By Gakuto Mikumo and Manyako. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jeremiah Bourque.
I think the author is finally, as we near the end of Strike the Blood, getting the hang of things. As such, I will stop implying that the entire book is written by an AI bot, as I have in previous books, and give credit where credit is due. This is the second of two books expanding on an OAV that came out years earlier, and manages to pull off something we haven’t really seen done before due to the nature of Kojou’s vampiric abilities – mind controlling him to become evil. (You’ll pardon the spoiler, but anyone who is reading a review of the 18th volume of a series and also hasn’t seen the earlier OAV is probably limited to one or two people.) The book manages to divide itself fairly well into halves, with the first part being a political romance of sorts, and the second half being our usual action movie. La Folia gets a large role, which is great, and Sayaka does as well, which… is not so great.
Kojou is in a good mood, as he’s headed up to the long holiday break, where he can finally relax and not have to worry about saving the world… or so he thinks. Instead, La Folia invites Kanon to a ceremony in her home country of Aldegia so that she can try to mend tensions between Kanon and the rest of the family, and Kojou and Yukina to essentially be her bodyguards. (Asagi, Yabe, and Nagisa also tag along.) Of course, this is merely part of a larger plan, which is to get out of various arranged marriages set up for her by saying Kojou is her fiancee. Part one of her plan goes far smoother than anyone intended, possibly as Kanon is a giant sweetie pie. The second part goes OK, despite the fact that La Folia’s father is one of those huge, killer dads who will never let anyone date his daughter and has a giant sword to back him up. And this is all BEFORE the terrorist plot, when La Folia and Yukina are kidnapped… and Kojou is brainwashed.
The last book made it pretty clear that Kojou, in the future, has more than one partner, and this book hammers home that this is perfectly valid for vampire Primogenitors. As such, anyone who was rooting for someone other than Yukina will be pleased to know they’ll still get a place at the table. (Well,l no, they likely won’t, as I sense Strike the Blood fanatics don’t like Yukina much.) In any case, La Folia is perfectly happy to share, especially as Kojou cannot help but be the best guy she’s ever met. He’s like that. As for Sayaka… her absence from the series for so long had made me forget how much of a comedy jealous dumbass she is 90% of the time, honestly. Sorry, Sayaka. I have also told the author multiple times that his humorous scenes aren’t funny, so props to him: the scene with brainwashed Kojou acting like a Byronic hero and spouting lines so cringeworthy that Asagi and Yabe took actual damage? That was really, really good.
As with a lot of recent books in this series, the epilogue serves to set up the next book in the series, with will be back on Itogami Island and no doubt will continue to make it completely uninsurable. In the meantime, Strike the Blood fans, especially fans of La Folia, will be quite happy.