Light Novel Club, Chapter 29: Tearmoon Empire, Vol. 3

Welcome to our Light Novel Club discussion of Tearmoon Empire, Vol. 3! We are back with Mia, the Great Sage of the Empire, and her attempts to save the Empire and her own skin. Sure, she may have escaped the guillotine, but there may still be other threats to her livelihood in the future… especially when her granddaughter from the future pays a time-traveling visit!

Joining me in this discussion are Jeskai Angel, Gaheret, and marthaurion! As a reminder, the discussions are held on our public Beneath the Tangles Discord server, so anyone can join our discussions. Go to the end of this post if you want to see what novels we are reading next if you want to join our next discussions!

1. What are your overall thoughts on the book?

stardf29: Seeing as this is the start of a new story arc, I think this volume worked pretty well to set up the next challenge Mia has to deal with. It confirmed my suspicions that there is a demonic force, the Chaos Serpents, that were truly behind the problems that led to Mia’s execution in the last timeline, and even in this current timeline they are continuing to try to cause problems. Bringing Mia’s granddaughter from a bad future provides an interesting “replacement” to the diary, but nevertheless the threat of Rafina going overzealous is there. That said, given that this volume has more of a focus on school activities and is still setting up things to come, it’s also not quite as interesting as the last volume was, which is to be expected. It’s still very entertaining, and sets things up well for future volumes.

Jeskai Angel: It’s great, as expected of Tearmoon Empire. I agree that whole student-council-election plot was…not the most interesting thing, though it still provided many opportunities for humor and character development. I think I mentioned this back when we covered vol. 2, but I appreciated how the narrative wove the new arc into Mia’s original story. I also thought it was great that we’re still getting flashbacks to Mia’s first life (e.g., the birthday observance chapter). She’s altered the timeline and no longer has to worry about that particular fate, but she still experienced those events and they still affect her. I like seeing that kind of continuity / consistency. It was also interesting to learn more about the church and its place within the setting.

Gaheret: As for me, I did like the school council election plot more than the Remno plot (which felt less believable to me, speaking in general). It provided very interesting insights into the religion of Rafina´s Church and of the politics of this world, and I find that topic fascinating. A somewhat sacral democratic election! Ritual attires and baths! Symbolic colours! Moral issues concerning political campaigns! Dukes with theme colours! A tyrant theocratic Empire! A secret society trying to undermine the established religion! Justice and mercy! A proto-alliance against the Serpents! Mia´s theological thoughts! Rafina cracking! It was all great. In general, I´d say that I like Tearmoon Empire more in its St. Noel setting, where Mia can make the most of her knowledge of the future, the geopolitical/social/emotional game is everywhere, coincidences regarding future events are less far-fetched, she knows more or less everyone and more or less anticipates what the challenges of the school year will be, as she is revisiting a known scenario in which she has failed once. I liked this one a lot.

marthaurion: Been a while, so I don’t remember all of the details. I remember being surprised that the diary went away so soon in the story, but the fact that it opens the way for Miabel to enter the story is interesting. It would have been very easy (and safe) to keep the diary as an updating glimpse into Mia’s future, so I appreciate that it’s dumped to give way for new things. I like the idea in general that Mia’s life doesn’t completely revolve around a single tragedy in her future. As a side note, I thought it was funny that Mia dodges tragedy at the guillotine, securing a pleasant life for herself, but immediately ruins it again because she doesn’t want a lot of kids. I think some of this is carried over from the previous volume, but I think we get to see how this plays out in the overall story in this volume.

2. What are your thoughts on the new characters that are either introduced in this volume, or that we see more of this volume?

Jeskai Angel: Starting with her name (literally being a portmanteau of “Mia” and “Abel”), Bel is fun. Mia’s jealousy at the way everyone dotes on her granddaughter is also hilarious. Bel also has a tendency to blurt out truths that Mia hadn’t intended to share. And Bel serves an important role in confirming for us as readers that Mia is the beneficiary of some form of divine providence. Bel’s arrival is unmistakably an answer to Mia’s plea for guidance.

