The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 5: Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 5: Abyssus Abyssum Invocat Book Cover The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 5: Abyssus Abyssum Invocat
The Saga of Tanya the Evil
Carlo Zen
Light Novel
Yen On
March 19, 2019 (English) | January 30, 2016 (Japanese)

Winter is roughly two months out. The time limit has been set. But the Empire's military leaders are fiercely divided on what to do. Should they conduct aggressive offensives in hopes of a breakthrough, or should they weather the winter and use that as a chance to reorganize, restructuring the lines of battle? In the end, they decided that while they gather supplies for a theoretical offensive, they would conduct an investigation to collect intelligence. Naturally, Tanya's Salamander Unit was the first candidate for the mission. Should they push ahead, or should they hold their ground? There's no time to hesitate. As the hellish conditions worsen, the war shows no sign of slowing down or becoming any less brutal. Everyone has no choice but to keep what they hold dear close to their hearts as they march ever onwards toward the battlefield. Everything for the sake of the motherland, for the fatherland.


Abyssus Abyssum Invocat. One misstep leads to another. Literally translated as “hell calls hell”. A very appropriate title given this is the point where Tanya’s actions come back to bite her personally. The longer this war goes on, the worse things get for every side involved. But up to this point, Tanya has been fairly lucky. Volume 5 even pokes fun at this at one point, with the enemy believing they have intelligence leaks because no one is lucky enough to ruin as many of their operations as Tanya has. But the last book showed us that Tanya’s ego is starting to have consequences for the Imperial Army. Now those consequences affect her personally.

One of Tanya’s core flaws is failing to put herself in other people’s shoes. Now, this is not always a bad thing. Because she has knowledge of Earth’s military history, she is able to examine the current war with a unique viewpoint. But the flipside of that is assuming her preconceived notions are correct. When something happens that utterly and blatantly proves one of her assumptions wrong, it blindsides her.

Tanya has put trust in her instincts and experience up to this point, and for good reason. It can’t be said that she’s had zero setbacks before, but she has always come out ahead. Improvise, adapt, overcome. No matter what’s been thrown at her, she always manages to keep moving forward. But this time, she hits a wall. No one wins forever; everyone makes a mistake eventually. For someone like Tanya, who fears failure on an extremely personal level, having to confront that becomes a devastating challenge.

War is hell. Well, actually, war is war. Hell is hell. Tanya has never been disillusioned enough to not believe that. But success after success has conditioned her expectations. Volume 5 gives us the first time she experiences not a setback, but a complete and utter failure. It brings her to an absolute low point, the type of crippling negative emotion that can break people.

This is (most likely) the point in the series where the protagonist is at their lowest. They’ve been kicked down into the dirt and it will take everything they have to rise up again. But Tanya is as stubborn as she is anything else. And this being a war story, when she comes back with vengeance you know it will be bloody.

October 11, 2020

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