The Oblivious Saint Can’t Contain Her Power: Forget My Sister! Turns Out I Was the Real Saint All Along!, Vol. 1

By Almond and Yoshiro Ambe. Released in Japan as “Mujikaku Seijo wa Kyō mo Muishiki ni Chikara o Tare Nagasu: Imadai no Seijo wa Anede wa Naku, Imōto no Watashi Datta Mitai Desu” by Earth Star Luna. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Dawson Chen.

Sometimes a title can work against you. When I first saw this title, which (as with so many other light novel titles out these days) describes the plot, I focused on the words “oblivious” as a personality trait of the heroine, and was expecting something along the lines of Bakarina or Villainess Level 99. This is, however, definitely not that kind of book. It’s not on the level of I Swear I Won’t Bother You Again! (the gold standard of dark villainess tragedies), but this is definitely one of the more serious “disgraced noble” books, and the main obstacle through much of it is the heroine’s own self-loathing due to years and years of abuse and neglect. It ends up being… good. It’s very readable. It does, however, have quite a few problems, one of which is also directly linked to its title: this book gives away almost everything it’s going to do long before it does it.

Carolina Sanchez has had a rough life. Her mother died shortly after she was born, and her older sister has never forgiven her for this. Carolina has “good, but not great” grades, and no magic, whereas her older sister is the Saint, one with great magic potential who can heal people. Her father is remote. And now their kingdom has gotten into trouble with the far more powerful Empire, so they need to marry someone off to make amends. Marry someone off to the second prince, who ha a reputation of being a bloodthirsty psychopath. And we’re not going to marry off the very important Saint, are we? Enter Carolina, who is railroaded into this. Fortunately, this ends up being fantastic for her… well, mostly. There are multiple attempts on her life. But I mean, compared to where she started the book, it’s fantastic. It is, however, very bad for her older sister, who finds she is far, far less powerful now that her “magicless” sister is far away.

Carolina is a nice person who is dealing with having to have self-worth for the first time in her life, and I like her as a heroine. Certainly the supposedly bloodthirsty prince (who turns out to be a sweetie) falls in love with her almost instantly. That said… this book telegraphs its punches something awful. At the end of the first volume, none of the characters have figured out that the Oblivious Saint Can’t Contain Her Power, only the readers and the writer know. Which is honestly frustrating, not cool. I kept yelling “test her for magic again! Come on!” Instead we get hints, which… we know. Why are you hinting about something you literally told us in the title? (And yes, the Japanese says the same thing.) We also get told about the power struggle going on between the two princes, which is mainly because the prince who should rule is magically sick and will be dying soon. UNLESS… there’s an oblivious saint around! This is also not resolved or hinted at, but is obvious.

I enjoyed reading the characters, though again even the backstory for her guard was predictable. Recommended for those who don’t mind reading something where you know everything that happens before it does.

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