By Kanata Satsuki and Mitsuya Fuji. Released in Japan as “Watashi wa Teki ni Narimasen!” by PASH! Books. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Tara Quinn.
It’s the final volume of this series, and I am pleased that it’s ending pretty much the way that it began: with lots of strategy and battles. There is some romance here, as the cover art will no doubt clue you in on, but for the most part this is still a military fantasy first and a romance second. e get to see the remaining bad guys be really bad, but also (well, in one case) see how they got to be that way, and witness Kiara say that if Reggie had died she’d totally have done something very similar, which is… chilling, but very on brand. There’s a character reveal that’s well-handled and an actual surprise, which pleased me. And, of course, our heroes very nearly lose several times, as we are shown that just because you may know about the past in a game… or even via other means… does not mean that there is not still danger of death lurking everywhere. This ISN’T a game.
Having confessed to each other, all that’s left for Kiara and Reggie’s happy ending is… well, a lot, to be honest. Lord Patriciel is still around, as is Queen Marianne. And they both seem far more confident than they should, really. It would help to have a few more allies, which means getting the Thorn Princess completely on their side, but to do so they’ll have to discover who she really is. The enemy is brutal, enslaving people and using them as meat shields, then using the slaves and its own soldiers as defective spellcasters in order to kill the troops. And oh yes, they also have a monster, a huge flying beast that obeys the Queen’s command. Even when they’ve won and all that’s left is for the Queen to surrender, there’s still one nasty trick up her sleeve, which Kiara may have to pay for with her life.
As I mentioned earlier, I appreciated that it’s very hard to change fate, but not impossible. Every time Kiara or the Thorn Princess feel that they’ve managed to alter the past so that Reggie is not brutally killed, he ends up in a different kind of danger. It’s not easy trying to find the right butterfly to step on. Fortunately, they have the ability to plan and strategize on the fly, but it’s a touch-and-go thing, especially towards the end, where various characters compete to see who can sacrifice their life to save 3everyone else first. That said, it’s not a big spoiler to say that most everyone lives happily ever after, even some people that I was pretty sure were going to die. And, for those who DO like romance, there’s some nice stuff here – Reggie is very affectionate, and spends most of the book trying to get a very reserved Kiara to accept him touching her. A lot.
At six volumes, this turned out to be exactly the right length. If you like villainess stories done almost completely straight, with few cliches and a heaping helping of battle, this is a terrific series to read.