Finally, I think the Bel’s flashbacks (which are still in the future from Mia’s point of view) are another neat way of demonstrating Mia’s effect on the timeline. In her first life, most people rejected and abandoned Mia, but with just the changes she’s made so far, there are now a ton of people who treasure Mia so highly that they’re willing to die for her granddaughter. It’s a weird combination of sad and heartwarming. I want to learn more about how this has affected Bel. We know the royal guard died protecting Mia in her first life, and that Anne and Ludwig were loyal to the end, but beyond that, Mia’s first life experience was all about rejection. Not so for Bel, who was beloved by many, but instead has to deal with the trauma of seeing them all die for her.

Gaheret: Miabel was interesting to read about, but I cannot help but think that her plot could have been much more interesting. What if, for example, she had had some reason to hold a grudge against Mia, or perhaps Rafina? What if their personalities had been starkly different? What if the world of her grandmother had been so different from hers as our world is from the 1970´s, or as 1830 was from 1789, and she just couldn´t adjust? What if she saw things very differently? What if she had been evil or mischievous, or had created some sort of problem between Mia and Abel, or had befriended someone against Mia´s wishes? And, the one I feel the most to be a missed opportunity, what if she had been the one person able to see through her? I think Mia needs someone, anyone, that doesn´t misinterpret everything she does, someone she can be completely frank with. I know I would, if I were in her position. Miabel would have been great in that respect. I thought things were going there when she rejected the cookie and noticed how Mia had gone to Anne´s bed, but they didn´t.

marthaurion: Miabel was a fun addition to the cast. So far, she seems a bit incomplete, given the nature of her arrival. I would have expected a visitor from the future to contribute more than passing a single message from a future Ludwig, which makes me think she’s here for more than that. I’m also curious how temporary her visit is meant to be. If it’s truly temporary, then I think there’s a unique opportunity to provide the story with someone who doesn’t necessarily have to worship Mia. It might take some effort to get her there from her current state of reverence, but she could be the first person with whom Mia can be actually truthful.

stardf29: Miabel is, as mentioned, the “replacement” of the diary as far as a source of information about a bad future, and one that is even more personal, given that she isn’t just a book but a living, breathing person. And because she is going off her memory and records of Mia’s life, she’s also… not quite as reliable of a source, which can certainly make things interesting, as we see here with how she drives Mia towards becoming student council president.

As a character, she is basically a younger Mia, lacking in the wisdom and knowledge Mia has acquired over both her lives, but also lacking the spoiled-brattiness that Mia had once upon a time and lost during her new life. And yes, she’s a lot of fun overall with her interactions with others. I definitely get the sense that she’s finally being given a chance to enjoy life as a kid when she had previously had the whole issue of survival to deal with. She perhaps hasn’t had that much character development at the moment, as the story is still more focused on Mia, and it does make me wonder what Miabel will do going forward. Will she be forced at some point to return back to her old timeline, at which point one would hope she has learned and grown enough to rescue the Tearmoon of that timeline? Or is she stuck in this timeline and will simply continue to be Mia’s “sister”?

Jeskai Angel: Sapphias was a fun red herring. He’s initially set up as a potential enemy…but then turns out to be a just a boy trying to impress the girl he likes. The narrator makes fun of Mia for her groundless suspicions, and by extension, I think, also makes fun of us the readers for suspecting Sapphias. The other facet of his character that jumped out at me is that he’s yet another instance of Mia’s tendency to have a positive influence on those around her. Sapphias starts out as an arrogant jerk, but by the end of the volume he’s happily and humbly accepting a position as subordinate to Tiona, the girl he’d sneered at earlier.

Gaheret: Sapphias. There you have an interesting name. According to Flavius Josephus, Joshua Ben Sapphias was a leader of the Zealots during the war which ended with the destruction of the Temple, the one during which the Christians were advised to flee Jerusalem. He was of high upbringing, the governor of the city. The fact that one of the Dukes, related to Mia, is joining the revolutionaries also has Philippe Égalité vibes. Philippe, the “Godfather of the Revolution”, was a Borbon and married to the wealthiest lady of France, yet he was a Jacobin, the Masonic “Grand Orient de France” and a revolutionary leader who antagonised Marie Antoinette and voted for the death of the king. All of which didn´t spare him the guillotine, though.

