The Intrigue of Marielle Clarac

By Haruka Momo and Maro. Released in Japan as “Marielle Clarac no Mitsubou” by Ichijinsha Bunko Iris NEO. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Philip Reuben.

At last Marielle and Simeon are married, and can go on a honeymoon. Of course, this being a Marielle Clarac book, the honeymoon does not go very smoothly. Indeed, this may be the quintessential Marielle Clarac books. From the moment that we see pirates boarding the steamer they’re taking on their journey, you know you’re in for a heaping helping of drama and thrills. There’s no sunken pirate gold, but we do get the Flauberts (Marielle is now married, of course, but the series will keep her maiden name for branding reasons) accused of smuggling, a pirate cove, and a speedboat chase without the actual speedboats. In the midst of all this, they are settling into married life – Simeon is noticeably less critical of Marielle in this book, and she… well, no, she’s as fangirlish as ever, particularly when Simeon, for lack of any other weapon at hand, uses a whip on someone trying to abduct her. The world bends itself to play to her fetishes.

After finishing the wedding and finally consummating their relationship (we don’t see it, of course, but Marielle does note that she needs to build up her stamina to keep up with her husband), Marielle and Simeon are traveling to a southern island to meet his grandfather. Unfortunately, they have several problems ensue. There’s a crabby young man on board the ship, a distant relative of Simeon’s who seems t despise him. There’s a girl with him who seems to despise Marielle, though that’s likely just because she’s married to a hot guy. There are pirates and smuggling fiascos, which I mentioned before. And there are threats of spies from a neighboring country that is trying to get its hands on some modern guns from the Flauberts’ home country. Can all these problems be resolved without Marielle getting abducted more than twice? Well, no, probably not.

First of all, and sorry for the spoiler, I was very surprised that Lutin was not appearing as usual. Perhaps he really has moved on. That said, in his place we get a far more evil version of him. As with previous books in this series, the thriller works better than the mystery – the villain was not hard to guess. I also admit, I grow weary of everyone constantly belittling Marielle’s appearance, especially as the artwork does not really bear that out at all. I guess brown hair + glasses = ugly in this world. It doesn’t help that Marielle does the same thing in her own narration. There is also some amusing comedy in this book, mostly revolving around Sasha, a “pirate” who in reality turns out to be a bratty teenage islander, and his blunt interactions with Marielle and Simeon.

Marielle ends up with several ideas for a new book of hers, which makes sense given that she went through a fun, if stereotypical, adventure. Fans of romantic thrillers… especially lengthy ones, this is quite a hefty book compared to other Heart titles… will be quite pleased.

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  1. Ah yes, this is a great series. It’s probably the only stereotypical ‘shoujo’ style series that i would recommend to other guys simply because the characters are great and the author has managed to craft a living, breathing world while at the same time having that world parody, in some form or another, just about every trope and cliche in the genre.

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