Sunday, January 2, 2022

REVIEW: The White Cat's Revenge as Plotted from the Dragon King's Lap, Vol. 1 (book) by Kureha, illustrated by Yamigo, translated by David Evelyn

The White Cat's Revenge as Plotted from the Dragon King's Lap is an isekai fantasy series that will almost certainly have stronger romance elements later on. It's licensed by J-Novel Club. I bought my copy brand new.


Nineteen-year-old Ruri has spent her entire life desperately trying to get away from her "friend" Asahi, but no matter what she does or where she goes, Asahi's always there. Something about that girl draws people in, and then Ruri has to deal with their jealousy as Asahi cheerfully misinterprets their bullying as "playfulness."

Then one day Asahi, Ruri, and a couple (?) of Asahi's fans find themselves suddenly transported to the kingdom of Nadasha, where they are told that one of them is the savior known as the Priestess Princess. For various reasons, Asahi is instantly declared the Priestess Princess, and her jealous supporters conspire against Ruri and get her exiled. Fortunately, Ruri finds a safe haven and learns that she's something called a "Beloved," a person whose powerful mana appeals to spirits and makes them want to help her.

Ruri's primary goals are to somehow go back home and stay far away from Asahi so that she can, for the first time ever, have real friends and a peaceful life.

Normally, "long title" isekai light novel series lay their whole premise out pretty quickly - the title tells you the series' "hook," and then you just have to hope that the author has at least enough ability to build on that in a reasonably entertaining way. In the case of this series, however, it takes about half the book before we get to anything like what's outlined in the title, and even then, I don't think the title gives the right impression. Ruri's idea of "revenge" is, at worst, making the priest and others who summoned her grovel and cry. She'd also like to punch them, probably while screaming "hi-yah!" in righteous fury. There would be no lasting damage, because that would make her feel bad. Basically, she doesn't have a malicious bone in her body.

Which is a good thing, because if she actually wanted revenge, she could level the kingdom of Nadasha simply by asking the spirits to do it for her. Or just by getting angry and not stopping the spirits from harming others in her defense. The amount of destructive potential Beloveds had was horrifying. On the plus side, other characters realized this as well - literally everyone's first impulse, after learning that Ruri was a Beloved, was to keep her happy and figure out how prone to anger she was.

Considering how much time was spent on establishing that Asahi's ability to instantly gain everyone's love and trust was a bad thing, it irked me that Ruri essentially did the same thing and everyone just accepted it. It helped, somewhat, that so many characters recognized the potential damage Ruri could do, but Ruri's reaction to Asahi initially felt pretty hypocritical.

So, I haven't said anything about the cat stuff yet. That's another thing that took a while to really come up. For various reasons, Ruri traveled to the capital of the Nation of the Dragon King, and a magic bracelet and a misunderstanding that wasn't cleared up as fast as it should have been resulted in the Dragon King and his court thinking that Ruri was really a magical cat. I was willing to accept that this all made sense from Ruri's perspective, but it was still frustrating knowing how easily the misunderstanding could have been cleared up.

Still, it was kind of refreshing to have Jade, the Dragon King, know Ruri primarily as a cat. True, he was instantly drawn to her for no particular reason (matching mana wavelengths!), but instead of romantic love, the result was that he essentially swore off marriage in favor of getting to pet the cute kitty and squish her paw pads. He'd only consider marriage if he found someone he could be more comfortable with than his cat.

I did like that this was written in the third person, and the scene in which the spirits threatened the Dragon King was pretty good. Despite the rough beginning, this eventually won me over somewhat, although its simplistic handling of pretty much everything (impending war, politics, character interactions, etc.) make me doubtful that it'd be worth continuing this series.


Character profiles for Ruri, Jade, Chelsie, Joshua, Lydia, and Asahi, plus black and white illustrations throughout.

No comments:

Post a Comment