Reign of the Seven Spellblades, Vol. 8

By Bokuto Uno and Miyuki Ruria. Released in Japan as “Nanatsu no Maken ga Shihai suru” by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

I have grown used to this series casually killing people off. It’s easy to guess when they’re one of the people on Oliver’s hit list, but we’ve also seen the glorious death of Diana Ashbury and others. The author knows this, of course, and plays with it throughout this book, making me assume once or twice that we were going to see yet another tragic student fate. Because, well, every student at this academy has a mission just as important to them as Oliver’s, a mission that they will kill for (OK, maybe not Guy, I can’t see Guy turning into an instrument of vengeance), and that unfortunately a lot of these goals and missions end prematurely and in death. It’s the nature of how they’re being taught in this academy that, frankly, takes sink or swim to all-new heights. It doesn’t help that – again – this volume ends with no epilogue or cooldown, just a climactic final scene and then the end.

The combat league continues, but there’s a more important issue to deal with: Godfrey’s sternum bone has been stolen by Cyrus, and without it his abilities are down to about 1/20th what they should be. No, this is still enough for him to slip through the early rounds of this tournament, but he needs that bone back if he’s going to get further – or win the election. And so everyone who is supporting him in the election, including our heroes, go on a journey to find Cyrus and get the bone back. Along the way they discover exactly WHY Cyrus is going around stealing everyone’s bones, and it will come as no surprise to find that it’s not because he’s just a giant jerk, but because of a life goal he has to achieve.

Fans of Spellblades will find a lot of things they like in this, including the fact that every single time Oliver and Nanao converse with each other at all, it’s interpreted by everyone else as “flirting” – much to the annoyance of Katie and Pete, the others in his unwanted harem. (I say again, poor Guy, who has so many issues. He’s the least developed character of the six, he’s clearly being paired off with Katie but she likes Oliver, and he’s R*n W**sl*y in all but name.) There are also some truly fantastic fights, and we get to spend time with the badass Lesedi Ingwe and the badass but also hilarious Tim Linton. That said, the best part of the book is Cyrus and why he’s doing this, and the final pages are really well handled. To say more would be to spoil.

I have no idea what’s going to happen next, thanks to this volume ending so abruptly. I assume more combat league stuff, as you can’t really drag a tournament arc on too long… (stares nervously at The Asterisk War)… right?

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