Reign of the Seven Spellblades Volume II, written by Bokuto Uno with illustrations by Ruria Miyuki and translations by Alex Keller-Nelson, is a spectacular read. The story picks up six months into the sextet’s first year. The opening is crafty. We initially think Oliver is having the nightmare. After all, not only did Oliver kill a teacher, but he also has a spellblade. Will we learn more about that in this volume? No. Yet, Reign of the Seven Spellblades’ second installment still stands out as an impressive story. The world-building is stunning as usual, and the stakes are rising for all the characters.
I would be both excited and terrified to attend a magic school like Kimberly Magic Academy. While most schools care for their young charges, this school is anything but caring. If it isn’t in front of their face, there is little concern. After all, remember the school’s phrase is “your life and death are in your own hands.” Since mages don’t die easy, and there are excellent physicians on staff, most professors are happy with putting their students in life-threatening peril. Given the jaw-dropping ending of volume one, it’s plain many of the professors are callous and dangerous.
Natural Character Development
This volume doesn’t drag either. Thanks to Oliver and Nanao’s successful battle against the vast, winged magical beast garuda, people are resentful. It’s only natural there are students, like Mr. Andrews, itching to prove their strength in combat against the duo. So we continue to have character growth. We don’t learn enough details about Oliver’s past in this volume; however, it is clear that he is both caring and on a mission. There is character development for Pete and Chela also. Chela’s upbringing and the complications between head and branch families show Chela’s sensitivity. Yet, she is bound to rules that have existed for generations.
Oliver and Nanao may remind readers of Naruto as they both have a knack for making a nemesis become an ally. They speak from the heart, unbound to the rigidity of familial rules. They try to be more fluid than that; yet, given Oliver’s plan, there may be more rules at play in his life than Nanao’s. Kate’s temperament is more assertive, which I loved. She’s unafraid to call out harm where she sees it. We have not seen Guy’s development, but I’m confident this series will not abandon him. Pete being a reversi was fascinating, given his standoffishness, as it’s pushing him out of his comfort zone. We also get a glimpse into another part of the magical world.
The World’s Keeps Building
The story stays engrossing throughout, thanks to the group’s chemistry. But, it also has to do with the world of Kimberly Magic Academy. Bokuto Uno laid the groundwork that danger can come from anywhere; professors, magical beasts, even fellow students. As such, readers wait for the next weird episode or eccentric person to arrive. We also learn more about other types of beings in this volume. I hope they explore reversi and other sex-based magical traits since it parallels gender fluidity. That could be an entirely separate novel.
The world, even in this school, is expansive. The labyrinth underneath the school remains unexplored, for the most part, by our group as it’s hazardous for first-years to venture in, let alone explore the lower levels. It’s going to be riveting to see what else lurks in the lower levels of the labyrinth. As their time progresses, so will their skills and the levels they explore. Not to mention we still have no clear picture of Oliver. We see who Oliver is to his friends, but what is his position in the world? Why do some people call him master? What is his ultimate aim?
The Best Magical School Story
I’m in no hurry to hear the answers. Nor will any reader be in a rush because this story keeps getting better. We have another cliffhanger, and we may finally learn what happens when a spell consumes a mage. Reign of the Seven Spellblades Volume II thrills and chills in equal measure. I don’t think any other story about magical schools hooked me this fast. It has relatable politics, dynamic characters, and a fantastic plot! I have no clue what’s coming, and I love it!
Feature Image courtesy of Yen Press