By Toru Taba and Falmaro. Released in Japan as “Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saisei Jutsu ~Sou da, Baikoku Shiyou~” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jessica Lange.
This series continues to do what I want it to do, and that makes me very happy. There’s some whining and complaining from Wein here, but nit’s kept to a minimum. There’s a larger role for his sister, with promises of more to come in the future. There’s a lot of very clever people trying to outfox each other, succeeding, then being upended by someone else. And in the end it turns out that the unloved son, who is the least suited for the throne, is the only one who really wins here. There’s also a lot of discussion about what it means to rule a nation… and an empire, for that matter. All of Wein and Lowellmina’s old classmates get cool things to do. Including Ninym, who continues to function as Wein’s minder and sounding board, but also shows that she’s dangerous on her own. Basically, if you like this series, you’ll really like this volume.
The throne war in the empire is heating up, and Demetrio, the eldest son, has decided to advance things by having himself baptized in the holy land, the first step towards becoming the new Emperor. Naturally, none of the other candidates, including Lowellmina, will stand for that. She invites Wein and Ninym to the Empire to discuss an alliance… but on the way there, they’re waylaid by the first prince’s soldiers, and have to pretend they’re there to answer HIS summons to discuss an alliance. Which is awkward, because a) the alliance letter was meant to be a formality, no one expected Wein would agree to it, b) the first prince is the one with the lowest chances of becoming Emperor, and c) this is probably all part of Lowellmina’s plot to use Wein to further her own interests. Fortunately, Wein had a backup plan. His sister.
There’s a fair amount of military battles in this book, and we get to show off the strategist and the swashbuckler in Wein’s “college days” party being fairly awesome. Wein himself, as with the previous book, is more of an influencer here. Indeed, he has to be, as he been put in a very awkward position. But he’s got a sharp mind, and he knows that all three factions have their own issues. (The second prince doesn’t really seem to want the job, to be honest.) It also would not be a new volume of Genius Prince without a new eccentric character, in this case the Prime Minister of the empire, who has some wonderful ideas for what makes a good ruler but also seems to ramble on about anything and everything and randomly collapse. He was fun. The best part, however, was seeing the continued development of Falanya. Events are conspiring to pit her against her brother in a civil war, even to the point where she’s hiring a vassal who’s one of Wein’s former enemies. That said, I think the two siblings adore each other too much for real conflict to arise.
So yes, good volume, and of course it has a nasty cliffhanger, as it looks like we’ll be seeing more of the secret cabal that rules over the other half of this territory. Enjoying this series more and more.