Altina the Sword Princess, Vol. 12

By Yukiya Murasaki and himesuz. Released in Japan as “Haken no Kouki Altina” by Famitsu Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Roy Nukia.

This volume is divided into two parts; the main story, which runs to a little over half of it, and a side story showing us what Jerome has been doing since he left Altina’s side. Gonna be honest, I’m far more interested in the former than the latter, so let’s get Jerome out of the way. He and his men are at the front, where the attacking nation is the one whose beloved princess was just murdered by Latrielle. The main fortress should not have an issue taking them on, but there’s a problem with a small, remote fortress that is trying to protect a city of older folks and kids. What to do? Have Jerome go over there and take charge. This whole section was meant to show off how badass he is, and there is some of that, but mostly it showed me that if a woman is not Altina he will happily punch her unconscious. I’m happy to leave him at that front.

The main storyline starts with Regis managing to reunite with Altina (and thus preventing a bloody battle, as she was quite ready to go to total war over his alleged death). Unfortunately, despite his best efforts with the rumors going around about patricide, he’s unable to prevent the coronation, meaning the dream of Altina ruling the Empire is dead. That said, Altina does not seem particularly put out by this, partly because she’s a bit of a meathead, but also because as long as she can continue to strive towards her ideals she’s fine taking whatever role. That said, she may not have been expecting the role she ends up being given: Latrielle, somewhat backed into a corner by Altina’s feats of war heroism and the presence of Regis (who he tried to have murdered, if you recall) at her side, makes her the head of most of the army.

The most striking scene in the book is probably Latrielle ascending the stairs to his coronation while being haunted by everyone that he had to murder in order to achieve it. There’s a very Shakespearean quality to him, complete with a seemingly tragic past love. He’s mostly blind, still somewhat wounded, and the man he fears could lead to his downfall pops up fine and dandy with the fourth AND third royals at his side. Macbeth never quite had this many obstacles. I did also like the occasional stabs at humor, the best of which was Regis realizing that he forgot to write his sister and let them know he wasn’t dead, and that the fake headless body was even shipped to her. That’ll go well. That said, even the author admits that this book is mostly setup for a new arc, as Altina and Regis head to the south to a new battlefield… with an incognito Britannia princess in their cargo.

And then there’s the cliffhanger, as a woman I’d honestly totally forgotten about pops up asking for help. Altina continues to be a strongly written military fantasy… provided it stays away from misogynistic warriors.

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