I Refuse to Be Your Enemy!, Vol. 3

By Kanata Satsuki and Mitsuya Fuji. Released in Japan as “Watashi wa Teki ni Narimasen!” by PASH! Books. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Tara Quinn.

For the most part, while reading this series, it’s fairly easy to simply ignore that it’s meant to be a “villainess otome” book at all. Yes, Kiara’s memories of the game do sometimes come in very handy, but they don’t always match, as she’s altered the world too much for them to be the same. That said, there is one big subplot that is very dependent on Kiara’s original role being the villainess who gets killed off. Kiara is no longer filling that role and so it has to be filled by SOMEONE. And so we see a lot more of Ada, the spellcaster who uses fire we briefly saw in the second book. After Kiara ran away, she was next in line to be married off to the frog-faced noble and turned into a weapon, and boy is she angry about it. It’s an interesting reminder that this fantasy military action-adventure still runs on otome game rules, which means you still need a villainess no matter who it is.

As for our original villainess, now turned heroine, she’s doing pretty well here. While still not wanting to directly kill anyone, one battle sequence shows that she’s come to terms with indirectly doing it, in a chilling reminder of how deadly Earth Magic can be when used cleverly. Reggie’s army is slowly moving towards the capital, though it needs to make a few detours (farmers have a limited amount of time to cultivate, and they would like to have their land back). Things are mostly quiet on the romance front with Reggie, but that’s just because this is Cain’s book – he’s her bodyguard and has a crush, and starts to come on strong before being told that Kiara really is not ready to think about this sort of thing (she never dealt with love in her previous life, either). And there’s another surprise… Reggie can use magic?

Fortunately at least one of the pair of doomed lovers has decided to be less doomed – Kiara is taking more care of herself here – well, a bit more, but it’s visible – and no longer seems quite as willing to throw her life away for Reggie. The same cannot be said of him, unfortunately. Hearing about the fate of his game self seems to have given him a big case of “I’m living on borrowed time anyway”, and trying to hide the aftereffects of the wound he got last book is not really helping anyone in the long run. In particular, he’s clearly jealous of Cain and his closeness to Kiara, but almost seems to be giving up rather than fighting back. His fatalism had better change in the next book. Giving Kiara an evil counterpart who’s obsessed with him might help – all the setup for that is in this volume.

I never really have as much to say about these books. They’re so straightforward and serious – I believe I counted two jokes, which were admittedly quite funny – and they don’t give much to overanalyze. They’re just a good yarn. And this is the halfway point of the series, so I expect things to move even faster next time.

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