Last year Yen Press began releasing the highly anticipated Spy Classroom light novel series in the West. Now we return to the series with Volume 2 in hand to find out if it’s still the delightful spy thriller it was in its first instalment.
Volume 2 of Spy Classroom opens with master spy Klaus overworking by taking on difficult missions all by himself. After he and his spy team accomplished their first Impossible Mission together in the previous book, he realised that they still have a long way to go and he doesn’t want to put them in danger. So for now, he’s completing solo missions while engaging in daily training with his team, who are still yet to defeat him.
Meanwhile Lily and the rest of the girls are upset by the fact Klaus won’t lean on them for support or even take them along on easier missions. They try to reason with their boss, but their inability to defeat him in battle leaves them without a bargaining chip. That is, until a new Impossible Mission comes in and Klaus has no choice but to put together a group of three to accomplish it.
This new mission sees Klaus, Lily, Grete and Sybilla tasked with defeating an assassin going after a notable politician (with animal lover Sara providing support). The first order of business is for the girls to infiltrate the politician’s mansion as maids and find out more about their target while Klaus chases a lead of his own away from the team. But are these three even ready to take on a job like this?
Readers may remember Lily as being the focus of Volume 1 as well as the leader of the team. Lily can unleash poison from her body to immobilise enemies, while she’s immune to poisons used against her. Grete, meanwhile, is the mastermind behind all the attacks the group launched against Klaus, as well as being skilled in disguises. As for Sybilla, she’s a skilled fighter with a lot of strength, so should things come to a long drawn-out battle, she’s more suited than Lily or Grete are.
If the first book was supposed to be Lily’s story, then it’s fair to say that Volume 2 belongs to Grete (with Sybilla’s story shoved in). Grete, like most of the team working under Klaus, has something holding her back from reaching her full potential. In Grete’s case, it’s her androphobia – although this doesn’t extend to Klaus with whom she’s fallen in love.
I admit that Grete having feelings for Klaus is something I wasn’t particularly fond of back in Volume 1, but I think author Takemachi does a good job of reining it in here and giving it a purpose. It also helps that there is a resolution to it within this book, although I’ll leave it to readers to find out for themselves what happens there!
Like the first book, I don’t think Volume 2 is perfect. In places, it’s a clumsy collection of tropes and quirky characters that somehow come together to create a highly entertaining work. I suppose it reminds me of some action movies, where the best method of enjoyment is not to think too deeply about it and just enjoy the ride. That’s not to say it’s poorly written though, since the twists and turns are well thought out and everything makes sense, no matter how much it escalates from the beginning of the mission.
My main criticism this time around is that Takemachi tries to explore the backstories for both Grete and Sybilla, which I don’t think works, given the short page count the book has to work with. Grete ends up being the main focus while Sybilla feels sidelined, so I’d have preferred if her story was saved for later in the series where we could properly appreciate it.
As previously mentioned, Spy Classroom Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and continues to be translated by Nathaniel Thrasher. The translation reads well with no issues to note. Volume 3 of the series is due for an English release in May.
Overall, Spy Classroom Volume 2 is an entertaining read that capitalises on what made the first instalment fun. Although I have some minor criticisms, there’s nothing here that will put readers off provided they enjoyed Volume 1.