By Riia Ai and Mucha. Released in Japan as “Scenario Nante Iranai! Rival Chara no Kitsunekko” on the Shousetsuka ni Narou website. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Miki “Zombie” Zuckerman.
I will admit, my memory is not that great. I’m fine when a book comes out so frequently that I can retain everything easily, like Bookworm. But when a series catches up, it can be a struggle for me to recall what was happening before, or who the minor characters are. And this goes double for when it’s been a year since the first volume, as I’ve forgotten almost ALL the main characters. All I recalled from the last book was the basic plot, and the two “reincarnated from Japan” characters. I also recalled they mentioned that the “heroine” would be appearing soon, something that filled them with dread. Well, she’s here, and her annoying, obviously evil behavior was making me twitch, and reminding me that the writing and characterization in the first book were not the best. But we then got to the twist, and I also remembered that yeah, the author’s ideas are what’s worth remembering. They work well.
Miku is settling in at the guild, and going on fun errands with Macro, who talks bluntly but she can see the good in him. Unfortunately, she’s almost immediately kidnapped and taken off in a cart. There she meets Laura, a Sound Butterfly girl who can combine her powers with Miku’s to help them escape the gang’s clutches! Back at the guild, it’s revealed to Miku that Laura is the heroine of the game that Claire has always said this is, and that means that Miku is that much closer to dying… especially since Miku has finally realized that she’s fallen in love with Macro! And Laura suddenly declares that she too is in love with Macro (after, oddly, declaring that she’s in love with Ektor and then backtracking on it), and is so sad that she’s going to have to win his heart and have Miku tragically lose! Is Laura really as evil as she seems?
No, thankfully, though it took me a while to cotton on. I’ve seen this sort of heroine before, in I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss, and I assumed Laura was similar to Lilia, in that she can’t see the events as anything but achievements in a game. And to be fair, Laura is doing her level best to be as evil-sounding as possible, just to turn everyone against her. Laura’s true identity works much better, and also allows Miku to be able to change her fate and survive. That said, this book still has a Miku-shaped hole in the middle of it. She’s very nice, and I admired her resolve towards the end, but she’s just not as affecting to m as she should be. The same applies to Claire and Ektor, whose not-romance is thuddingly predictable in the best “Th-there’s no way I’m interested in this jerk!” way.
This is the final volume, so I will not have to stretch my memory come next October. I do recommend reading the series for its interesting take on “villainess” books and point of view, but it feels like a series by someone whose writing still has room to improve.