As for the actual Sapphias, it seems that he is not the Serpent (I think it´s Ruby, but I could be wrong), and I like he being in the Student Council. In the end, Serpents aside, which caused Tearmoon´s Revolution was a morally compromised aristocracy who abused its privileges, behaved irresponsibly, was quarrelsome and didn´t cooperate. The incident at the frontier, the Tiona issue during the ball, Ludwig´s complaints and the new information we receive in this volume make this abundantly clear. So the main task of Mia is reforming her ruling class, both so they can work together and so they can behave (more or less) for the good of the people and in a way fitting of Rafina´s standards. Thus, Sapphias, who behaves arrogantly and dishonourably during the election, but doesn´t want to let his betrothed down, is perfect to illustrate this sort of change. He working with Mia under Tiona and Rafina is a brilliant move, and I think he will be a very interesting character.

Ruby. We see very little of the future Red Moon Duchess. I think she is an Oscar François de Jarjeyes/Rose of Versailles reference, and I suspect her of being the Serpent. This, both because she seems proficient with the sword and because she seems to be rubbing salt in the wound concerning Esmeralda´s grievances, and she seems clever. She also seems clever. And I´d say that the Red Moon sounds the most villain-like of the four moons.

stardf29: Sapphias, and on that same note Esmeralda and Ruby, are very reminiscent of “old” Mia. They have her self-centeredness and lack the perspective the current Mia has to recognize the larger-scale consequences of that selfishness, but at the same time they don’t seem to be truly malicious. Well, that might just be saying, they don’t quite have the mental capacity to do anything truly malicious… And yeah, the fake-out that Sapphias had nothing to do with the Chaos Serpents and just wants to impress the girl he likes is great.

That said, the main difference between Sapphias and the other two Etoiles we’ve met is that Sapphias has gotten a full dose of Mia’s power of unintentional inspiration, and is on track to becoming a better person. So the real question is… how will Mia change the lives of Esmeralda and Ruby?

Jeskai Angel: Shout-out to the mysterious Citrina, who hasn’t even shown up in person yet. With Sapphias, Esmeralda, and Ruby becoming more prominent in the narrative, it seems logical that Citrina will have a part to play as well. I can’t help but wonder about the fourth gem-themed ducal scion: it’s hard not to suspect the author of holding something back by talking about her yet keeping her off-stage.

3. What do you think of how previous characters have changed or developed in this volume?

Jeskai Angel: In terms of development for a returning character, Sion was the big winner of vol. 2, and for vol. 3, it’s Rafina. She was pretty vague prior to this — somebody connected with religion and hostile to Mia in her first life, but that’s about it. This volume shows more about her background, motivations, mental/emotional state, and social position. Within the setting, she’s basically like heir of the Pope, if the papacy were a hereditary position. For a kid her age, no wonder that’s a lot of stress!

This volume did a pretty good job of letting many of the notable previous characters get a moment or two in the spotlight, even while the main focus was still on Mia, Rafina, and the new (or new-ish) characters. I think my favorite moment was the conversation between Ludwig and Dion, where Ludwig lays out how Mia somehow inspires people to want to be better. It’s cool to see that Ludwig has such a surprisingly good grasp of Mia’s effect on others. But then we also get to see someone in the middle of changing due to Mia’s influence (i.e., Dion) reflecting on how he himself is changing, and deciding quite deliberately to let her continuing affecting him.

Gaheret: Turning to the already-established characters, Esmeralda being Mia´s friend in the previous timeline, yet abandoning her in the time of greatest need is a very interesting development. As Sapphias, she makes a great antagonist and may be the character who, right now, keeps more of the Mia that was. Unlike Shion and Rafina, people that she could more or less avoid, Mia is going to have to deal with her, because she will soon be one of the top members of her nobility. She is also an antagonist both to Tiona and to Mia herself, and it is clear that she has taken to heart Mia´s refusal to join her party. Her conversation with Sapphias is very interesting, too, both because it tells us that these people are connected and honour that, even if they can´t stand each other, and because of the detail that she thinks he is badmouthing Mia, but she is not, because she thinks Mia was in the wrong to disdain a kinswoman of high rank. Now she has chosen Sapphias over her, and it is foreseeable that he will start changing, so she could feel insulted again, and threatened by that change. The narrator tells us that she has plans of her own, and she could easily become the main non-Serpent antagonist very soon.

