Heavenly Swords of the Twin Stars, Vol. 1

By Riku Nanano and cura. Released in Japan as “Sōsei no Tenken Tsukai” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Stephanie Liu.

This was one of two titles that recently came out that I’m reading because I like the other series that the author has released over here. Private Tutor to the Duke’s Daughter is from the same writer and artist as this series (and indeed is from the same publisher), and it’s always a big highlight when I read it, despite mostly being a collection of harem tropes with a subplot of cool battle scenes. This new series is the inverse, it’s a cool battle series with a subplot of romance. (I assume it will eventually be a harem, but right now there’s only two love interests, the one on the cover and the one who will lose.) The two series don’t really have all that much in common, besides a lead guy who downplays every single accomplishment he’s ever had. Unfortunately, may I’m just not a fan of these Chinese-inspired fantasy combat books, but I found this series a lot duller than his first.

One thousands years ago, Kou Eihou and his comrade Ou Eifuu helped the Emperor to conquer nearly the entire land. Unfortunately, the emperor died seven years ago, and now Kou Eihou has been branded a traitor and has a “wanted dead or dead” warrant out for him, so, after a farewell to his friend, he leaps off a tall cliff into icy waters. In the present day, Sekiei is the “freeloader” (his terms) or adopted-in-all-but-name son (everyone else’s terms) of the great general Chou Tairan. He was found as a child, having murdered the bandits who killed his parents, and was taken in when Tairan’s daughter Hakurei insisted that he be taken with them. Now she’s a gorgeous young woman with incredible sword skills, and he’s a guy who just wants to be a civil official. despite the fact that he’s Kou Eihou’s reincarnation, and his sword and strategy skills are still there with him.

The downside to this book, honestly, is that there is not a single beat that cannot be predicted by the reader before it happens. Hakurei is skilled, but no match for her “brother”, who she has a massive tsundere crush on. Before the book begins, Sekiei was sent to the big city to learn, and ended up saving the live of a merchant girl, who is both brilliant and madly in love with him. If I asked you to describe her for me, you’d have a few ideas, and “girl who looks really young except for her big breasts” is indeed the correct answer. It’s stuff the author wanted to play around with, rather than a really strong idea. On the bright side, the fight scenes are at least well handled, and given they’re the bulk of the book, that’s a good thing. Sekiei rates about a 6 or 7 on the Kirito scale, but that’s tolerable enough for me, and he and Hakurei make a good team when she’s not doing the equivalent of “it’s not like I did it for you, OK?” all the time.

If you like military fantasy, or silver-haired tsunderes, this is a decent read. I might just stick with Duke’s Daughter, though.

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