Private Tutor to the Duke’s Daughter: The Savior’s Day of Rest

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

I’ve talked before about how at times I am unhappy with the story the author is telling, preferring that he tell the story of Allen and Lydia’s awesome life in the past, which we have been getting dribbled onto us in bits and babs, making us confused but also making us long to have been there. There’s more of that here, including Lily talking about her own past with Allen (and the implications of why she is super duper uber powerful and talented and yet is so determined to be a maid). But of course, the protagonist of this series is not merely Allen, though he’s certainly the primary one. The secondary protagonist is Tina Howard. And we’re seeing events as Tina would see them. She’s just as frustrated and annoyed that she isn’t able to know Allen as well as Lydia does, simply because she didn’t meet him till the first book, which Lydia has known him for years. Sadly, more bad news for Tina: Lydia starts her comeback here.

Well, OK, she doesn’t get the cover – she’ll have to wait till next time. The majority of this book is the epilogue to the arc we’ve been having for some time now, which means there’s less fighting (though we do get some awesome fights) and a lot more political finagling and wrangling. Allen is clearly the hero of the hour, and this time everyone is finally determined to give him the recognition – and title – and wife – he so richly deserves. This can be rather difficult, given that Allen seriously regards himself as powerless compared to everyone around him and deeply unworthy of most of his love interests. He even blows off a major meeting to go and stop Gil from trying to commit suicide by “it’s all my fault, please execute me but spare the others”. That said, the royal family also has its reasons they do not want Allen to get honored – and once they fail at preventing it, they try for the next best thing.

Lydia, theoretically, should be at a low ebb here. She hasn’t killed anyone, but she’s committed massive amounts of property damage, went mad when she thought for a moment that Allen might have been dead, and ended up becoming so overpowered that she has less mana than even Allen, at least temporarily. But none of that actually matters, because it’s clear that when Lydia and Allen are in the same room, she has such self-confidence and swagger that no one else matters at all. Don’t get me wrong, everyone else gets their chance to show off in front of Allen and also try to get him to pet them/snuggle them/other safe kinds of affection. But all Lydia really does is grumble mildly at these, she doesn’t regard any of them as real threats. Because she’s Allen’s partner. Even if that means helping him in the duel to prove he deserves the glory he’s being given. And even if it means fleeing the country with him. In fact, she packed in advance.

So yes, we now get what is jokingly referred to as the “honeymoon” arc, though there’s still no “he chose this girl” romance yet, and honestly the ongoing war would likely get in the way anyway. This remains one of my favorite light novel series.

Private Tutor to the Duke’s Daughter: The Second Coming of Shooting Star and the Final Showdown in the Eastern Capital

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.

OK, I will admit, the author cleared the bar that I had set up for them. I’ve already grumped quite a bit about Lydia’s character arc during the last two to three books, and I had certain expectations of how it would resolve itself. I did not like those expectations, but I had them. Lydia was going to go berserk, everyone would make the terrible decision to kill her, and then Allen would return and talk her down. Thankfully, that is NOT what happened – at least not the last part. Lydia manages to get talked down by all the other love interests yelling “snap out of it, you idiot” at regular intervals till she does. This allows her to be part of the final battle, which I appreciated. Of course, I might be less grumpy if we ever learned more about Lydia and Allen’s past than anecdotes. Surprisingly, Tina doesn’t get much to do here either. Honestly, the love interest with the most focus is Lynne, as Narrator #2.

The rebellion is going very badly for the rebels, who decide to stake it all on one last battle for the Great Tree. Fortunately for those defending it, reinforcements are coming from all over the land. Unfortunately, Allen is still missing and presumed dead, meaning that most of the love interests are moping, and Lydia is… well, not in her right mind, we’ll put it that way. As for Allen, he’s trying to get the approval of an ancient ghost, and then has to battle the real enemy behind all this – the Church. (I know, the church, evil, in a Japanese light novel? Try to contain your shock.) Unfortunately, he may have finally come across something which really IS too much for him, as opposed to all the things he handles with ease while saying they’re too much for him. He may be forced to… ask for help.

Yeah, the final part of the book is basically “what if we all battled the final boss together?”, though the boss in this case is just a created monster thing. There was decent stuff in this book, but I won’t lie, I’m happy to see the back of this arc. In addition to Lydia running amok, I was also not fond of a death fakeout near the end, which was done purely to give Allen the rage and despair to fight even harder, but if you’re going to do that, don’t just do a “just kidding” afterwards. In the end, honestly, no one we care about died, or was even injured. One minor character’s father was kidnapped, which may be what starts the next arc, but other than that everyone does fine. A bit more than fine, honestly – Stella has become so overpowered I may have to start calling her Allen soon.

So yeah, good riddance to this arc, but I still enjoy the series. Next volume apparently stars Lily, the “Maid” of the Leinster family, and I am hoping will let her do something other than be comedy relief, because that’s all she’s done so far.

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.