The Genius Prince’s Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt (Hey, How About Treason?), Vol. 8

By Toru Taba and Falmaro. Released in Japan as “Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saisei Jutsu ~Sou da, Baikoku Shiyou~” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jessica Lange.

You get the sense that towards the end of this series, whenever it does end (the 11th volume is out in Japan), it’s going to involve a Big East vs. West battle, with Natra in the middle of it. In a way, that’s what we’ve been getting for a while in a political way – both the Empire (and particularly Lowellmina) and the West’s religious Alliance (with Caldmellia trying to use Wein for her own amusement and to make him suffer). And, fair to Caldmellia, we almost get that here as well. We get Wein accused of murder – again – and needing to clear his name, we get one of the West’s nations invading the merchant city on the border, which comes as quite a surprise to its own leader; and we get introduced to the Holy King Silverio, who at first looks to just be a propr being held up so that the real villain can work behind the scenes, but in reality is… well, terrifying. Can Wein think his way out of this?

We also, though it’s more of a teaser for later books, get a better look at the Flahm. They’ve always been an odd combination of albinos, black slaves and Japanese burakumin, but here we see that they’re not a united front, as several in their faction feel they need as many positions of power as they can get to prevent the tide turning against them again. The other viewpoint, which includes Ninym, is that they should fill positions with their best people more than just warm bodies, and in any case she has no interest in regaining their old kingdom but wants to do what’s best for Natra. There’s also a really sweet moment when, after seeing wein asleep in their carriage on the way to the conference, she kneels down and snuggles up against him. This is also pretty bittersweet as well – Ninym does not feel she can ever explicitly show her love as it can’t ever happen. I hope we can find a way to fix that.

We also get to have my other favorite character, Falanya, come along to the conference this time around, mostly to continue to make valuable connections. I suspect the biggest will be her meeting Felite – it does get a color page, after all – but it’s also interesting to see the back and forth between her and her adviser, the “formerly evil” Sirgis. He’s being genuinely helpful and showing her how to be more politically savvy (yes, memorizing all those faces and names really is important), but he also wants revenge on Wein, and a throne war is the way that he’s going to try to get it. Falanya says that if he tries to turn her against her brother she’ll cut him loose, but I have a suspicion she’s going to find that a lot harder to do than she thinks. We’ve been setting up brother vs. sister since Book 4, and I can’t wait.

So another solid book in the series, which currently has an anime racing through its first books at a very rapid pace. It won’t get to this one this season, but perhaps if it gets another…

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  1. > We’ve been setting up brother vs. sister since Book 4, and I can’t wait.

    (long think) And now we know how the series will end. Go back to the beginning of Volume 3 and read the story of the founding of Natra again. Two princes, both competent, set against each other by a father who feared the both. They want to cooperate, but everyone else wants to set them against each other. Finally one prince does something terrible to save the kingdom, destroying his own faction in the process, and his brother secretly aids him in founding Natra in exchange. This series is going to end with Falanya as the ruler of Natra, and Wein is “forced” into exile but really he’s going to found some new country with Ninym as his queen. Well, uh, try to act surprised when we get there.

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