The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System, Vol. 2

By Mo Xiang Tong Xiu and Xiao Tong Kong (Velinxi). Released in China as “Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong” on the JJWXC website. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Faelicy & Lily.

I will give credit to Shen Qingqiu, he proves to be slightly better than Katarina when it comes to figuring out affection. That said, the love interests in My Next Life as a Villainess are also perhaps not quite as Luo Binghe, who spends much of the 2nd book on a roaring rampage of revenge, because it turns out that Shen Yuan can try to change the plot and characterization all he wants, but this book is still mostly running on the rails it was supposed to. This is not good news for Shen Qingqiu, who now has to deal with his character’s supposedly evil backstory (though signs point to some of this being a load of hogwash) and being suspected of causing a plague. Possibly worst of all, Shang Qinghua has prepared the secret restoring magical doodad far, far ahead of schedule, meaning that in order for it to do anything there will need to be a prison break.

I will admit, this book is not quite as wall-to-wall funny as the first volume, mostly as the plot is a lot more serious and Luo Binghe is a lot less sweet. That said, when the humor hits it hits hard. Shen Qingqiu’s reaction on seeing Luo Binghe once more was my first lough out loud moment, but there are many throughout, especially as he learns how the rest of the world views his relationship with Luo Binghe – i.e. much the same way fans do here, writing epic sagas and touching songs about their gay love. Shen Yuan is still somewhat horrified by this, and screams about the fact that the hero of a stallion novel has still not bedded a single woman. I will admit that seeing the extent of Luo Binghe’s… devotion to his master goes from disturbing to hilarious to disturbing again. I suspect romance will have to wait for Book 3.

One of the minor plot points I’m really enjoying is seeing the development of some of the women in the cast. In the original novel, they are there as basically notches on Luo Binghe’s bedpost, but the changing timeline… as well as Luo Binghe being in love with his master… means that they’re allowed to go different places. Sometimes this is not always for their betterment – Sha Hualing goes from the popular and arrogant harem boss to a harried office lady pretty quick. Ning Yingying, though, has really blossomed from the somewhat vapid childhood friend she was supposed to be, and her defense of Shen Qingqiu no matter what is really heartwarming. If there’s one downside, it’s that the character of the “system”, which provided so much of the laughs in Book 1, is far more sporadic and muted here. That said, it’s hard to character develop what is essentially Clippy.

The main reason to get this book, even above the humor and the character development, is the readability – it absolutely flies by. Perhaps in Book 3 we’ll even get a mutual kiss.

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