The Evil Queen’s Beautiful Principles, Vol. 1

By Reia and Haduki Futaba. Released in Japan as “Akutoku Joo no Kokoroe” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Airship. Translated by Gigi Li. Adapted by Abigail Clark.

Even if it didn’t also have the same artist as well, I think that readers of this new series will quickly realize that the author is the same as Accomplishments of the Duke’s Daughter. In fact, the author straight up admits that the idea for this series came about when she thought “what if Iris’ world had magic?”. The book tries not to go along the same lines, and indeed Luxeria’s story is a lot darker and more tragic than Iris’ (well, at least Iris rewriting her own story). But after the time skip, you gradually see that this is another woman who likes to surround herself with super competent servants and colleagues who she has also, in adventures we hear about but do not see, “recruited” from various circumstances. And there’s also a lot of “how do we create a better, more equal kingdom” worldbuilding here, as everyone knows that things need to change but actually making those changes is difficult and takes a while. That said… yeah, this is darker than Duke’s Daughter.

We open with our protagonist, Luxeria, stabbing her groom with a sword on their wedding day in front of the rest of the wedding party. We then track back a bit to see how we got to that point. Young Luxeria is commanded by her family to go live in a tower by herself. She’s delighted by this, as her overpowered magic allows her to see into people’s hearts (and also mind control them a bit), and she dislikes how it makes others uncomfortable. She’s supplied with a maid, the one girl out there who seems to be immune to Luxeria’s powers, and the two settle in and become good friends. Unfortunately, this kingdom is a monarchy but also has five strong marquess houses that have a lot of power. This means that they make an attempt on her life, put the maid into a coma, and kill her parents, the king and queen. Kinda sucks. Oh yes, and she’s a Japanese reincarnation, because of course she is.

I was expecting this to be a typical villainess book where the evil is just a bunch of misunderstandings, but no, Luxeria is out for revenge on those who killed her family and is determined to exact it. Of course, she does not want to exact her revenge while also destroying the country, which is where all that worldbuilding I mentioned above comes in. Actually, I think a flaw in this volume is that I want things to go a bit more slowly. We meet several of her underlings here, but the story of how she got them to work for her instead of against her (her main spy was trying to kill her, in fact) is not told here, but instead we just get a “ha ha yeah those were the days”. The relationship between her and her tragic groom is… also not handled well, mostly as he’s barely in the book. The relationship between her and her maid Alicia is the best thing about the book, and I hope the trust the two have in each other is not broken in the second half.

This was apparently not as long as Duke’s Daughter, so will wrap up in the next volume. I’d recommend it for fans of the earlier series, or for those who want a complete set of villainess books featuring characters called Alicia, of which there are many.

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