Though I Am an Inept Villainess: Tale of the Butterfly-Rat Body Swap in the Maiden Court, Vol. 2

By Satsuki Nakamura and Kana Yuki. Released in Japan as “Futsutsuka na Akujo dewa Gozaimasu ga: Suuguu Chouso Torikae Den” by Ichijinsha Novels. Released in North America by Airship. Translated by Tara Quinn.

I want to be able to talk about the rest of the cast when I review these books. After all, it can’t ALL be about Reirin. I could talk about Keigetsu, and how my opinion of her went way, way up with this book, when we finally get to delve deeply into how she’s being used as a tool. I could discuss the wonderful flashback showing us Kenshuu and Gabi, which takes a mystery with a rather obvious culprit and turns it into a sad tragedy. I could mention Leelee, who goes from reluctant servant and straight man to … well, less reluctant servant and straight man, to be fair, but she does it beautifully. Hell, even the prince, who is literally said to be most appealing to Rinrin when he’s weak and pathetic, manages to carry off some really good moments. That said, all of this is going to have to get around the insurmountable wall that is Reirin, because OH MY GOD, Reirin.

We pick up immediately where we left off at the end of the first volume. Someone else may have figured out that Reirin is in Keigetsu’s body, but that does not really help things because there’s far more to it than just that. Even if Keigetsu was willing to undo the bodyswap and blithely go off to get tortured and executed, it rapidly becomes clear that, as with Leelee, someone is manipulating things behind the scenes to make sure that, somehow, Reirin dies. And when that doesn’t happen, we actually get a worse outcome, as the next in line for vengeance is the Empress herself. Can Reirin manage to fix things so that no one dies – not her, not the Empress, not Keigetsu, not even the actual culprit? And can she do this despite almost everyone now realizing that she’s in the wrong body?

Last time I wondered how on earth this was going to be spun out into an entire volume given that the secret was out, and kudos to the author for managing to do it. It helps that we would honestly read 89 volumes of this if it meant to got to experience the tornado that is Reirin some more. Her attempts to pretend to be Keigetsu are laughable, especially as she is describing herself as a villainess, but by the end of the book it’s pointed out that she really *is* one – in that she has everyone wrapped around her finger with no idea that that’s what she’s doing. Including the two hottest men in the palace. She may be most attracted to Gyoumei when he’s pathetic, but we love Reirin most when she’s being strong, righteous, and kickass. You get the sense that the reason she’s so desperately ill all the time is that without that handicap, she’d have taken over the world by now. And filled it with potatoes.

The original story ended with this volume, but apparently it was such a success that the author is continuing it with more, and I’m glad, even as I know that this will likely mean more bad things happening to our heroine. Oh well, at least she has a friend now, in addition to her cadre of family and attendants who would absolutely die for her if she asked them. The friend is more important.

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