Monday, June 21, 2021

REVIEW: I Swear I Won't Bother You Again!, Vol. 1 (book) by Reina Soratani, illustrated by Haru Harukawa, translated by Kimberly Chan

I Swear I Won't Bother You Again! is... Honestly, I'm not sure. Psychological drama, I guess, with the possibility of romance at some point in the future? It's published by Seven Seas Entertainment's Airship imprint. I bought my copy brand new.

My review includes a few spoilers about the specifics of what Violette's parents did to her, plus some stuff about one of the other characters, because some of it is awful enough that I suspect some readers will appreciate a warning. If you'd prefer not to have any spoilers, I do use spoiler tags when I cross-post to LibraryThing and Goodreads.


Content warning for this volume: emotional abuse, possibly sexual as well, and a potential love interest who displays manipulative and controlling qualities.

Violette is in prison for a crime she has, out of jealousy, committed against her half-sister Maryjune. She has come a long way and now deeply regrets her actions. She wishes she could go back in time and live a quiet life, bothering no one, but she knows that's impossible. Except suddenly that's exactly what happens - from one moment to the next, time rewinds itself and she finds herself once again being introduced to her father's new wife (his former mistress) and his half-daughter (who was conceived while Violette's mother was still alive).

This time, Violette is determined to make it through the next two years without causing harm. After she graduates, she wants to join a convent and spend the rest of her life quietly atoning for the sins she committed in her other timeline. Her feelings of guilt are too great for her to contemplate any other future. However, it won't be easy to accomplish her goal. While she no longer blames Maryjune for anything or wants to harm her, she can't will away the pain that Maryjune's presence causes her, and she can't change the kind of person she is. Still, she tries hard to do better this time around, and her efforts don't go unnoticed. If she's lucky, maybe it will be enough.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this. The title and cover make it look and sound like at least half a dozen other "villainess trying to make things right/avoid a bad end" romances out there, and apparently the author originally intended it to be a rom-com. I figured this would basically be Accomplishments of the Duke's Daughter without the isekai "reborn in my favorite otome game" element.

What I got instead was an introspective character-focused drama that was more concerned with the characters' various emotional wounds and insecurities than with romance (although I absolutely expect future volumes to focus on romance more, and I'm very nervous about the direction the series might take). 

I assumed Prince Claudia would the cold and arrogant type who'd gradually warm up to Violette. Instead, he was surprisingly awkward and lacking in self-confidence. Yulan appeared to be the cute younger brother type, the one who always knew how to get Violette to relax. However, this turned out to be an act - the real Yulan was kind of horrifying, and reminded me strongly of Toma in the otome-game based anime Amnesia. (For those who haven't played the game or watched the series: Toma is a reassuring childhood friend-type love interest whose obsession with the heroine reaches the point where he literally drugs and cages her. Yulan actually thinks to himself that he'd like to lock Violette up so that he can keep her to himself, so my fears are not unjustified.) And 

Her parents were monstrous. I don't care how Violette's mother behaved towards Auld, her father, it didn't excuse the way he neglected her and then treated her like one of Maryjune's accessories. And Violette's mother was a sick and twisted woman. When Auld abandoned her in favor of his mistress, she raised Violette as a boy in order to have a mini-Auld by her side - there were indications that her behavior towards Violette was possibly sexually as well as emotionally abusive (on-page: the way she caressed Violette and made her respond to the name Auld deeply disturbed a character who witnessed it). When Violette hit puberty, her mother cast her off in disgust and then basically willed herself to die in a last-ditch effort to get Auld to care about her.

The writing didn't initially appeal to me, except for the fact that it was third person POV. Lots of descriptions of the characters' feelings with very little action. But then the characters started interacting more, and it became clear that several of them were extremely screwed up. I found myself unable to look away - part of it was a kind of literary rubbernecking, and part of it was that I actually started to get emotionally invested in the characters. Here's hoping the author has other plans for Yulan than to make him Violette's top love interest, because she deserves better. And I really want to know what's going on between Yulan and Claudia (half brothers, maybe?), whether Claudia will manage to grow as a person the way he seems to want to, and whether the painfully naive Maryjune will ever realize the harm she unintentionally inflicts upon Violette.

I'm still not entirely sure this was an enjoyable read, but it was definitely an interesting one. So far there hasn't been much of a plot - I'm hoping that Soratani isn't the sort of author who writes interesting characters but then has no idea what to do with them. At any rate, I definitely plan to continue reading this series, but I'm very nervous about where it might go. It could either be amazing, or a completely horrifying brain bleach-requiring disaster.


Black and white illustrations throughout, and a short afterword by the author. She hates Violette's father (yay!) but seems to like Yulan (ehhh). Hopefully she likes his desire to support Violette but recognizes that he'd be an extremely unhealthy love interest for her. Crossing my fingers.

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