldarr, “died”. That said, the framing of the finale is “the two of them still live on in legend”, which fits the theme of the books as well, and ties into the author’s (unlicensed) other series. I also liked the short story at the end, which was basically another Tinasha-as-witch what-if.
There is an “after story” volume out in Japan, but I’m not sure if Yen will pick it up – they’re sort of 50-50 on those kinds of books. In the meantime, while I may have found some of the plotting frustrating, Unnamed Memory is a very rewarding read, filled with luxurious prose and great characters.