Private Tutor to the Duke’s Daughter: The Saint’s Guidance and the Battle for the North

By Riku Nanano and cura. Released in Japan as “Koujo Denka no Kateikyoushi” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by William Varteresian.

This book internally takes itself seriously, and there’s no sense that it’s winking at the audience or anything. That said, if you, the reader, take this series seriously at all, you must absolutely hate it, because every volume gets more and more ridiculous. Allen is not so much a character as a Macguffin at this point, though he does get one chapter to himself. But his purpose in the series is to help everyone else find THEIR purpose in the series, and here it turns out that his legacy means that he can do that even with 200-year-old elves and dragons. And of course there’s Stella, who gets the cover and the focus of this book and ends up delivering so well that everyone starts to call her The Saint. Honestly, the only one still doing badly is Lydia, who gets one scene in the volume, but also gets Allen reflecting how she must be running wild and he worries about that little scamp, contrasted with The Hero and Lydia’s own mother coming up with contingency plans to murder her.

The rebellion continues, even though it’s rapidly becoming apparent the rebels don’t have anyone who can really see the big picture or due long-term planning. They still may end up getting control of the Great Tree, though, as the beastmen are near their limit, and they have to rely on Caren and Lydia’s brother Richard to scream and yell at the old, conservative leaders until they finally allow a “Gondor Calls For Aid” moment. In the South, the Leinsters have cleaned up easily, and are headed towards the capitol, but Lydia is still unapproachable and dangerous. And in the North, the Howards are waiting patiently for the enemy army to think they’ve won before they spring one final trap. At first Stella’s father insists she cannot join the battle, but later events will prove that it’s a good thing she didn’t listen to him.

This is not the first series to have “battle maids”, as fandom tends to term them, and it won’t be the last, but this volume really manages to sell exactly what we love about them, which is being insanely powerful and sadistic while also keeping that “ara, ara” feel you get from a maid character. Well, one type of maid character. Don’t worry, we get all types here. In any case, Anna saving the day is probably the highlight of the book, with apologies to Stella, and I would love to see more. (As always, this series has backstory that it’s constantly implying is more interesting than the actual story being told.) As for Allen himself, he’s picked up a new girl who worships him, this one apparently a little girl version of a great spirit/spell/something, but again, this volume isn’t about anything Allen does, it’s about what Allen represents. He improves literally everyone who’s ever come into contact with him and makes them their best. (Well, except that gang of Beastmen teens. Sorry, gang, you suck.)

The next volume should end the arc, and also has Tina on the cover, so I assume she’ll get the focus she didn’t get here… assuming she’s not overtaken by Lydia. Again. A good series to read if you enjoy ridiculous bullshit.

Private Tutor to the Duke’s Daughter: The Lady of the Sword’s Lament and the War in the South

By Riku Nanano and cura. Released in Japan as “Koujo Denka no Kateikyoushi” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by William Varteresian.

As the author has noted in previous books, Lydia has by far the biggest advantage among the other girls who are in love with Allen, and judging by comments I’ve seen on the original webnovel site (the webnovel is still ongoing, by the way), fans seem to prefer Lydia as well. Our author said that he’d try writing Lydia out of the plot for a bit, but that didn’t even last one book. Now we have this solution, which is to make the reader feel that having Allen and Lydia end up together would be bad for her. The front half of this book has Lydia and her family being told that he’s presumed dead, and she completely falls to bits. It’s almost comical, as everyone writes her off as being useless without Allen. By the last quarter of the book she’s recovered, cut her hair, and is ready to join in the battle… and becomes so terrifying that by the end of the book no one dares go near her for fear of accidentally being murdered.