Dion. This is my favourite development. I found Dion Alaia to be a dangerous battle-addict who could betray his leader the moment he disagrees with her, and become downright murderous. I still find him to be as unnerving as Mia finds him. What if Rafina hadn´t taken the matter of his infiltration with a sword well, as she had every right to do? Why does he think it´s OK to be the only one to enter a school with a weapon? The Reaper, seriously? But to be willing to put his sword aside and take a different road in life for the good of Mia and the Empire, abandoning the dream of dying in the battlefield, is a very significant step for him. And that conversation with Ludwig, it is clear that he is willing to grow, to trust, to change. He may become a true soldier, one who takes the sword to protect the peace and then returns to other kinds of service. Which is the greatest example of the Mia effect I have yet seen, except for…

Rafina! In volume one, I said she had a threatening aura, always judging and condemning while using her influence one way or another. In this volume, we see the reason for this: she has always longed for a friend, yet her friends behave cruelly towards others, which implied that, were she not powerful and important, she may had the same fate. Embedded in ritual, loved by the commoners, unflinching, elegant, the main wall against the Tearmoon nobility ethos, her Empress Prelate was every bit as terrifying as the Penal King, yet somehow more justified. The Serpents discredited her religion precisely by exploiting her weaknesses and make their own destruction her absolute priority, and convincing her of abandoning her neutral, diarchical stance, so carefully built, towards theocracy. Her religion, which feels like a Christianity without Christ, reminded me of Israel at the time of the Maccabees, in need of the plan of salvation which shows mercy to the sinners. And thus, the lesson of forgiveness and mercy Mia inadvertently delivered her, beautifully represented in the red/white contrast, was precisely what she needed. Her stepping down was beautiful. She may be my favourite character right now, and the living proof that Mia is an agent of Providence.

Tiona, Shion, Keithwood, Chloe. Well, too little Tiona, once again. I want her to go beyond her newfound devotion to Mia, and start having her own thoughts, projects and dreams. She was a revolutionary leader, as well as Shion´s princess and her Tearmoon counterpart. She was the “Saint of the Revolution”, a St. Joan D´Arc figure that had everything Mia wanted, and her direct rival. In the new timeline, she may have not lost her family or her dominion, but she has (for now) lost everything else. I want to hear more of her. Prince Shion is ironic and cool as always, yet, according to Keithwood, still not over his heartbreak. So I think the conflict when Mia requests his support and flatters him (barefoot in the sand and at full power of her beauty, if we are to believe Keithwood, who barely escapes Mia´s attraction this time), should be greater. Especially due considering how she behaved in the previous volume. This happens in front of Abel, too, which should awaken his insecurities. Concerning Chloe, I liked how she reasons concerning the supernatural and ghosts, and the fact Mia trusts her to the extent of showing one of her weaknesses. I like how their friendship is going.

Ludwig, Abel and Anne. Concerning Mia´s “inner circle”, Ludwig interestingly described the “Mia effect” to Dion Alaia (he knows everything except that it is unintentional and providential) while creating the opportunity for him to change, and is a major player as the educator of Miabel. His future self also provided the decisive clue concerning the election, and Mia gave proof of her deep trust in him by blindly following his advice. He is a keen observer, and a good leader. As for Abel, everything goes smoothly, perhaps a little bit too smoothly, except that he is yet to know Mia´s “other side”. Miabel doesn´t tell us if he ever discovered it in the other timeline, either. Anne, whose kind, merciful nature is confirmed once again, regards Mia increasingly as a little sister, and actually sees her being afraid or lazy, which is good (even if she still regards her as a prodigy of wisdom). It seems to me that Miabel and her may have provided an interesting subplot, as she is her mother figure, only fifty or so years younger, and Miabel is keeping Anne separated from Mia and of her studies. That should bring conflict, or reveals or something, but it hasn´t, or not yet. In any case, she remains the most trustworthy, loyal and caring of all the characters.

