An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride, Vol. 13

By Fuminori Teshima and COMTA. Released in Japan as “Maou no Ore ga Dorei Elf wo Yome ni Shitanda ga, Dou Medereba Ii?” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Hikoki.

This is a long book. I’m not sure if it’s the longest in the series, but it has to be pretty close. Which is good, as the whole book is basically one giant battle scene, and length gives me more things to attempt to talk about other than “mmm, fight good”. It helps that we see pretty much the entire cast here, heroes, villains, and the morally grey area in between that is the majority of the group. Shere Khan finally gets a chance to try to be the Big Bad, but in the end he still manages to be upstaged by Bifrons. You know it’s bad when the villain is looking back at the one good deed they did once. We also finally – finally – get the explanation for Zagan’s past, and who his parents are. That said, in the end we learn the real reason for all of this, the reason Zagan fought back so harshly – and it’s hilarious.

Things are not in a good place at the start of the book. Nephteros is possessed AND dying, the worst combination. Richard is in a coma, Stella is in a coma, and it’s gotten to the point where they even have to abandon the castle, or at least hide it in an alternate dimension. Gremory is missing and possibly dead, and there is also the slight problem of all the resurrected heroes who are on Shere Khan’s side. To fight back they’re going to need absolutely everyone… though possibly not Chastille, who they are trying to prevent finding out about Nephteros in case it triggers her crybabay side. (They really should know better). Can they save Nephteros? Can they save Aristella? Can they deal with all these people coming back from the dead with close connections to the entire cast? And will they be able to celebrate another birthday?

There are a large number of cool scenes, as you’d expect from a book like this. Everyone gets a chance to do awesome things, either by being powerful (Foll, Kimaris) or by being “the heart” (Nephy, Chastille). If there’s a downside to the book, it’s that Shere Khan, by his very nature, can’t really do much once Zagan reaches him except die. The entire book is about trying to stop Zagan getting to him, and once he does, the book is basically over. The biggest surprise, though, may be Bifrons. He was so busy being evil and sneering that I forgot that he was also a sorcerer trying to do something that no other sorcerer had ever done, and if that means he ends up being the man who saves the day and makes everything better, trust me, that’s just a side effect. Good for you, Bifrons. Now please stay dead.

This very much has a feeling of “this is the final book in the series”, but there’s more on the way. We’ll see what it can do next – isn’t Alshiera still dying? In any case, fans of the series should be very satisfied with this one.

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