Reborn to Master the Blade: From Hero-King to Extraordinary Squire, Vol. 10

By Hayaken and Nagu. Released in Japan as “Eiyu-oh, Bu wo Kiwameru tame Tensei su. Soshite, Sekai Saikyou no Minarai Kisi ♀” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Mike Langwiser.

This is a big old sucker punch of a book, telling you that straight off the bat. And this is clearly deliberate by the author. The first half or so has us following Inglis and company to meet with the Highland’s leader, so that they can try to get Eris repaired, as well as see whether anything can be done about Rin. And despite the island, erm, falling out of the sky onto the oceans, which is surely not an ominous sign, they have a good time. Then the second half of the book hits, and you are reminded of the earlier volumes in this series, which shows the Highland folks to be horrible monsters. That’s still mostly accurate, it has to be said, though a cliffhanger shows there may be even more inner strife than expected. All of this seems designed to build character – for everyone except Inglis, of course. She doesn’t need character development. She just has to hit things.

For those of you full of hope, I have to make you sad: that cover is an utter lie. Inglis stays in her six-year-old body for the entire book. There *is* a beach scene, and we get Inglis wishing they could do it again when she’s back to normal so that she could get a gorgeous swimsuit, but it doesn’t actually happen. That said, the other three girls are attractive, and everyone is being given the deluxe tour. Leone gets an upgrade to her rune, which is now a Special Rune, which I hope does not turn out to be something she regrets later on. As for Liselotte, she apparently has such amazing compatibility with hieral menaces that they offer to make her one. She declines. As for Eris… well, she’s basically the equivalent of a Type-40 TARDIS in a world of far sleeker and more powerful machines. But it’s OK, the totally trustworthy Highland folks will fix her.

I’m gonna spoil a couple of things here, so stop now if you haven’t read it yet. Good book, will read more, but very much a book of two halves. The second half begins when a merchant ship arrives with a princess from Venefic, who is being delivered to Highland to be a hieral menace, but is far more concerned about all her followers, who were also taken up in the ship. So Inglis and the others go to try to rescue them. Yeah. No. Instead we find that most of what makes the Highland Nation go is the equivalent of Soylent Green, as humans are being taken and essentially ground up into pure mana. I actually went “Urgh” out loud. Speaking of hieral menaces, there’s a reason Liselotte has such a good affinity, and it’s not a good one – the hieral menace sent by the pope seems awfully familiar… in fact, she looks just like an older Liselotte. And has the same name as her late mother. Nothing is confirmed, but come on. This also throws everyone off their game.

Honestly, the star of the book may be Rafinha, who suffers more than the others as she tends to see things in terms of black and white, and is finding that in a situation where all the solutions are bad, nothing makes her happy. She can’t even count on Inglis here, as Inglis does not really care even if everything goes to hell as long as she gets fights. Rafinha wants peace. Possibly she’ll get it in the next book, but I highly doubt it.

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