Fresh and triumphant off of student council elections, Mia is ready to rest on her laurels for a bit when duty comes calling – the academy city she previously set in motion is already floundering due to the scheming of the Greenmoons, one of the four most powerful aristocratic families of the empire. Ludwig thinks salvation may lie in recruiting his former teacher – but, doubting his own ability to persuade the man, Mia’s packed off to the forest to headhunt him instead. Will she ever get the rest she feels she so richly deserves? An invitation to a tropical cruise off of Ganudos Port Country from Esmeralda Greenmoon later in the book might appear the right opportunity, but between a typhoon at sea and more Greenmoon intriguing on land, it does not seem likely Mia will be getting much rest any time soon.
To be frank, this is a pretty weak volume taken in total, as, even with the Greenmoon connecting thread, it reads like two halves rather than a a complete whole, with some bits and bobs stuck between the two portions that don’t do a hell of a lot as connective tissue. This is rather unfortunate as when the volume is good, its great. The book is quick to remind us that Mia’s motivation is generally to preserve her own self, but Mia gets to shine quite a bit when it comes to survivalist skills she honed while trying to evade imprisonment and death in her previous go-round (yes, the cruise ends up shipwrecked). And the political intrigue that surfaces in Ganudos does make for a compelling plot point, particularly when the king of Ganudos is confronted over the matter. But…
Part of the problem may be that the reason for the Greenmoons to be working against the empire in the first case comes across as being quite petty and unconnected with why they’d be acting similarly in the case of Ganudos. Granted, it may be that the reason presented for the efforts to damage the academy city effort aren’t the only ones, but, if so, that hasn’t become clear yet, and in the interim it does contribute to a somewhat disjointed feel across the volume.
The other thing that I absolutely need to address is the fatphobia of this volume. No tropical vacation can be safe in a LN, can it? Because, yep, we’ve got some nonsense to do with Mia and her swimsuit. Mia, you see, has gained some weight! You are forgiven if that seems difficult to believe based on the cover illustration and the interior illustrations which don’t appear to indicate any difference in Mia’s physique versus prior volumes. Believe the author – Mia’s developed a bit of a tummy from all those sweets! And the author really, really does not want us to forget about this issue, even after Mia’s managed to drop the nonexistent extra pounds. Every time the shipwreck storyline was getting really good, author Nozomu Mochitsuki just could not resist busting in with HEY REMEMBER MIA WAS WORRIED ABOUT BEING FAT IN A SWIMSUIT??? It’s excruciating.
So, not a great volume of Tearmoon Empire, and one that even struggles at points to be good… but the bits that are good are very good and I’m hardly willing to chuck the series over a rough volume given how much I’ve liked it to this point. Fifth volume is out this week, too, which makes it easy to skip along to that.