In some ways I am about to continue my most recent review. A while back I thought I was ordering volume 4 of the manga (see previous review) when what I actually ordered and what showed up was volume 4 of the light novel series upon which the graphic novels are based. What this means is that the story is further along. The question then becomes do I read the book I accidentally bought even thought that means I may be missing some in-between that may or may not matter for sense making purposes, and I may lose some of the surprise that might be coming in the next manga volume. I went ahead and read the light novel.
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! is as I have previously mentioned a rather fluffy yet entertaining take on the “heroine gets sucked into her favorite video game and must use her knowledge of the game to survive or maybe even prosper in this new world” sci-fi standard. The game in this case is a romance dating simulation titled “Fortune Lover”, and the narrator of this series has been reincarnated as one of the villainesses who in the game is supposed to try and keep the heroin from finding true love with the desirable guy of her choice (and there are several).
As predicted, there a bit of story missing, but in this case it doesn’t really matter too much. There are a few new characters that seem to have been introduced in the missing bit of story, but that doesn’t really get in the way of following here. The basic plot of this volume is that Katarina’s adopted brother has disappeared, and he may or may not have run away. Katarina and friends must first locate and then potentially rescue Keith. The addition of Sora (former bad guy trying to be good) and Larna, a Ministry employee who seems to have several secrets (some of which are actually possibly pretty interesting) but for now is quite capable and interested in Katarina, actually helps since that means the story actually has a few adults to guide the teens.
There are two things that annoy me a little here; while there is some value in Katarina not quite realizing how her friends and family see her, the sheer almost willful ignorance and lack of observation on her part gets old. You’re 17 and you have absolutely no idea what’s going on around you? The level of cluelessness is almost as irritating for me as it appears to be for several of the other characters. On the other hand, Katarina does seem to begin to realize how one character feels towards her, and she is struggling to deal with it. That struggle could possibly mean some interesting character growth. Irritation two is the first person narration; most of it is Katarina, but when it switches there often is little cue even if it’s easy to tell who the voice belongs to from context; the issue is more that no one, not even Katarina has an especially unique voice. Characterization is not terribly complex in this sort of story, but a little personality variety would be nice.
4 stars for general entertainment value, minus a bit for some writing annoyances. Minus a little more for Katarina’s utter cluelessness (and she even knows she’s clueless). Average: 3 stars.