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.
Again, my favorite part of this series is just out of my reach, which is everything that is happening in it, minus Octavia’s internal blathering. Don’t get me wrong, her narration is not all that annoying once you get used to it, and helps to drive home the fact that 95% of the time she’s improvising desperately rather than having a grand master plan. But I do love seeing her from the outside. Without that narration, she looks exceedingly crafty, mysterious, powerful, and possessed of knowledge that she just should not have. She does not behave the way than anyone thinks she should, her support for her older brother leaves much to be desired, and she comes across as… well, as a villainess. She’s trying to get a fake boyfriend so that she isn’t used as a womb to give her older brother an heir, but to others, she’s… well, trying to become Queen. Which is worrying, given the kingdom’s secret history.
After the revelations of the previous book, Octavia is a lot less keen to make Rust Byrne her fake boyfriend, given who he resembles. Unfortunately, he’s now very interested in her, in particular because she doesn’t react the way almost everyone else has when they see his face. To her surprise, the King is another one who reacted the same way that she did. Unfortunately, as they try to have a chat, traitors are trying something at the party, and have to be put down by armed guards. What are they after? And why is Sil now missing? The answer will draw Octavia into (pardon me, I’m so sorry) a web of mayhem and intrigue. Because there’s a secret room that has a passage to a different, even more secret room. And there are even more traitors there… including Sil? Maybe?
So many villainess books have some variation of “you can’t fight fate” built into them, with the villainess trying hard to change her destiny and the story itself fighting back as much as it can, even when that makes no sense in terms of how reality actually works. Here we see the past starting to repeat itself, despite Octavia’s intentions. And there’s no denying that Queen Idealia, the queen who was written out of history, has a lot in common with her. Hopefully not including being murdered by her brother. And of course there’s also the past of Klifford’s family, which everyone is still boiling mad over. What this means, I suspect, is that at the end of the day everyone’s going to see Octavia finding the tomb of the missing powerful and beloved Queen, discovering the *real* royal crown, and asking her uncle to present it to the King himself but say that she found it, as a massive power ploy. Not exactly what she’s intending.
Basically, if you like gambit pileups and a lot of handsome men, this is a fun little series. I read it for the bits in between the text.