The Reincarnated Prince and the Haloed Sage

By Nobiru Kusunoki and Arico. Released in Japan as “Herscherik” by M Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Adam Seacord.

This does not fall into the “Villainess Otome” genre of books – for one thing, Prince Herscherik is absolutely not a villain. Nor is it a game at all, but a real, very messy world that he lives in. But there are certainly otome game elements in the books, and it really has to be said that Herscherik, although male in this universe, is building up quite the reverse harem for himself. In the first book it was the dark assassin, in the second it was the fallen knight. And here, as the title might suggest, it’s the broken mage, a young man who is so beautiful that he’s always mistaken for a woman, and who is inextricably bound to the Church. Now, there is also another tortured soul to be saved in this book. Alas, she’s an assassin when we already have one of those, AND she’s a woman in what is becoming, as I said, a reverse harem. Since she’s not the Haloed Sage, it is not hard to see where her arc is going.

It’s been a few months after the last book, and Herscherik is going to be turning seven soon. Clearly it’s time to marry him off. Or so thinks the evil Grand Vizier… erm, Marquis, who has decided to try to beat that pesky youngest prince by having Hersch marry his daughter Violetta. He also has an older daughter, Jeanne, who basically acts as Violetta’s bodyguard and minder, but she has… a different job she’s doing for him. Surprisingly, the engagement goes fairly well – Hersch is simply incapable of being mean to people who don’t deserve it, and Violetta falls for him hard. He also has to deal with the aforementioned beautiful mage, who he names Shiro (to with with Kuro), who is rather startled that Hersch is not terrified by his magic. (Hersch, who can’t do magic, just thinks he’s cool.) And oh yes, there are still assassination attempts. Will Hersch be able to avoid tragedy? Well, yes but also no.

In this book we finally meet the rest of Hersch’s immediate siblings, and I love the fact that they are all basically on the same page as he is, even though they’re trying to protect him just as he’s trying to protect them. It leads to a lack of communication between the sides, but also shows off that while the royals are dealing with a weak king who is being tortured by his evil Marquis, they’re overall good people who are trying to fix this. The triplets were particularly fun, though I’m not sure having one of the brothers being a tsundere sort really works out. I also loved the part that shows us Ryoko’s life if she had not been run over by a car, which shows off a) how she tended to be overly self-effacing and modest even back in Japan, and also b) she’s very clever at spotting traps.

The book in general is excellent, with occasional suggestions of future events a la Legend of Galactic Heroes. For the moment, however, things are not looking good for Herscerik and his family, and I suspect the fourth book will rapidly reach a crisis point. Till then, absolutely recommended for J-Novel Heart or reincarnation isekai fans.

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