And, finally, Mia. “Tiona’s answer blindsided Mia; she hadn’t considered that line of reasoning, and it was made all the more convincing by the fact that she had firsthand experience of an undoubtedly supernatural phenomenon. Ever since her mind-boggling leap through time, she’d been a believer. Not for any profound or philosophical reason, mind you. She just figured that a miracle like that could only have been the work of God. “The almighty God has bestowed something terribly special upon me. That makes me… the chosen one, in a way…” she mused in a profound moment of whatever the opposite of humility is”. But Narrator-san is wrong here: humilitas est veritas, and Mia is the chosen one, not due to her merits or wisdom. She is conscious that it is her duty to grow, be better while still being old Mia, and save many others, and that she is in a providential position to do so. When she going against Rafina in the election, scared as she is, it´s a big moment for her. I found the moments in which she goes through water purification, chooses guillotine red, drinks from the calyx of martyrs and sits in the Student Council after the ritual election to be very moving and powerful, more so because she is blind to most of it. It is the same for us, most of the time. Mia is not a “phoney saint”, but a very compelling saint-in-the-making with a political role to fulfil, and even if her relationship with this world´s God is indirect, it is increasingly real, because she is cooperating. She has all my sympathy.

At this point, I think that Mia´s biggest problem is that, were Rafina, Shion, Dion Alaia, Sapphias or perhaps even Tiona to know what she has been thinking all along, their friendship would probably not last. Abel, Anne and Ludwig would suffer a blow, but Anne and Ludwig remained loyal to her when she was selfish, and Mia has chosen Abel and helped him, not by mistake. That is a great weight, and there is something both comedic and tragic about all those misunderstandings. She has trusted the benevolent God of her world, though, and it seems that His providence is acting, so I hope it all ends well.

stardf29: Rafina definitely got the most out of this volume, particularly in seeing how stressed out she is about all her responsibilities, but also how she feels like she can’t let anyone else take on those responsibilities, either. It’s easy to see how, in the original timeline, this could lead to Empress Prelate Rafina, someone who believes “I am the only one who can fix what is wrong with the world”, but ultimately only hurts the world more because of her actions.

Thankfully, Mia shows her that she has people she can trust to reduce her workload and help her deal with issues like the Chaos Serpents. She may still have plenty to do, but she doesn’t have to burn herself out doing it.

Mia: I think my favorite bit here was how she had learned the importance of asking questions when needed, and how she observed Tiona and Sapphias in order to determine when to ask questions. Few things really are as valuable in life as the willingness to ask questions to learn what you do not know.

For other characters, I do like how some of the minor characters like Lynsha and Monica from the last volume find a role here in this volume. As the Mia support network grows, we could have quite the team ready to deal with whatever the Chaos Serpents try to throw at them.


Mia still has to deal with crap from horses, though. This time, literally.

4. What do you think of the story’s establishment of the “Chaos Serpents” as the greater evil in this world?

Jeskai Angel: I think the story had three options here: conclude, become a school slice-of-life romcom, or introduce some sort of larger conflict for Mia to overcome. The Chaos Serpents represent the third option, an antagonistic presence that can fuel further adventures. With the story increasingly suggesting Mia is the beneficiary of divine intervention and that Bel’s appearance is an answer to prayer, also it makes sense to add a spiritual (that is, demonic) dimension to her opposition.

I’m also glad this volume mostly kept us in the dark about the Chaos Serpents. We learned they exist…and that’s about it. Obviously, the story will eventually need to reveal more, but by leaving readers mostly ignorant at this stage, the narrative puts us in the same position as Mia, Rafina, and company. We know the Chaos Serpents are out there, and we know a few characters who are clearly not part of them. Beyond that, we can only wonder who might be a Chaos Serpent or what they might be doing now.

