In the first two pages of The White Cat’s Revenge (Japanese title: 復讐を誓った白猫は竜王の膝の上で惰眠をむさぼる ) is a paragraph that should alarm readers to just what they can expect when reading this book:
Ruri Morikawa was a girl with an expat mother who worked as a model and a father who worked as a diplomat. With platinum blonde hair, the same as her mother’s, a pair of lapis lazuli eyes that served as the basis for her name in kanji, and a Japanese face, this girl was born into a family with features that would make anybody pump their arms in triumph along with the other winners of the genetic lottery.
Ruri Morikawa is a god damned Mary Sue, and I damn near didn’t make it past the first 12% of the book because of this fact.
Disclaimer: the above advertisement is an affiliate link. Making a purchase from this link may financially benefit the website.
The set-up to the story is that essentially Ruri is a kind, sweet girl who should be adored, and often is… until people meet her childhood friend Asahi. Suddenly, they’re SUPER MEAN to Ruri, for NO REASON, even though Ruri is SO PERFECT ans Asahi just isn’t. And Asahi followed Ruri EVERYWHERE, which is like, SUPER ANNOYING. Ruri finally escapes when she gets into a college Asahi doesn’t have the marks to get into, but then they end up running into each other anyways! As a side note, I wonder how much of this translation is mistaken, because Ruri is 16 at this time which means she should be going to a senior high school. Whatever, the least of this book’s problems.
Anyways, this book is an Isekai, but instead of having everyone die via being run over by a truck 6 people are mysteriously teleported over into a new world. Those 6 people are Ruri, Asahi, and four of Asahi’s friends. It turns out, surprise, Asahi is the “Princess Priestess” who was foretold to bring the nation of Nadasha prosperity. The other 5 can stick around too, but they aren’t as important.
A few days later Ruri finds herself accused of plotting to kill Asahi, and without trial is quickly taken into a dark and mysterious woods where she is expected to be eaten by beasts. That’s how this kingdom gets rid of those it finds inconvenient, incidentally. Of course, Ruri had super secret survival training by her grandfather that was never revealed before this incident, and will be brought up exactly once later in the book. As a result, she survives, and finds herself at a house belonging to a witch, who is also a dragon. It’s at this point the book stops being tedious and starts exploring its world and the politics therein. Holy hell, that takes forever.
It turns out that in this world, various creatures have mana wavelengths, and powerful people attract spirits (in this book portrayed a lot like invisible fae folk.) Ruri has SUPER POWERFUL MANA WAVELENGTH that makes her LOVED BY ALL THE SPIRITS and as a result, she’s super powerful. Magic in this world is one part wishing for something hard enough and three parts getting a spirit to assist the caster, and since all the spirits are just desperate to help out Ruri she’s got skills. This is played straight later in the book, where it’s shown just how dangerous a person who is this favored by the spirits is; they can become hurt or angered and the spirits can decide in retribution to demolish entire nations.
In this world, everyone has access to a pocket portal, something like the standard “Bag of Holding” or “Inventory System.” Since Ruri is ALL THE POWERFUL she can create a portal so big she can literally cross into the Inventory World. She can breath normally in there, because handwaving, but nothing expires or grows old. Turns out there’s a spirit in charge of this world named Lydia, and Lydia grants Ruri a gift that will prove important later: a bracelet that turns the wearer into a cat.
Two years pass, and Ruri is encouraged by the witch to go to the Dragon Kingdom, where all the dragon people live. Dragons normally look human like you or me, which is great because they’re easier to draw this way. They can turn into dragons though. The dragon people are strong and live forever but are also kind of docile, except for when they aren’t, which is whenever it’s convenient for the plot. And the strongest dragon in the land gets to be king, and that dragon is… the first guy that comes to Ruri’s aid when she’s attacked by thieves, although of course she doesn’t know it yet because he’s dressed all in black to hide his true identity!
This takes me to the SECOND thing I hate about this book, and I mean hate in the same way that one hates to stub their toe. When Ruri meets the king formally for the first time, it’s instant fireworks:
When Ruri made eye contact with the Dragon King, she was floored. (Oh my God, he’s absolutely stunning.) His eyes were sharp and narrow, the bridge of his nose was slender and fine, and his jet-black hair was almost shoulder length and tied into a ponytail. His deep green eyes, which sucked you in, gave Ruri an odd, minor case of deja vu, but all of that dispersed in the face of the Dragon King’s features—features that seemed almost painstakingly crafted by the gods. He was so attractive, in fact, that he didn’t seem real.
He’s just so perfect, you guys. So perfect.
The romance in this book is very juvenile.
That said, the comedy is definitely there. When Ruri visits the Dragon Kingdom, she meets up with the son of the witch, who works for the king. She’s in her cat form, because she’s a little shy after being attacked by the thieves earlier and with tales of slavery running strong. Before she can reveal the truth, her host says something to the affect of “Thankfully you’re not human,” meaning this because of the difficulty humans have with the spirits. Ruri, naturally, takes it to mean that her host hates humans. Then the King falls in love with his new pet, which he absolutely has to scratch the ears of every chance he gets. She can’t exactly tell the new-found love of her life that the king’s cat is actually a human girl, right? Then he’d no longer want anything to do with her!
It’s these constant misunderstandings and the way characters act on them that carried this story for me. Ruri is very giving, but also has a selfish streak, and these two features combine to make someone who is surprisingly self conscious. King Jade is aloof and at times unaware of what’s going on, and it doesn’t help that his court is more concerned with getting him married than anything else like, say, the war that is about to come to their doorsteps.
It’s made clear, towards the end of book one, that the whole Princess Priestess set-up was fabricated: the King and the High Priest of Nadasha both know that no such thing exists, and are using Asahi specifically because she’s naive and can easily bewitch people with her mana wavelength. Asahi herself is completely clueless of how she’s being used to fuel a war, to the point it’s cartoonish. The Dragon Kingdom… has dragons, and they’re apparently nearly impossible for humans to kill, so this war is going to go well for them.
It’s with this that White Cast’s Revenge wraps up, and as interesting as the world is when taken as a whole I can’t be assed to want to see how it continues in book two. I’m certain fans of Young Adult Romance or who love super cutesy stories carried by the shoulders of their characters will feel otherwise. I could even see how a comic adaptation would bring out the more “cute” aspects of this story and leave some of the heavier aspects on the cutting room floor.
But I really struggled to get through this novel, and having reached that finish mark I’m not sure I am any better off than if I would have just dropped it 12% in.
A note to those interested in purchasing this book: several retailers, such as Amazon.com, list it has having 27 pages. This is woefully incorrect. The book is just shy of 300 pages, with a word count a little over 80 thousand.