Revolutionary Reprise of the Blue Rose Princess, Vol. 3

By Roku Kaname and Hazuki Futaba. Released in Japan as “Aobara-hime no Yarinaoshi Kakumeiki” by PASH! Books. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by JC.

In my review of the first two volumes of this series, I said that my chief issue with the series was that it didn’t really have anything that made it stand out over a pack of other “redo my life” titles coming out at the same time, was overly serious, and could be a bit dull. It’s still overly serious (there’s nary a joke to be found here), but fortunately the fact that this is the final volume and has to wrap everything up solves the other issues. This is easily the best volume in the series, as Alicia has to try to balance out the fact that she needs to do what’s best for her nation with her love for Clovis, and Riddhe has to try to find the traitor behind most of the bad events in this book, and do so without getting caught and used to start a war between two countries. He achieves half of that. But it’s OK, there’s a trial to try to put things right.

The book begins with Alicia still in Erdal, meeting with the Empress to try to show why she wants their countries to reach out to each other WITHOUT needing her to get married to Fritz to do it. The Empress, after a quick “how devoted to your ideals are you?” test, is pretty much OK with this, but Fritz now basically sees Alicia as an enemy. Indeed, he sees almost everyone as an enemy, including his lover Charlotte, and is acting just the way you’d expect a bratty prince with too much power but not enough responsibility to act. And then there’s Alicia and Clovis, who are still both hung up on “he’s just her advisor, he can’t marry the future queen” to move forward, and are thus having communication issues. Things get so bad that Alicia decides the best way forward IS to marry Fritz… but before she can, chaos erupts in Erdal.

The back half of this book really sells the danger and drama, with several action sequences and threats to help overshadow the fact that we know who the bad guy is throughout. The mystery is not “whodunnit”, but “how to fix things without destabilizing multiple nations”. It helps that there’s a lot of “even if they are a bad person, I still love them like family” going around, which means this timeline has a hell of a lot less death than the last one. Actually, another great moment was the revelation about what DID happen in the previous lifetime – Alicia’s always had spotty memories, so it’s been hard to decipher beyond “Clovis killed her”, but now we see this was part of a larger scheme, which makes sense given how easily manipulable he must have been in that first timeline. As for the romance, I will admit that “it’s OK, you can marry your advisor, everyone knows you love him” doesn’t really work given this is a “political marriage is the norm” sort of world, but hey, the relationship is sort of dessert. The meal is saving the country.

So yes, always nice when a series ends with its best volume. I enjoyed this.

Revolutionary Reprise of the Blue Rose Princess, Vol. 2

By Roku Kaname and Hazuki Futaba. Released in Japan as “Aobara-hime no Yarinaoshi Kakumeiki” by PASH! Books. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by JC.

This second volume of the Blue Rose Princess trilogy has the same strengths and weaknesses of the first volume. On the bright side, Alicia remains a very compelling heroine, who manages to achieve the goals she’s striving for without really feeling too “overpowered” – indeed, she loses her temper at one point and bad things happen. In addition, the fact that things don’t seem to be going the way they did in her previous life means she has to do more detective work to figure out what really needs to be changed, and how things came to her dying last time. On the less positive side, this book remains very serious and earnest, with what minimal humor it has reserved for fairly obvious points, such as “the guy is in denial that he’s in love and shouts angrily while running off”. That’s fine, of course – not all villainess books have to be funny, of course. But this one just is a bit… boring? Not bad, just… satisfactory.

Alicia and Clovis have almost achieved their goal, getting their trading company that will help save the kingdom off the ground. Unfortunately for her, Duke of Sheraford is not on their side, and he’s not only in a stronger position and better at politics, but he has a secret that is making life even worse for them. It will take a bit more than just Alicia and Clovis being clever to get out of this one. Then, six years later, things are going well and Alicia is poised to be the next Queen. There are two issues with this. The first is that the Empress of Erdal is still trying to get Alicia married off to Price Fritz. The second, and more worrying, is that, of course, a Queen is not going to be able to marry her advisor. So being in love with Clovis is a problem…

While I said the book’s biggest problem is that it’s somewhat dull, that’s pretty much its only problem. The characters work well. I especially liked Riddhe, the arrogant son of Duke Sheraford, who at first appears to be exactly the same as all the other arrogant duke’s sons we’ve seen in books like this, but ends up having a stronger core of ethics that ends up saving the day. I also liked the fact that, while Alicia is trying to change her story so she’s not engaged to Fritz, here in this timeline the Empress is just as interested in getting Alicia married to him – but it’s because she wants Alicia’s smarts, not as a political wife. And then there’s Fritz, who we basically knew as “cheating bastard” in the previous life, but here we see WHY he became that cheating bastard, and what really drives him – and how it clashes violently with Alicia’s own goals. Good thing there’s a third book.

So yeah, this is solid, and I like the characters. I’m glad it’s only three books, though.

The Revolutionary Reprise of the Blue Rose Princess, Vol. 1

By Roku Kaname and Hazuki Futaba. Released in Japan as “Aobara-hime no Yarinaoshi Kakumeiki” by PASH! Books. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by JC.

This book suffered somewhat for coming out on the same day as The Do-Over Damsel Conquers the Dragon Emperor, which is also about a noble young lady who is brutally murdered by a hateful mob and travels back in time to when she is ten years old, intent on getting a different result. Alicia does not have quite as many problems once she ends up back in her ten-year-old self as Jill did in Do-Over Damsel, but then Alicia is not quite sure of anything regarding her previous self. One of the more interesting parts of this book is that Alicia can only remember what happened the day she was killed. So she knows she became Queen, and was blindly defending her unfaithful husband out of love, but she’s not quite sure how things got to the point where everyone now hates her and she’s run through with a sword. The other major difference between this and Do-Over Damsel is that this is a far more serious-minded book.

So yes, Alicia is now back in time, when her father is alive, she wasn’t married off to the King of another land, and, most importantly, she’s not dead and disgraced. One of the few things she does remember is the face of the man who killed her… who has just shown up at a ball she’s attending. It turns out he has a tragic past that causes him to be shunned… but Alicia decides that the first step should be to get him as her advisor, so that she can learn why all of this happened at all. This is a big change for the princess, who before she “awoke” to her past life was pretty and beloved, but tended to avoid lessons and instead played tag around the castle. Fortunately, most of the cast takes her personality change in stride.

This is a solid book, whose main problem is separating itself from a pack that has gotten very, very cluttered with other series. (Including other series by the artist, who also drew Accomplishments of the Duke’s Daughter’s artwork.) Alicia is likeable, and the combination of her lack of memories from the past and the fact that she appears to have been somewhat shallow in her past life means that she’s able to mostly act her age. Clovis, her former murderer and current advisor, is also very nice when people are not blaming him for what his grandfather did, and I am also very happy that, for once, we actually get the “I’ve come from a previous time loop” confession straight away, which allows for more than one 10-year-old to try to figure out how to stop it. The rest of the cast are OK, with Alicia’s father the king seeming to be more savvy than he lets on.

Again, the main drawback to this is: there’s no reason to read it if you’re already reading 8 other “girl goes back in time to change her fate” light novels. But if you like that genre, this is another good one.