By Riku Nanano and cura. Released in Japan as “Koujo Denka no Kateikyoushi” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by William Varteresian.
Imagine a horse race, with a lot of impressive participants. The race starts, everyone is going flat out… except one horse who just stands there, staring, and perhaps snorting with amusement. What’s going on? Is she just going to let the other horses win? Then, when everyone else is about 3/4 of the way into the race, the remaining horse starts to run. She ends up winning by 10 furlongs. That’s sort of how this book feels for those who are wondering who Allen will end up with in this series. It’s Lydia’s world and we just live in it. There are a few scenes dedicated to the rest of the cast, but even there, the main POV character is not the titular Duke’s Daughter, but her older sister, who is also possibly the only one of the harem herd Lydia regards as a rival. Tina? There was a character poll in Japan. Tina came in 6th. No prizes for guessing who won, and it wasn’t close.
(I want you to look at the cover to Volume 6, and then look at this volume. They’re the same character.)
After the events of the last book, Allen and Lydia (and Atra) have gone on the run to the City of Water, in the middle of the Southern Alliance that is currently at war with Lydia’s family. They check into a hotel under an an assumed name, and, Lydia ensures, as a married couple. What follows is about half a volume of the sweetest gloop you could possibly want. Sadly, the plot has to kick in sometime. The Doge is trying to broker for peace, especially after he and Allen have a secret discussion at a fantastic cafe, but one of the countries is being particularly difficult… because, of course, their reins are being held by the Church. The younger brother of the City’s Don has the Church trying to kidnap him for nefarious reasons. And there’s a mysterious woman who is, according to Atra, a “scary, sad fiend”. Which is true, especially the scary part.
I hate gushing (that’s a lie, I love gushing), but this book is a massive reward for Lydia fans who have been waiting for her to spend an extended period with Allen since the first volume. She’s at her most self-confident here, having Allen pamper her, declare that he will never hate her, and connecting their mana together, something she’s longed for for years, even if it’s just temporary. Even the climax of the book, which technically has Allen and Lydia fight against a powerful enemy and lose, is triumphant. As for the others? Well, Stella’s still having mana leakage issues, and I’m sure she’ll get a book of her own later. And, um… Felicia and Lily’s breasts are big? Yeah, I may love this series, but it’s still what it is, so of course there’s a “small-breasted girls vs. large-breasted girls” argument. All of them miss the point, as Allen is not the sort to pick a partner based on looks. Honestly, Allen is not the sort to pick a partner, period. Lydia’s working on that.
This looks like a multi-volume arc, and I’m sure the girls will intrude on Allen and Lydia’s love-love honeymoon in the next book. Till then, though, please enjoy a victory lap from the angriest redhead around. (OK,. the angriest redhead in this series, at least. Sorry, Lina.)