Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World, Vol. 2

By Kei Sazane and Ao Nekonabe. Released in Japan as “Kimi to Boku no Saigo no Senjou, Aruiwa Sekai ga Hajimaru Seisen” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jan Cash.

The days when people were begging for a light novel – any light novel – to be released are long since past. We live in a glut of light novels, with new titles releasing several times a week, and it’s impossible to keep up with them all. This is difficult for someone like me, as I have a very high tolerance when it comes to entertainment. I have started to try to find reasons to drop series so that I don’t have to get even further behind in reading all the other series I read. And, honestly, Our Last Crusade seemed a perfect candidate for this after its second volume. Its plot was OK but not earth-shattering. The women in the book are… not great, particularly in this volume. There are some decent fights, but less of the self-analysis of the respective regimes we saw in the first book beyond “the empire tortures witches”. It seemed like a good place to leave off. Alas, then came the epilogue.

A vortex has appeared in the world, one that can give the right people amazing powers. Unfortunately, it’s desired by both sides. And so once again Iska and Alice are fighting against each other… or so it would seem. But unlike the last book, this time they keep missing each other, turning a Romeo and Juliet-style fated romance into drawing room farce. Most of the emphasis of the book is on Iska’s end, where his battalion has a very rude and uncaring leader and also a traitor, which is not good news for Captain Mismis, who is captured by said traitor. On Alice’s end, there’s a smug masked man and a powerful woman named “Kissing” with a blindfold and an attitude, but mostly there’s just Alice getting very, very annoyed that she isn’t making out with… erm, pardon me, fighting Iska to the death like she should be doing.

I’m gonna be honest here, Alice whining over wanting to fight Iska about every single page is going to get very boring very fast, and given that I suspect that once she gets over this it’s going to turn into “a young maiden in love” I’m not looking forward to future developments. Mismis, also, really really needs to develop beyond a captain who reads more like a mascot, and spending most of the second half of the book captured and in peril does not help. The book doesn’t really slide into being actively annoying or bad… it’s well-written, the pacing is good, and you can simply grump at Alice and Mismis as you go. But it lacks a hook that made me want to read past this volume. Or at least it did till the end. I will not reveal what the two hooks are, but I will say they’re perfectly delivered for maximum “dammit, now I have to get the next book in the series” effect. In particular, I’m cautiously optimistic one of the two issues I had with the book might change because of this? Maybe?

It could also be I’m just a soft touch who’s too easily pleased. But I am hoping that the third book in the series gets a bit more political and also does more with its female leads than having them be cliches.

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