By Roku Kaname and Hazuki Futaba. Released in Japan as “Aobara-hime no Yarinaoshi Kakumeiki” by PASH! Books. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by JC.
This second volume of the Blue Rose Princess trilogy has the same strengths and weaknesses of the first volume. On the bright side, Alicia remains a very compelling heroine, who manages to achieve the goals she’s striving for without really feeling too “overpowered” – indeed, she loses her temper at one point and bad things happen. In addition, the fact that things don’t seem to be going the way they did in her previous life means she has to do more detective work to figure out what really needs to be changed, and how things came to her dying last time. On the less positive side, this book remains very serious and earnest, with what minimal humor it has reserved for fairly obvious points, such as “the guy is in denial that he’s in love and shouts angrily while running off”. That’s fine, of course – not all villainess books have to be funny, of course. But this one just is a bit… boring? Not bad, just… satisfactory.
Alicia and Clovis have almost achieved their goal, getting their trading company that will help save the kingdom off the ground. Unfortunately for her, Duke of Sheraford is not on their side, and he’s not only in a stronger position and better at politics, but he has a secret that is making life even worse for them. It will take a bit more than just Alicia and Clovis being clever to get out of this one. Then, six years later, things are going well and Alicia is poised to be the next Queen. There are two issues with this. The first is that the Empress of Erdal is still trying to get Alicia married off to Price Fritz. The second, and more worrying, is that, of course, a Queen is not going to be able to marry her advisor. So being in love with Clovis is a problem…
While I said the book’s biggest problem is that it’s somewhat dull, that’s pretty much its only problem. The characters work well. I especially liked Riddhe, the arrogant son of Duke Sheraford, who at first appears to be exactly the same as all the other arrogant duke’s sons we’ve seen in books like this, but ends up having a stronger core of ethics that ends up saving the day. I also liked the fact that, while Alicia is trying to change her story so she’s not engaged to Fritz, here in this timeline the Empress is just as interested in getting Alicia married to him – but it’s because she wants Alicia’s smarts, not as a political wife. And then there’s Fritz, who we basically knew as “cheating bastard” in the previous life, but here we see WHY he became that cheating bastard, and what really drives him – and how it clashes violently with Alicia’s own goals. Good thing there’s a third book.
So yeah, this is solid, and I like the characters. I’m glad it’s only three books, though.