A Tale of the Secret Saint, Vol. 4

By Touya and chibi. Released in Japan as “Tensei Sita Daiseijyo ha, Seijyo Dearuko Towohitakakusu” by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by Airship. Translated by Kevin Ishizaka. Adapted by Matthew Birkenhauer.

I’ve talked before about how this series frequently can’t decide if it’s just pure comedy or if it has true tragedy embedded within it, but in one way it definitely fills the comedy mode, and that’s because the reader is left wondering, after four volumes, how long Fia can possibly be able to keep her reincarnation a secret given how absolutely lousy she is at hiding anything about it? The difficulty is that this is half of the humor (the other half just being Fia in general, unrelated to her past). So I suspect the answer is “it will get revealed right before the series comes to an end”, and it’s still ongoing as both a webnovel and a light novel. So this means I will have to put up with the fact that it is increasingly unbelievable that no one else picks up on this except the OTHER guy who has reincarnated memories. I mean, that’s the gag. It’s just a really belabored gag.

We pick up right where we left off 2/3 of the way through Book 3 (which is to say the end of the main plot), with Fia having to deal with the fact that her former bodyguard from her previous life, Canopus, has regained his memories and is now Captain Kurtis of the Thirteenth knights. Fortunately, he seems willing to go along with whatever she says. UN-fortunately, that’s because he’s just as obsessed with her sainthood as the rest of the Sutherland people, if not more. Things are not helped by the fact of Fia constantly accidentally doing Saint things while completely failing to realize they’re abnormal. The third volume was about the drama that surrounded Cyril and his homeland, but this volume is surrounded by an utter LACK of drama. With Fia around, everything’s fine.

Despite my grousing in the first paragraph, this is still an enjoyable volume, mostly because Fia is so fun and likeable. We’ve seen flashbacks that show that this is not just a function of her past memories interfering with her present ones – she was always like this. So we get things like her trying to explain to the local healer how to make the cure for their deadly disease by essentially saying “here are the ingredients, the actual amounts used are up to you” and having everyone stare at her in a sort of daze. I am slightly less enamored of the additions to her reverse harem, especially as we now have TWO who are a bit too obsessive for my liking, but honestly, Fia’s obliviousness is also something that will probably last until the final volume (and Cyril, let’s face it, has a very big lead on the others). Fortunately, this also ends this arc, so we’ll start a new one in the next volume, possibly involving those color-themed royals from previous books.

This is never going to be in any best of the year lists, but if you like Katarina Claes-types who are also far, far too powerful for their own good, this is definitely one to keep up with.

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