Out of all the books in the series I re-read so far, I remembered the most out of this one. Not important plot details, but little things like some key-words and some names. That might be thanks to the fact that unlike the first two, here we have an actual villain.
But before that, I still love it very much. In this third book Shiiba confronts with a new set of challenges and his relationship with Munechika is put under pressure. Shiiba has been trying to sort out his feelings since the start, since he and Munechika started working together, but as expected, he gets even more troubled. I love how Saki Aida displayed his internal struggle, it gets the reader to really understand and relate to Shiiba (not me, but I'm sure there are readers out there who do).
Munechika is mostly as calm as ever, but we also get more emotion from him too, and get to learn a few things about him. Just to be clear I didn't feel like I didn't know him before, au contraire, it's just that now we had a chat and shared a few things, so to say.
The plot this time is more exciting, things get a little more serious in a way and we get closer to whatever is going on with Munechika. In the previous two novels Munechika's brother was mentioned, but here we finally get to meet him. I had mostly forgotten about him, apart from the fact that he existed, so I was expecting a different kind of character, although my expectation didn't differ completely. I mentioned that here we get a villain and that one sure makes things more tense. There are also a lot of leads we get and try and string together (reading I did remember details on the plot so I didn't get to have fun again with that, but it's fine, I still enjoyed it) and the ending of the novel makes me want to start reading the next one immediately.
I am delighted to say that the timeline finally settled, we have a definite age for Shiiba (28 years old, turning 29), a definite passing of time since Yukari's murder (8 years because a year passed since the start of the second book) and I wish that'll be all I have to say about it this time, but I can't, although this is the most minor flaw so far. At one point Shiiba was pondering about Kaname's age and settled to Kaname being older than him, but younger than Munechika. Later in the book when he finally learned that Kaname is older than Munechika by three years, he was surprised as he was expecting Kaname to be much, much older, and I just... sigh.
I liked the illustrations by Chiharu Nara as usual, but this time I felt like they helped get everything together. On the previous book I said I didn't think they were necessary, but nice, whereas here I feel like they are part of the story. There are the same number of illustration in each book so it's not that, but here we have a few illustrations that don't feature one or both main characters every time so that might have something to do with it. Either way, I found it to be very interesting.
Needless to say I loved this book very much as well, I am embracing my bias, and I am so glad to re-read this series.