This volume can be divided into thirds. The first third has Tina, Ellie and Stella back home, dealing with an invasion from the North in addition to the noble’s rebellion. The last third has the Leinsters dealing with an invasion from the South in addition to the noble’s rebellion. And in the middle portion we get a flashback showing Allen’s “final” moments, as well as the reaction of Caren and his parents to this. We get introduced to the “Hero”, Alice, who has a past with Allen and Lydia, and who seems to suspect that Lydia is going to snap and have to be assassinated before she turns evil. And we discover that it’s not just Lydia, all the Leinsters are absolute monsters who will destroy you if you get in their way. We also get more tantalizing hints of backstory about Allen and Lydia’s time at the academy… but no flashbacks, dammit.

So yes, of course Lydia doesn’t actually kill the opposing Army, it’s made very clear that they’re all burned but alive. Still, the implication is that this is Not Okay, and Lydia knows this but can’t help herself. The feelings of despair have to go SOMEWHERE. Meanwhile, it’s pretty hilarious that Allen is *still* doing the “I can’t believe you’ve heard of me” given that he’s clearly known to everyone in the Kingdom as a legend and the most important man to kill when the rebellion starts. Certainly Richard tells him point blank, “Look, either marry Lydia or have us take you into the family anyway”. Everyone desperately wants Allen to be credited for SOMETHING, and his last stand in this war may be the answer. He is, of course, not dead, and appears to be trapped in the evil magic dungeon of bad things. I expect, since Book 6 had lots of Lydia, that the 7th book will shift towards Tina, but no doubt we’ll also see Allen do amazing things that he insists are just things that anyone can do.

As you all have no doubt noted, I’m on Team Lydia as well, mostly because of a reason that is very important to me: she’s not 13 years old. This continues to be a much better series than it has any right to be, and the battle scenes were excellent.

Private Tutor to the Duke’s Daughter: The Lightning Wolf and Upheaval in the Kingdom

By Riku Nanano and cura. Released in Japan as “Koujo Denka no Kateikyoushi” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by William Varteresian.

I really do appreciate that this series is finding multiple reasons to keep the harem antics going beyond just “he ignores it all” (which admittedly is better than “he doesn’t notice any of it” in other series). It’s made clear multiple times in this book that the issue is that Allen is a commoner, with no last name, and a questionable reputation, and all of his love interests are various kinds of nobility. The Leinsters have been trying to find ways to have him perform a feat that would get him a title and allow Lydia to marry him, but every time it happens, it turns out to be a state secret that can never be talked about, or it turns out he gives everyone else all the credit. Or both. Fortunately, the series seems to have figured out a way to take care of these problems once and for all, which is to kill Allen off.

Allen and Caren finally manage to get the rest of the cast on a train back to their respective homes. This means the book is divided up. Half of it is spent with the other love interests, as we see Tina, Ellie and Stella plot to try to figure out how to get Allen’s attention while also humblebragging about what they’ve done already; and we see Lydia get completely dragged by her whole family for not simply grabbing Allen, declaring her love, and running away (which is apparently how her mother got married). The other half of the book is Caren, as we see some flashbacks showing why she’s so devoted to him, and a few other cute festival scenes. Unfortunately, the rebellion no one thought was going to happen is happening. And now most of Allen’s hometown is on fire.

No, I don’t think the series is killing Allen off, but his absence from the next book might be a good idea, as the one main problem with his harem is that they’re too dependent on him. We see this with Lydia, the classic tsundere, who nevertheless falls completely to bits on hearing he may have been killed. We don’t see the reaction of the others, but I expect it will be similar. As for Caren, well, she does kick a lot of ass here, but sadly she too has to be sent away at the last minute so that Allen can go on a suicide mission and not return from it. I’m fairly confident the war will not last long – the author drops several not-so-subtle hints that the nobility in charge of it are bad planners – but that’s not really helping things now. And I also wonder if the chieftains of the beast people may decide to go after Allen when this is over for disobeying pretty much every order they gave.

So yes, Allen’s dead, o noes. Please enjoy Book 6, which focuses on Lydia, despite the author stating that he was going to balance out the harem antics by sending Lydia away. I’m beginning to suspect we can’t trust a word the author says…