Young Lady Albert Is Courting Disaster, Vol. 5

By Saki and Haduki Futaba. Released in Japan as “Albert-ke no Reijō wa Botsuraku o Goshomō Desu” by Kadokawa Beans Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Ray Krycki.

I am pleased to say that the antagonist of this new volume is not a new heroine or villainess fro yet another spinoff of the original game this world is based around. No, we’re going back to first principles here. Remember how this series began in the first place? With Mary Albert trying to cause her own doom because she knew that her family becoming too powerful would lead to bad things within the kingdom? Well, um, she failed, if you recall. And thus, well, her family, as well as Patrick’s, have gotten so insanely powerful, at least in the minds of some of the lesser nobles, that the worry is that soon there be be no need for those lesser nobles. And since attacking Mary Albert has, well, worked very badly for the last four books, it’s time to try to do the next best thing: go after Alicia, who even Mary says lacks any behavior at all that makes her a royal.

I appreciate that this series knows how to have the broadest possible caricatures of characters and yet also use them seriously for plot purposes. One of the best things about Alicia has been that she’s basically a bullheaded puppy who only cares about Mary (and Patrick, if she’s forced to admit it), but now it’s come back to bite her, and seeing her cowed and doing her best to learn manners (even if she’s quickly distracted) is something new. Likewise, Mary’s desires to exile herself and start her own fried migratory bird stand are all very well and good, but there’s a reason that her brothers have been absent from the last four books. We finally meet them… and they’re exactly what you’d expect from a couple of opposite personality twins who are also siscons. If I told you just that sentence, you could write all their dialogue. Marty may not want to be, but this book makes clear she NEEDS to be the next family head.

And she manages to win the day without ever really changing at all. Sure, she does end up giving in and throwing her hat into the succession ring, mostly to save Alicia, but the rousing speech that she gives at the climax amounts to one giant tsundere hair flip, thrown at the (increasingly pathetic) oppositional lords. And there’s even room for the sensible straight men of the series as well. OK, Adi is not always sensible, but he does the detective work here, which involves Mary’s old drill hair, believe it or not. And Patrick and Gainas help to remind everyone WHY Mary is so powerful and influential – every family and house that tries to go up against her becomes an ally, and they all (remotely) rally to her here.

So yes, no worries, Alicia is the princess, and she’s allowed to tackle hug Mary again. And Mary might be the next head of the family, but she’s still far more interested in croquettes and etiquette. Still a very fun series.

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