I’m in Love with the Villainess is a light novel series written by Inori and illustrated by Hanagata. Started in 2018, it is a web novel hosted on the Let’s Be Novelists website. GL Bunko acquired the series, publishing the first light novel in 2019.
Seven Seas Entertainment licensed it for an English release.
The first volume contains chapters one through to three, plus a bonus chapter.
Dear Archnemesis… Won’t You Be Mine?
Ordinary office worker Oohashi Rei wakes up in the body of the protagonist of her favourite otome game, Revolution. To her delight, the first person to greet her is also her favourite character, Claire Francois – the main antagonist of the story! Now, Rei is determined to romance Claire instead of the game’s male leads. But how will her villainous ladylove react to this new courtship?!
First things first, I’ll be addressing the main character as “Rae” here. The synopsis may refer to her as “Rei”, but she becomes the character of Rae Taylor. This story is told from a first person perspective, which means we get a lot of insight into Rae’s personal thoughts and feelings.
Most of those said thoughts and feelings are her undying love for Claire Francois. It is made very clear from the beginning that Rae loves Claire. Claire is not so affectionate, though, but the dynamic the pair have does make for plenty of fun interactions.
Claire also happens to be a noble, and she does not look kindly upon commoners. Commoners like Rae.
The divide between classes is actually an important plot point in Revolution, and in turn, this story as well. Certain events come about due to that, but Rae’s encyclopaedic of Revolution means she is able to prepare for what is to come.
Knowing is only half the battle, though, and there are things that Rae just can’t prevent. Still, everything she does is simply for Claire’s sake.
One thing that I don’t quite get on with is Rae being willing to step back and even encourage the relationship between Claire and one of Revolution‘s male leads. She takes practically every opportunity to tease Claire and proclaim her love for her, yet she also has a case of “wanting her beloved to be happy”.
I honestly kind of wish Rae would be more greedy in that regard. That is something that Claire even calls her out on during this light novel, too.
Putting that aside, Rae is single-minded in her romantic pursuit of Claire. She strikes at every opportunity presented to her. When things become more serious, though, Rae can be counted on. Claire may give the appearance of looking down on Rae, but it is pretty evident she knows she can count on her.
I suppose I should also mention the three princes – the male leads of the Revolution game. They all seem to be pretty decent folk. Rae mentions how the game seems to play one up as something of a saint, but since I’m in Love with the Villainess is told from her perspective, there’s no such issue here.
I have no qualms with the princes. They take their duties seriously, and don’t have any particularly nasty tendencies.
Plenty of people out there absolutely adore this light novel. I personally wouldn’t heap praise upon praise on it, but I can say that I had fun reading this first volume. Rae and Claire’s dynamic is probably what sold me most on this.