Though I Am an Inept Villainess: Tale of the Butterfly-Rat Body Swap in the Maiden Court, Vol. 3

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.

In my review of the first volume, I simply didn’t like her, so didn’t talk much about Keigetsu. In the second review I liked her far more, but Reirin basically bulldozed my talking about anything else. But now it’s finally time for me to talk about Keigetsu, now that she’s finally getting a separate plotline of her own. To be fair, the book holds the reader’s hand near the end in case they missed it, pointing out that for all that Keigetsu spends her time whining, complaining, and fretting, she doesn’t run away from anything for more than a few minutes. More importantly for her future in the Court, though, Reirin notices that the amount of magical talent she has to not only bodyswap them without any complications, but do also potentially bodyswap, say, just a hand or an eye, means she has probably more power than anyone else around. She’ll need it, because there’s a new villainess in town, and I don’t mean Reirin.

Reirin and Keigetsu have bodyswapped a few minor times since the end of the second book, and nothing seems to have come of it. But things are a bit too dangerous now for any swapping to take place: the Harvest Festival will be held in the Shu lands, with Keigetsu in charge of hospitality ad also a performance to the Gods. Which is a problem being that everyone in the Shu palace is quitting. Things get worse when you go to the Shu lands themselves – a group of villagers are being riled up to kidnap and torture Keigetsu, in hopes that, because rumor has it her terribleness is the reason for recent bad weather, her murder will mean everything will improve again. All this stress, unfortunately, combined with a double dose of bullying, means Reirin and Keigetsu do bodyswap at the worst possible time. Now Reirin has to fight for her life.

This third book may also run on “who’s in what body?”, but everything has changed now that folks are aware of the possibility – in fact, it leads to many of the funniest moments in the book, as Reirin thinks that her impersonation of Keigetsu is perfect, when in fact it’s utter garbage. She also has stronger allies this time, as one of her brothers comes along for the kidnapping ride, and the Captain of the Eagle Eyes also shows up relatively quickly. Unfortunately, this is not just a matter of Reirin winning over her enemies by “doing it with a bang” – someone really wants the Shu destroyed, and they’re using people who are using other people who are using other people to do it. The cliffhanger is a double one, but for once the threat of half the cast dying of the plague is not as chilling as realizing who the new bad girl in town is.

The author again apologizes for this needing to run to two books to complete the arc. Honestly, I’m glad – this book is already very long, any longer and we’d be getting into Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere territory. Till then, please enjoy Reirin learning what it feels like to live, and Keigetsu learning what one must do to survive. Or vice versa.

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