Author Fumino brings this sci-fi mystery to a close with this second volume of Beast † Blood, and in case it wasn’t clear from volume 1, this is not your average female-oriented light novel.
Zelaide pushed Euphemia away last volume even though she’s his mate, feeling as if she’s too good and pure to be with a monster like him. That belief doesn’t stop his sexual frustration though, and long story short, his DNA is found at a murder scene. Although both Zelaide and Euphemia know he’s innocent, they still need to track down who’s behind this and all the other incidents.
This novel is very focused on Zelaide. That may be no surprise since he’s the one keeping them from being a couple and is mentally younger than Euphemia. (Beast Bloods have a different maturity cycle, which is discussed in the book.) It takes a while for him to accept that he’s bonded to Euphemia, but even when they indulge in a night of passion, he still draws a line between them. Even when it seems like that line is shattered for good, Zelaide again makes a unilateral decision about their relationship. Since that plays into the ending, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth. Really, though, for the entire volume, it felt like he wanted his cake and to eat it too.
Euphemia, on the other hand, doesn’t have this issue; her desires are clear: she wants Zelaide and her experiment to be a success — but Zelaide in particular. But her actual role in the story is rather passive. She’s usually used as a character’s motivations. For instance, when Zelaide is arrested, it’s Erika’s idea for Euphemia to turn to an old friend of hers. And we don’t actually see her try to persuade Wei; we see the result from Zelaide’s perspective, and Wei makes it clear he’s only doing it because Euphemia is so wonderful. The author tries to give Euphemia a big moment at the climax of the story, but it feels forced. While Zelaide may be inconsistent at times, at least we see more of his personality, like when he finds himself not hating the head of Euphemia’s workplace.
But Beast † Blood volume 2 is amazing when it focuses on the mystery and action. I mean, facing off against the velociraptor-inspired monsters? Having to climb a mini-mountain while avoiding snipers? All awesome. Beast † Blood also isn’t afraid to include some dark imagery that shows the depravity of the mastermind of the Nightz epidemic. This is not a mature story just because of the sexual content and the usage of drugs; someone important to Zelaide is murdered, and even though Euphemia is forced to see things that already happened, what she watches is truly disturbing. Readers won’t have to flex their brain muscles too much to establish the main villain (and it is a bit convenient that the criminal is revealed just as others figure it out), but stopping him is still an involved adventure — one that requires Zelaide to ask for assistance from some allies who are unfortunately brought onto the scene late in the story.
These stronger aspects may not dominate Beast † Blood in terms of page count, as a lot of focus is on the leads longing for each other. But these dramatic bits are not just sprinkled throughout, and the author describes this in more detail than just, “He dodged and landed a shot.” So while not a perfect light novel, as a sci-fi thriller, it’s a perfectly enjoyable one.