An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride, Vol. 3

By Fuminori Teshima and COMTA. Released in Japan by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Hikoki.

This volume does a much better job than the previous two books at actually having tension during the fights – Zagan actually has to work hard once or twice, which shows you how dangerous things are. Of course, he brought things on himself by walking into what was clearly a trap – something he knew, and which everyone else in his party pointed out, and yet they did it anyway. Our heroes are invited to a luxury boat for a party – something that everyone except Chastille knows does not mean a REAL party – and while there run afoul of another archdemon and his dark elf, who is a carbon copy of Nephy except she’s dark-skinned and supposedly evil. In amongst this we have Zagan and Nephy continuing to be utterly adorable together, and they are getting a little better at reading each other’s feelings. And for those of you who like “an elf’s ears are an arousal point”, you’ll love this one too.

I will admit to surprise that most of the book takes place on the fantasy equivalent of a luxury liner, but why not? Zagan and party go there to see if he can get more knowledge, something that he says is obviously what all sorcerers and archdemons should be doing. Alas, things go south almost immediately and he is forced, along with the rest of the boat, to do battle with a toxic back sludge that is the dregs of a former demon lord who was killed near the lake they’re on. I had wondered if this was going to lead to a demon lord revival, but we aren’t quite there yet. There is quite a bit of interesting worldbuilding in this book, as we get more insight into the different types of fantasy races we have here, and why Nephy was so mistreated by her home village.

There’s also a fair bit of humor, some of which works and some of which I was less thrilled by. Chastille works best when she can balance out the lovesick young girl with the kickass swordswoman, and it’s unfortunately mostly all lovesick this time round, with much narrative mocking of her being a crybaby. This mostly annoyed me, though it did set up a very amusing gag later on with Nephteros. Speaking of Nephteros, I expect to see her again. The ‘dark mirror’ character has been done before, and I was relatively pleased that this wasn’t a clone or duplicate of Nephy but merely someone who looks almost exactly alike. She also carries the ‘I love my master but am horrified to realize he only sees me as a tool’ subplot extremely well. And she also gets the funniest moment in the book, in the final pages, where Zagan not only gets his revenge but weaponizes his revenge and gives it to Nephteros to use as she sees fit.

Basically, this is still a fun and sweet series, and the backstory is getting more intriguing. Less whining from Chastille next time, please? Also, liked the siren chanteuse who also turned out to be a cheerleader.

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