The Holy Crown of Marielle Clarac

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

While they have not realized they are in a series of fictional romance novels, the cast of the Marielle Clarac books have certainly figured out what’s going on around the heroine. Even with Simeon trying his best to keep Marielle away from anything remotely resembling danger and excitement, it always finds its way to her. What’s more, things can’t even be kept secret from her – she’s far too clever and makes too many connections, guessing the plot at times before it can even be explained to her. Fortunately for Marielle, though unfortunately for her husband, most of the actual physical injuries in this book happen to her husband. This is not to say that Marielle is not in peril, as she is, constantly, through much of this book. But, having knifed her in the arm in the last book, the author is content to emotionally abuse her by having Simeon shot, then go off a cliff, then get shot AGAIN. Again: potboiler.

Things that were simmering in the previous volumes are still simmering, as there’s war going on between two neighboring countries. No, Marielle isn’t going there – instead she’s off to the funeral of a very old relative of Simeon’s, who lived a long, happy life but who needs her, since Simeon can’t make it, to pay respects. Then… stuff happens. There’s a torrential rain, which causes a lot of the nearby commoners to be evacuated to the vicinity. Then Simeon DOES show up, along with the prince, as they’re looking for a missing royal… in fact, he’s the heir to the throne of Orta, though the monarchy was overthrown a couple of decades ago. Then some old enemies show up. Then the missing heir loses his memory. And then there’s the matter of the missing holy crown, which is the standard “we won’t believe you’re the heir without this” item. Is there a way to resolve everything without it all revolving around Marielle?

Well, no, but who wants to read a book where Marielle just hears about things afterward? She even muses that life has been too good to her lately, as someone who is unfamiliar with her treats her poorly and it makes her feel nostalgic. That said, as I noted, most of Marielle’s issues in this book are emotional rather than physical. She’s still seen as much younger than her age, and worries that Simeon is treating her like that as well, especially when they get in an argument midway through the book. She’s thinking about children, and wonders whether a boy or a girl would be easier for the noble succession/peace of mind (delete where applicable). And seeing Simeon is peril, and at one point not waking up after a horrible fall, makes her break down completely – for all her intellectual savvy and quick wit, Marielle is still very innocent at heart, and was not ready to see the love of her life near death.

All this and Lutin too. And he may stick around for the 8th book, which does not have a release date here yet but promises to finally have us meet the crown princess’s royal fiancee. That’ll go well, I’m sure. Safe and fun. In the meantime, if you love silly adventure stories, this is right up your alley.

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