Thoughts on The Executioner and Her Way of Life, Vol. 3: The Cage of Iron Sand

Menou’s journey takes her to the west in the third volume of Mato Sato’s The Executioner and Her Way of Life light novel series. To the west, into the harsh heat of a desert.The Executioner and Her Way of Life, Vol. 3 The Cage of Iron SandBe warned of mirages in the desert.
A sword that transforms all it touches into salt, sealed away in the far reaches of the west. That’s the tool Menou has set her sights on in her latest attempt to execute Akari. On their journey through the desert, they cross paths with Sahara – a nun with a steel gauntlet, a history with Menou, and an inexplicable goal of her own: to be killed by the young Executioner. Meanwhile, across the world in the east, the Mechanical Society – another one of the Four Major Human Errors – has started turning its gears, slowly inching toward the girls and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake…

So the main setting of this volume of The Executioner and Her Way of Life is a desert, and we are introduced to a character called Sahara… huh. Seems to be more of a coincidence than anything. Regardless of her name, Sahara certainly brings along some very intriguing developments for this story.
In fact, she effectively becomes a main character for the duration of this volume – Akari and Momo are practically reduced to side characters. Which actually isn’t all that bad.

Although their respective scenes in this volume are much lighter than what has come before, I’d argue that the events that unfold concerning the two of them might be the most interesting in this volume. And that’s saying something, because there is a lot going on here that will keep you turning pages. The events concerning Momo and Akari are effectively planting seeds for the fourth volume.

Back to this third one, and Menou allies herself with the nun Sahara in order to take on a group known as the Iron Chain – who operate in the lawless wastes of the Wild Frontier. The Executioner and the nun actually have a pretty fun dynamic going on between them – I particularly enjoy the way that Sahara teases Menou about being a chick magnet. To be fair to Sahara, she’s not exactly wrong – although perhaps Menou would beg to differ.
I’ve mentioned both familiar names, and a new one, but I suspect some may be curious about a certain princess. Ashuna plays a vital role in the plot of this volume as well; she sure has a talent for being in the right place at the right time.
Ashuna’s involvement in this volume also happens to be the inspiration for one of the coloured illustrations inserted into this volume. When you’ve got a place with sun, sand, and plenty of water, there’s only one thing for it.

Again, just one of many things that will keep you reading this volume. The action scenes are all pretty fantastic as well, with Menou and Ashuna getting to strut their stuff for most of them. It’s a joy to read how those two approach their battles – Menou utilising whatever advantages she has, and Ashuna just using brute strength. Very different approaches to combat, but both effective in their own ways.

This volume also gives us an insight into another one of the Four Major Human Errors, the Mechanical Society. It may be in the complete opposite direction of where Menou is travelling, but it still has quite the role to play. The Mechanical Society is quite fascinating, where it seems like video games heavily influenced whoever the Pure Concept originated from.

The Executioner and Her Way of Life goes from strength to strength. Each new volume builds the world up more and more, and Menou continues to get involved in all sorts of intriguing events. Momo, Akari and Ashuna continue to be just as fun to read about as ever, too.
Things get shaken up by the end of this volume as well. Things only look like they’re going to get even more interesting with the next volume – and the previous volumes totally drew me in anyways. I’m absolutely loving Mato Sato’s work so far, and am very eager to see what Menou and her acquaintances all have in store.
The Executioner and Her Way of Life is certainly settling in as one of my all time favourite light novel series. This is one that I will enthusiastically recommend picking up.

About Rory

I enjoy writing, manga, anime and video games, so naturally here on my blog, you will find anime reviews, Nintendo news and other such things that I deem interesting.
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