Gaheret: The Serpents are really cool villains. They sound like a mix of Dostoyevski´s demi-Satanic, demi-Nihilist anarchists leaded by Paul Stepanovich, the Frenchmasons which influenced the French revolution and standard Satanic cults. They oppose every authority, but hate above all religious authority. They have infiltrated the political structures, with an eye to influential positions. As spies, terrorists, criminal organisations and secret societies in the real world often do, they are able to use the paranoia they create against those who oppose them, and who may end up seeing conspirators everywhere and hurting their own causes. Rafina sent a general against then, and discovered that he was a member of the secret society (that literally happen in Spain with Rafael del Riego). I think they are a very good choice for villains.

marthaurion: Seems promising to me. Referring back to what I said earlier, this seemed a bit necessary to make the time shift possible. It was easy to buy that that Mia originally doomed herself to failure, but it would be hard to accept that this happens again and again, despite her flagrant ineptitude. So, I think it makes sense to add an evil organization that can provide the consistent force driving her to change her future. Plus, there’s a sense of comedy in seeing her bumble through their carefully thought-out conspiracies.

stardf29: Yeah, I really liked the establishment of the Chaos Serpents as the “main” villain, for a number of reasons. One reason is that it addresses the whole idea that Mia was singularly responsible for all of Tearmoon’s problems in the old timeline. It was already an unfair accusation in the first volume, showing how the “revolutionary” army wasn’t particularly in the right, and now it is clear that making Mia a scapegoat for the revolution was exactly what the Serpents wanted. They aren’t a “new” villain, but are now being revealed as the ones that are truly behind everything.

And then there is how these Chaos Serpents give off the feeling of a Satanic cult, and how there may be a sort of “God vs. Satan” element to the story. That certainly makes for an interesting way to view the story, especially from a Christian perspective.

Also, I like the idea of Mia thwarting the Serpents by, well, being Mia. For all of the Serpents’ machinations, they simply are no match for a girl with some foresight, some kindness, and a lot of charisma.

As an additional thought: if we think of this story as being inspired by actual historical events like the French Revolution, it creates an interesting thing to think about: how events like the French Revolution may have been influenced by Satan himself. Maybe there weren’t actual Satanic cultists secretly influencing things, but it’s not hard to think of how the Enemy’s lies might have affected historic events.

5. What did you think of the religious symbols and rituals in the story?

Jeskai Angel: I liked it. I guess what surprises me about the story’s use of religious imagery was how…respectful (?) it was. I feel like ninety-nine times out of a hundred, any organization that appears in light novels / manga / anime and bears the least resemblance to Christianity (and the Roman Catholic Church in particular) is going to be evil. In my experience, it’s actually pretty unusual to see a religion like this portrayed positively. Even in the case of the “Empress Prelate” in Bel’s timeline, it’s pretty clearly depicted as Rafina becoming corrupted and abandoning her true duties as a religious leader. That is, the problem is one leader falling to temptation, NOT the church as a whole being fundamentally corrupt.

And the story doesn’t just portray the church positively, but also…substantively? Church-like religions that show up in light novels / anime are often extremely vague in terms of details like who or what they worship, sacred texts they follow, rituals, structure, purpose, etc., to the point that one wonders why such institutions even exist (other than to provide employment for evil popes). But in this volume, we confirm that the religion has a bible, worships one god, what the church’s role is in within society at large, the range of attitudes toward it, etc. It felt like the author might have done research and was genuinely trying to present a somewhat coherent religion in the story’s setting, rather than just borrowing random stuff to make a cardboard cutout of a religion.

Gaheret: Reflecting about it these days, I think that Rafina gets purified of her main flaw during the rite of purification (hence the tears), and surrenders her position after drinking the cup of sacrifice and martyredom. She is giving the Empress the direct governing power in the sacred election, and yet giving her guidance and counsel.

stardf29: I’m not as familiar with religious imagery, but I do agree that it is very refreshing to see the Church being portrayed positively in a light novel. This is one place in particular where the Chaos Serpents works very well as the villain, as it sets up a nice “good vs. evil” conflict, which I think is all too often made to be either too “morally gray” or make for too much of a “human” problem. Here we have a grand evil force, and a “God” opposed to that evil.

