Reign of the Seven Spellblades, Vol. 4

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 Andrew Cunningham.

First of all, the big news regarding this 4th volume in the series is that it actually manages to come to a logical conclusion that feels like the end of a volume, as opposed to the last two volumes, where the ending was just “finish the page you’re writing now and we’ll send a courier to pick it up”. That said, the events of the first three books are not forgotten, and have great impact on the 4th, as our heroes start their second year at Kimberly. Everyone is also growing up; our second years are sixteen, and there is a lot of discussion of sex here, why and how it should happen, and who to watch out for. It’s considered as a rite of passage rather than a shameful act. That said, events from the previous book also leave Oliver a bit… pent-up, shall we say. Fortunately, one of his friends notices this and helps him out in a scene that is actually really well written and well characterized. Further, deponent sayeth not.

Aside from talk of sex and relief from sex-based spells, there’s a lot of magical academy stuff going on here as well. We get new teachers, including one with the improbable name of Ted Williams, who stuns the entire cast by being a reasonable, normal instructor. Nanao excels in her broom-riding sport, so much so that she’s promoted to the upper-year senior league… where she finds, for once, someone she can’t blow her way past with natural talent. The kids all go out to the local town, something that takes up the back half of the book, where they get into fights with rival schools, experience the terror of British food, and deal with a mysterious man who keeps assaulting magicians. With all this going on, will Oliver finally find time to get around to why he’s actually there?

On Twitter I posted a poll asking how everyone thought the books would end: with the main cast in a polycule, or with the main cast all dead? Unsurprisingly, the poll was almost dead even, because really both options seem likely. Leaving aside Oliver and Nanao’s deep chemistry, and Nanao’s desire to want to fight him to the death (I’m hoping for redefining death in a future book), it’s pretty clear that Chela also likes Oliver a lot. Pete, of course, is also falling for Oliver. Guy and Katie have that vague R*n and H*rmoine vibe, but honestly that feels like one of the least likely, at least until Guy gets his act together. As for the death part, well, come on, look at the school. If nothing else, I’m fairly certain Oliver’s plan is not going to go swimmingly all the way to the end. Especially since his next target has taken a special interest in Pete…

I haven’t even mentioned half the things going on here – these books are very dense, and there’s a lot going on. If you enjoy magical academy stories and don’t mind them being darker and more adult than the typical light novel fare, this is still a must read.

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