By Bokuto Uno and Miyuki Ruria. Released in Japan as “Nanatsu no Maken ga Shihai suru” by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.
It has to be said, when your goal is to kill a bunch of teachers and get away with it, it will become harder and harder as time goes on, mostly because the other teachers are starting to investigate. That’s the dilemma that Oliver and Company (I’m so sorry) find themselves in here, as the headmaster is starting to get very annoyed about these deaths, and is investigating absolutely everyone. That said, our conspirators do seem to have the next victim chosen, and their plan may very well be to upset her so much she spontaneously combusts in rage. That said, this book mostly deals with two things: 1) Oliver’s recovery from the last book, which is much harder than he expected and needs a drastic solution, and b) the tragic but triumphant story of Diana Ashbury, and a reminder once again that Reign of the Seven Spellblades as a series is likely to end with Nanao the sole survivor walking away from the smoking corpse of a campus.
First off, let’s get the one terrible thing about this book out of the way: there’s a creeper who is defined by a) his desire to rape another man, complete with lascivious grin, and b) his enormous erection, which is described far more than I would really like. He’s a massive negative stereotype, and it’s something of a relief that he doesn’t show up much more in this book. That said… this series is really, really horny. We recall Oliver’s magical handjob from two books ago, and now we get his burgeoning relationship with Nanao, where they’re not having sex but everyone assumes that they are. So honestly, when Oliver was having his soul problems I was expecting our sextet to come up with a more AO3-fanfic sort of solution. That said, their actual solution – a game of hug tag – is adorable and sweet.
And then there’s Ashbury. One of the things that this series hammers home over and over again is that much o the cast is obsessed with one thing or another, and with Ashbury it’s speed. She’s head and shoulders above anyone else, and the faculty have their eye on her to break the world record for speed on a broom… without the inevitable death that comes along with it. But even in this part of the book things are tied together in a shipping sort of way – Ashbury’s catcher (and, it’s implied, romantic partner) has been missing for the last two years, and so while she’s amazing, she’s not the amazing she wants to be. The final quarter of the book is absolutely stunning, and I also loved the bond that develops between Ashbury and Nanao, and wish we could see more of it. Still, this ending was pretty much the series in microcosm.
I haven’t even mentioned the student council elections, but that’s OK, because I suspect they will take up a lot of the next book. Till then, this is absolutely terrific to read, but can also be very painful. In a good way.