Secrets of the Silent Witch, Vol. 4 ~after~

By Matsuri Isora and Nanna Fujimi. Released in Japan as “Silent Witch” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Alice Prowse.

I had been referring to this as Silent Witch 4.5, which some retailers are using, likely to better differentiate it from the 4th volume. But the author states in the afterword that they did not want to have it be a .5, and I get that. Generally speaking it’s hard enough when you realize that the next volume is going to be a short story volume, and when the volume number ends in .5 it can be even more highly variable. You never know if you’re getting stuff that was too goofy or too pornographic for the main series, or if you’re getting a bunch of titles that were written for various DVDs, Blu-Rays, and store giveaways piled into one book for completists. Fortunately, this new volume of Silent Witch has none of those problems. The book could easily read as Book 5, except there’s less conflict than usual. The stories all tie together, and all influence each other, so that the climax ends up tying everything together. Which makes sense, because this time we get Monica the Detective.

We begin with a prologue, showing Louis kidnapping… erm, leading Monica and Ray to a decaying library that is filled with magic books that are starting to leak mana, which they have to rebind and reseal. We then get four short stories taking place directly after the 4th volume, in the two weeks after the festival. In the first, Monica has to deal with Nero and Ryn getting addicted to mystery novels, and Felix trying desperately to read a book (well, essay) by the Silent Witch that is in the library’s second floor. She then joins Cyril in trying to prove who stole meat from the kitchens – Glenn insists it wasn’t him, despite a lot of circumstantial evidence. After this we get Benjamin, who always falls in love with women in love with someone else, falling for Claudia – you can imagine how well that goes. Finally, there’s a “charm” going around that apparently will get your true love, meaning all the girls are now gunning for Felix. But is it a charm?

This volume continues the previous one’s evidence that Monica is slowly but surely gaining social skills and confidence. Sure, she barely knows how to sew, but she actually picks it up fast. Her sentences may be slow and awkward, but there’s a lot less stuttering and biting her tongue. She also continues to bond with the rest of the cast, especially the student council (minus Bridget, who no doubt is a final boss in a future volume, the lack of attention the books have paid to her so far is deeply suspicious). That said, Felix’s obsession with Monica Everett is very worrying. The book is written as if it will end, if it does, with a Felix/Monica pairing, but at the moment that would be very unhealthy and has high potential to go wrong. I’ve heard fans tend to prefer Monica/Cyril, and I can see why (for one thing, you get Claudia as an in-law). Felix needs to drop the hero worship. Fast.

The next volume isn’t scheduled here yet, but I assume we will get back to serious assassination attempts and Monica’s identity being at risk. Till then, enjoy an excellent example of how to craft a short story volume in a LN series.

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