Friday, January 27, 2017

Strike the Blood Volume 4 Light Novel Review

Strike the Blood, Vol. 4: Labyrinth of the Blue Witch (Strike the Blood, #4)Strike the Blood, Vol. 4: Labyrinth of the Blue Witch by Gakuto Mikumo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Volume 4 details the first half of a new arc. In the first chapter, we learn that everyone is getting ready for the Hollow Eve Festival. The entirety of Itogami Island is abuzz with preparations. Meanwhile, our resident fourth primogenitor, Akatsuki Kojou, is getting ready to meet up with his childhood friend, Yuuma Tokoyogi. But while Kojou is enjoying time with his friends, strange things are happening on the island. Natsuki Manamiya, Kojou's infamous loli teacher and the Witch of the Void, has gone missing. What's more, there are spatial distortions happening all over Itogami Island.

The spatial distortions are probably the most interesting aspect of this volume. The mechanics behind this strange phenomenon is that time and space are warping around people with strong magical power, transporting through space-time and dumping them in another location entirely. During the prologue for this volume, the War Dancer Kirisaka Sayaka and the Princess of Riehaven La Folia, have this happen to them just as they're about to board the airplane that will take Princess La Folia back home.

If that wasn't bad enough, then there are a pair of witches who have infiltrated the island, though this has nothing to do with Kojou—not at first.

A good portion of the first third of this novel is spent introducing Yuuma. Kojou's childhood friend is a charming young woman with qualities that are attractive to both sexes. During their first meeting, she somehow charms Asagi Aiba, the resident hacker genius and Kojou's second love interest, though he himself is oblivious to her infatuation with him. To be honest, I'm a little upset that Kojou hasn't seemed to get the hint. However, I understand how harem protagonists worked, and this is only volume 4, so I can only hope that something happens on the romance front within the next dozen or so volumes.

During this first portion, we learn that Yuuma met Kojou before he had become the fourth primogenitor. I do feel like there was a bit of a contradiction within this volume regarding Yuuma's background. For example, we learn that she spent most of her time locked inside of her mansion. However, it's inferred that Yuuma also went to school with Kojou. While there's a chance that the status quo changed after she met him, I somehow doubt this would be possible, considering what we learn about her later.

After Yuuma is properly inserted into the story, a shocking plot twist happens! Yuuma kisses Kojou!

Okay. So, maybe that isn't so shocking. This is a harem series, after all. However, what happens afterward is surprising. Kojou wakes up the next morning to discover that he and Yuuma have switched bodies. Just why they have switched bodies, I'm not going to tell you. What I will tell you is that the next two-thirds of this volume deal with Kojou trying to find Yuuma and some actually surprising revelations that reveal more about Natsuki Manamiya's past.

This particular volume was, while not the strongest of the four thus far, at least an entertaining addition to the series. Grammatically speaking, it wasn't bad, though it does have a bit of a problem with telling instead of showing. I'd say that out of all the light novels I've read so far, Strike the Blood is probably fourth on my list of favorites behind Spice&Wolf, Accel World, and Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-. Would I suggest reading this volume? Yes, I would, especially if you're into the same genres that I am. Even if it wasn't amazing, Strike the Blood volume 4 was an entertaining story that expands on the tale of the World's Mightiest Vampire.

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