Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!, Part 1: Daughter of a Soldier, Vol. 2

By Miya Kazuki and You Shiina. Released in Japan as “Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen” by TO Books. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by quof.

This was a stronger volume than the first one, which I already liked quite a bit. The reason for this is that Myne has essentially accepted this world and who she is in it, and thus does not spend quite as much time railing against her weak body and her fate of being in a world with no books. There’s still a number of times when Myne gets discouraged by everyone being faster/stronger than her, but it isn’t as exhausting this time. It helps that Myne is starting to succeed, and she and Lutz are managing to make their paper dreams come true, help create and invent luxury items for their benefactor, learn the ins and outs of trade, and even make friends with a cute nobleman’s daughter. Unfortunately for Myne, she still has THE DEVOURING, a sickness that seems like it will eventually kill her, and the cure is so expensive that even nobles think it’s super expensive. Can Myne survive?

The highlight of the book, easily, was Lutz confronting Myne about who she really is. Urano getting reincarnated in a weak, sickly girl (who apparently had dreams of living in modern Japan) is all very well and good, but there’s too much dissonance for a child who observes her as closely as Lutz has. He angrily calls her out, and it’s interesting – and a bit horrifying – too see Myne offer to essentially commit suicide to solve the problem… though that won’t get the “real” Myne back. Thankfully, Lutz ends up accepting the new Myne, but we’ll have to see how this goes going forward – Benno also seems to have figured things out, but Myne is not ready to open up to him yet.

The book also gives us a lot more detail about the world Myne is a part of, setting up what is a long series of books. There are other cities, but most residents will never, ever go beyond the one they live in. Marriages can be difficult as well – a side story tells us how Otto met and married his wife, and it involved the fact that she was about to be married off to someone that she wasn’t fond of but could not reject or it would impact their family and business. Fortunately, she and Otto seem to get along well. (Honestly, most of the women and girls we’ve seen in this book are pretty strong characters.)

One last thing to note – through two volumes, there’s not really all that much that I would consider objectionable in a standard light novel way – no hot springs peeping, casual lechery, etc. Myne notes that Otto’s wife has large breasts, but that’s about it. It is, in fact, a novel you could quite happily give to a young teen or older child and have them tear through – though it might not be exciting watching Myne make paper, there are a few action scenes here and there. Briefly. Ascendance of a Bookworm’s second volume is better than its first, and is a good read for anyone who loves books. I can’t wait to read the third book, which ends “Part 1” of Myne’s story.

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