By Mamecyoro and Mitsuya Fuji. Released in Japan as “Watashi wa Gotsugou Shugi na Kaiketsu Tantou no Oujo de aru” by B’s-LOG Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Sarah Moon.
The plot of this book can basically be summarized as “fallout from the previous book”. Octavia wakes up to find herself back in her room at the castle, which is good… but she’s not allowed to leave the room, which is bad. What’s worse, Klifford is also being confined, and not “in his room”. Not only was Octavia wounded while he was guarding her, which is something that normally leads to being punished, but there’s a conspiracy to attack the royal family, and Octavia’s brother Sirius is convinced that Klifford is part of it. There is, to be fair, some evidence, but for the most part the main reason is just “I hate him”. Now Octavia has to talk herself out of her room, talk Klifford out of the dungeons, and go on the city tour that she was supposed to do before the party from the last book went all pear-shaped. And, oh yes, the King has revealed she discovered the True Crown.
This gives us a much closer look at Sirius and what his deal is… is what I’d like to say, but because so much of this is from Octavia’s POV, and she’s still having trouble figuring him out, it’s less than I’d like. This is not helped by the fact that she’s still trying to lay over the characters she knows from the BL series and the actual people that she has met as Octavia. One example is Hugh, Sirius’ guard, who in the series was one of Octavia’s allies in her support for her brother and Sil’s hot romance, but here is a lot more mysterious figure. In fact, he could stand to be a bit less mysterious. There’s a mystery culprit in this book that we don’t find out about, except it’s super obvious. In fact, probably deliberately obvious, given brain teaser questions like “what if your master gives you two opposing orders, which one do you follow”?
There is, of course, also the romance part of this book. We get occasional stabs at Octavia trying to find a “fake boyfriend” to save herself from a terrible life, but her lack of awareness about Klifford and his feelings is starting to seem very familiar to those readers who dread “oblivious” protagonists. I mean, they’re even sharing each other’s dreams! This actually leads to one of the scarier parts of the book, as Octavia dreams of Klifford being beaten nearly to death and then literally tossed in the water in a sack to drown, and it’s harrowing (she wakes up and can’t even hide from her maids the fact that she had a terrible nightmare). As for Klifford, he sees a young Octavia stare at this world’s equivalent of a Sakura tree – except it’s not the Sakura tree she knows, it blooms in autumn. He is despairing seeing her mourn the family that she has lost forever, even though he’s not sure why.
So yeah, still good, and the next book might wrap up this arc? Maybe?