Reign of the Seven Spellblades, Vol. 2

By Bokuto Uno and Miyuki Ruria. Released in Japan as “Nanatsu no Maken ga Shihai suru” by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Alex Keller-Nelson.

Much to my surprise, after a humdinger of a reveal towards the end of the first book, the second book in the series does not build on that reveal beyond a few ominous scenes. Instead, this book proves to be 100% magical academy adventures. This is not a flaw, as the author is really excellent at writing magical academy adventures. We get broom lore, epic sword and magic duels, wacky classwork, terrifying classwork, and more of The Labyrinth, which is likely going to take up more and more of the books as the series goes on. Here our group of six decides to make a home base inside it, the better to do all the little things they really don’t want others to find out about. Unfortunately, our kids are all Very Special People, and as such have attracted the attention of others. This means even more battles, more secrets revealed, and more magical sword battles. Unfortunately, it also means a nasty cliffhanger.

While Oliver and Nanao continue to be the “protagonists” part of the group of six, the others are getting development, and in this book it’;s Pete and Chela who get it. While I will try not to spoil too much, Pete’s plotline in particular is quite well done, and I liked the fact that everyone was understanding and that he was immediately introduced to a support group of people with similarities. And if it also feels like a “fuck you” to a certain other magical academy book writer, well, all for the better. As for Chela, her plot is tied into her family history and the way magical families work in particular. In my last review I compared her to Rin Tohsaka, and that comparison holds up very well here, even including a younger sister that she’s unable to publicly acknowledge. She continues to be my favorite of the six.

As for others, I am hoping Guy gets a book of his own soon, as he’s currently “the other one”. Katie builds nicely on the first book, and I appreciate her discovery that even groups that supposedly share the same belief as she does are not the sort of groups she wants to be involved with. This society is complex, and changing ingrown prejudices is not going to be as easy as a well-timed lecture to the head. The minor villains in the book include an arrogant not-Italian kid (in the same way Nanao is not-Japanese) who tries to show Oliver why learning the basics is bad, the aforementioned younger sister and her servant/best friend, and another guy who acts the part of an arrogant asshole because he was essentially traumatized into it. In this book, both good and bad guys have a rich characterization to them. Well, except Guy. Sorry, Guy.

The cliffhanger makes me want to read the next in the series right now, but we’ll have to wait a bit. In the meantime,l please read this, it’s one of the best light novel debuts from 2020, and 2021 proves it was not a fluke.

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