TW: Transphobia, Rape, Pedophlia, Suicide,
--At first I was impressed with how0 they kept using someone's preferred pronouns. Then the situation took a nasty turn. It was disturbing how the character's started describing them, how all of a sudden their birth sex was apparent and how they'd been fooled! To make matters worse, they were not transgender by choice but were the villain by choice. So again, in a book with a setting where m/m, f/f, and bisexuality is accepted as normal and unremarked upon, the T gets phobia and villainy. Sano doesn't even agree about keeping "the secret" because of respect, but because it threatens his master's regime! UGH.
--While the shogan doesn't have an active harem of boys in this installment, just pages at this time, there are references to his history and I'm sure he won't be celibate for long.
--There is a victim of rape with her brother being the perpetrator. This is referred to as "incest" as if she was a willing participant. The victim blaming is excruciating and society is her adversary to justice and peace. She has PTSD, anxiety, and is the one to commit suicide.
An aside: Apparently in this society, incest is perfectly normal as is it resulting in children.
--I'm always impressed how Rowland keeps things fresh, evolving, and progressing.
--Holy fucking shit, that ending!!