6. Do you agree with Mia that she was chosen by God for a mission? And in that case, what do you think it is?

Jeskai Angel: I do agree with Mia. She’s quite right that dying and going back in time with an evolving diary is NOT a natural phenomenon: divine intervention is the most logical explanation. It actually reminds of a line near the end the great C.S. Lewis novel Till We Have Faces: “This age of ours will one day be the distant past. And the Divine Nature can change the past. Nothing is yet in its true form.” I don’t think Mia’s experience is quite what Lewis had in mind (LOL), but the underlying concept that God can intervene in what we perceive as “the past” rings true. The idea was quite striking to me when I read TWHF in college years ago (as shown by the fact that I remembered it well enough to look it up and find the exact quote), and inclines me to see Mia’s time leap as a totally possible thing for a god to do.

This volume adds a couple of important points. First, I think that by fleshing out the Central Orthodox Church somewhat, the existence of a god within the story feels more plausible. Second, there’s the whole business with Bel showing up. As I mentioned before, the story makes it clear that Mia seeks guidance, and Bel promptly shows up with knowledge from the future. I can’t see that as anything but an answered prayer. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find,” indeed. Finally, I think the Chaos Serpents actually make a pretty good case for the existence of a god in the story. It’s strange that someone like Jem would display such an intense aversion to the setting’s bible if that book is just a bunch of myths and fables, but makes far more sense if (in the setting) the bible is a genuine sacred text from a very real god.

I suppose at this point it seems likely that in terms of the overall narrative, Mia’s mission is to thwart the Chaos Serpents. However, I can’t help but wonder about the Mia Effect. From Anne (the first) to Sapphias (the most recent), Mia keeps positively influencing individuals who come into her sphere. Maybe Mia’s mission isn’t to defeat a civilization-destroying evil cult. Maybe her mission is just to change someone’s life for the better.

stardf29: Oh, I 100% agree Mia was chosen by “God” to go back in time. And I think that highlights something very true about our God: God does not choose “perfect” people for His missions. He chooses broken, sinful people. And not just “kinda sinful” people, but people who still have huge sins to work through.

So what is Mia’s mission? Sure, it’s to thwart the Chaos Serpents and save Tearmoon, and I also agree with Jeskai about how there’s also the element of inspiring the people around her to become better as well. And if I may throw one more thing on there: it’s also to grow herself as a person. And those three things are not separate missions; they are all connected together in a greater mission to, well, simply make everything better. In terms of our own faith, it’s the whole idea of “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

7. Final Thoughts

stardf29: So I would like to take this moment to promote J-Novel Club’s premium e-books, which often have some bonus content, and in this case there’s a very special bonus story… done in the form of a mini choose-your-own-adventure style “otome game” where Mia can end up interacting with one of the many other characters based on your choices. I especially like how it uses the hyperlink feature of e-books to make choices and jump around the book, as well as make it easy to go back to the start. It’s mainly just slice-of-life fluff, but it’s still a fun extra for those buying direct from JNC.

Gaheret: Now that you say it, the choose-your-own-adventure idea is very fitting to the Tearmoon Empire story as a whole. For now, I’m enjoying the ride very much, I think the author is pushing the story in interesting directions, and I wonder about the endgame.

If you read through our discussion, thank you for following along!

If you are interested in joining future Light Novel Club discussions, I bet you want to know what novels to read. Well, later this month, we will be starting discussion on Reset! The Imprisoned Princess Dreams of Another Chance! Vol. 1! This is another story about a princess who goes back in time to try to stop the fall of her country, so it will be interesting to see how this novel approaches the concept differently. Discussion starts on April 20th, but don’t worry if you need more time to read it, as discussion will run into the first week of May as well.

If you want to look towards our May discussion, you have a good amount of time to read up through Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki, Vol. 2! With the anime adaptation having recently finished, it is a great time to get back to this series and look at how Tomozaki’s attempt to master the game of life goes as he comes up against some unique challenges. Our discussion opens on May 21st!

Have fun reading, and join our Discord if you want to join in on our Light Novel Club discussions!

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