By Maito Ayamine and Cierra. Released in Japan as “Shinigami ni Sodaterareta Shoujo wa Shikkoku no Tsurugi wo Mune ni Idaku” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Sylvia Gallagher.
I have to feel bad for the normal soldiers in this book, whose job it appears to be to get massacred, either by the antagonists or by Olivia, who is technically the protagonist but whose body count is mind-numbing. We see an entire fortress of Crimson Knights slaughtered, not as part of a military ex4ercize or in a political maneuver, but merely to show off how dangerous and powerful the new group of bad guys are. Hell, we even get a “you have a wife and twin daughters, and another on the way” comment to the guy in charge, though honestly by the time he was brutally murdered I’d forgotten about his family, who we’re never going to meet. Only the strong survive in this series, and the definition of strong gets higher all the time. The possible exception to this is Ashton, but it’s his strategy that’s monstrous in this case, so he’s entitled to have the other monsters guard him.
Olivia, Ashton and Claudia have finally gotten permission to research the name Olivia took on as her own, and why its origins and downfall are essentially missing. Sadly, they don’t have much time to do this before they’re ordered to go help the 2nd Legion, who are in a desperate battle where even having a crafty and clever commander is not helping them. Fortunately, Ashton has a plan. Also fortunately, after the war gets worse and worse, the 1st Legion finally gets the OK to leave guarding the king and go into battle – and, for once, they actually show off why they’re the first legion, as their commander is the bigger fish in the “there’s always a bigger fish” anecdote. Now that the day has been saved once again, there’s only one question remaining: how big a cake can the royal palace make for Olivia?
First of all, I would like to beg the author: please have just one “male commander and female adjutant” pairing where she’s not obviously in love with him, I beg you. Though obviously this does not apply to the rather unbalanced triangle between Olivia, Claudia and Ashton, that’s still hilarious. Secondly, most of this book is meant to show us that there’s a third side to this war, they’re the equivalent of “the Church”, and they tend towards the evil, as most Church groups do in fantasy books like this one. I was pleased to see that the Church’s resident lothario makes absolutely no headway with either of our female leads – Claudia because she can see through his bullshit, and Olivia because normal human behavior is not a thing she does. That said, the bigger danger shows up at the end of the book, and I suspect it may be that which Olivia deals with in the next volume.
Aside from the three leads, this is not a series where I recommend getting too attached to anyone in the cast. But if you don’t mind some darkness, this is a fun ride with a very odd heroine.