By Miya Kazuki and You Shiina. Released in Japan as “Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen” by TO Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by quof.
This is the penultimate book in the fourth arc, and each of the arcs has featured a game-changing plot twist, so what we see happening in this book should not be a surprise, and yet it still feels a bit unreal. Ever since the 4th volume in the series, Ferdinand has been the second most important character after Rozemyne, and his presence… and ability to rescue her in case she got herself in a jam… were always there. Now he’s going to be leaving, and not in a happy way, either. As a reader, I know that something is going to happen to stop this, but I’m not sure when it will happen, meaning we may have to wait for Rozemyne to graduate before we get any results. And, um, I highly suspect that the civil war that keeps bubbling under will be underway well before then. Times are dangerous.
The first half of the book is pretty normal. Rozemyne finally meets her younger brother, Melchior, who is shorter than her! – just. She’s doing temple stuff, pushing publishing, and working on the finances of the duchy. Then we get the Archduke’s conference, and everything goes to hell, as Ferdinand is asked to marry Detlinde, an Ahrensbach noble. We know from the Royal Academy sections of the story that she’s the girl who wants to bully Rozemyne, so we already hate her. Needless to say, Ferdinand says no. Then the King tells him he has to do it. You cannot really say no to the King. We gradually over the course of the rest of the book hear the official reasons why this is happening, as well as the unofficial reasons, but hovering over all these is a secret reasons: Georgine is plotting bad, bad things.
One thing that this series has hammered home time and again is that very few marriages in this world are based on love, or even have any romantic feelings at all. Political and practical marriages are the watchword. Rozemyne is engaged to Wilfried, but neither of them really care about it. Angelica’s engagement is broken in this volume, and she literally has to practice being devastated by it, as in reality she just doesn’t care. So it’s not surprising that Ferdinand’s own feelings are being ignored here. (Indeed, a side story tells us that other duchies think he’s being abused by Sylvester and company!) But I mention this because the scenes with Ferdinand and Rozemyne here, while not romantic, are intense. She literally says that all he has to do is give the word and she will raise hell and go rescue him. Even if you are still wary of them as a match, it’s heartwarming in a familial sense.
The next volume, as noted, is the last one in this arc, and should feature Rozemyne and Ferdinand permanently “breaking up” – not that I expect that to actually happen. Will she be able to help? Will the country explode in war? And will Rozemyne ever stop looking like a 7-year-old so that all of this can get slightly less creepy? Can’t wait to find out.