By Yukiya Murasaki and himesuz. Released in Japan as “Haken no Kouki Altina” by Famitsu Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Roy Nukia.
Nothing annoys English-speaking fans quite so much as a series they’re enjoying being unfinished in Japan, and their usual logic is to blame the publisher for not being told that it wasn’t going to continue. This is, of course, nonsense. In regards to this particular series, it was very popular in Japan, its 14th volume had come out only 10 months earlier, and the author was also riding another hit with the How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord series. It looked like a great license, and it is. I’ve enjoyed this series a great deal. It’s fun, has great military strategy and battle scenes, likeable leads with a tinge of romance to them (but not too much), and each volume is pretty short, which, trust me, is a plus for me these days. Unfortunately, Both the American and Japanese publishers are still at the mercy of one thing: the author actually writing more of the book. And it’s been almost four years since the last volume. Hope it doesn’t have a nasty cliffhanger… oops.
We pick up where we left off last time, with Altina and Regis going to war against Spain (or rather Hispania). For the most part, things have been going fairly well, even though both Regis and Altina have had to deal with the fact that they can’t do battles with no fatalities anymore. Indeed, they even have the spare time to debate the nature of Altina’s pacifism, and how, while Regis supports her ideals, he realizes that they are, in fact, idealistic, and no not take into account human nature. That said, he has a bigger problem, as it turns out Hispania has its own eccentric strategist, and she’s just as good if not better than Regis – and seems to lack his moral scruples. With our heroes on the verge of victory, will the price they pay be the life of their chief strategist?
The mental battle between Regis and Mariam, Hispania’s secret strategist, is the best reason to read this book. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Regis pressured and doubting himself, but it has more impact now that he and Altina have come so far. He almost calls off his plan, except that his soldiers have already enacted it – and, fortunately for him, it works really well. Unfortunately, as I said, Mariam is every bit his equal. And I mean that in both strategy and being a weirdo. Not her muteness, of course, though I admire her writing speed. No, I mean that she doesn’t really care if her nightgown is riding up, or whether people think of her as a noble lady, or even whether she commits treason on paper. She’s the distaff Regis in every way except for the final few pages, where she does something that Regis wouldn’t have. I’d say it played on the religious fervor of the Hispanians… but that didn’t really seem to be a factor for the strategists.
And yeah, that’s a nasty cliffhanger, as this book came out in September 2018, and there haven’t been any more since. You could blame the even more popular How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord… but that last had a volume a year ago. When you read a writer’s story, you have to depend on the writer to write it. Let’s hope he gets back to it soon.