The Drab Princess, the Black Cat, and the Satisfying Break-Up, Vol. 2

By Rino Mayumi and Machi. Released in Japan as “Jimihime to Kuroneko no, Enman na Konyaku Haki” by M Novels F. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Evie Lund.

Last time, I mentioned that we’d gone an entire novel without having the satisfying break-up of the title. Well, I’ve just finished the second volume, and I have some bad news for you. Now, this is not entirely bad. The scenes dealing with Prince Helios, how Seren thinks he feels about her and Marietta, how he *actually* feels about her and Marietta, and the fact that he’s really starting to mature and come into his own now lend a nice air of anticipatory horror to the whole thing. Helios isn’t a bad guy, just a teen who was overheard once at the exact wrong time and it’s going to destroy his life. That said, that’s about 15% of this book. The other 85% is Serena and Viol being adorable at each other while he teaches her magic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cute, and they make a good not-yet-couple. It’s just compared to the underlying tension it feels a bit… dull?

The exam to become a High Mage is not that far away, so it’s time for Viol (or his alternate self/cat familiar Vi) to train Marietta to do better and better things. It helps that she’s a complete genius who picks up on everything much faster than he anticipates, to the point where he has to forbid her from learning how to FLY for fear she’ll try too hard and injure herself. Instead, they sneak out of her mansion and go to find magical beasts to destroy, so that she can gain experience. Which is good, because she really does show off that she’s unused to this, being terrified on her first encounter with one, and her magic therefore not being as strong as usual. But she improves, very quickly, and all is going well. Including her feelings for Viol, and Viol’s feelings for her. Now if they could only tell each other…

So yeah, it turns out that what this really is is one of the current genre of “sweet and syrupy romance” books, with a side order of magical creatures. Seren can’t stop staring at Viol, or thinking about how to please him, and near the end of this book realizes that she’s fallen in love with him. She’s also fully made her decision to become a High Mage and not the Queen, which is all very well and good but she really needs to tell someone about it. Viol loves Seren and sweets, in that order, and sort of suspects that Helios still likes her, but is certainly not going to try to fix things on his own. The result is a book where the high tension is surrounded by fluff. That said, I do really like the minor subplot of bringing more women into the “salons” that the noble men attend. Even if Seren does misread the reason, it’s good to see that for once we have a group of nobles and none of them are sexist dickheads! What are the odds?

There’s certainly more to this story – the author is still writing it as a webnovel. That said, these are the only two books to come out in print in Japan – two more seem to be digital-only. In any case, I really, REALLY hope that the break-up is dealt with in Book 3, because there’s only so many times I can read about these two eating sweets, y’know?

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