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

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.

The fourth volume of Bookworm starts a new arc, as Myne has managed to cajole and finagle her way into being an apprentice shrine maiden – and a blue-robed one at that, the elite noble sort of shrine maiden. But things aren’t all magically wonderful, despite the fact that she can now read books. She has three attendants, all of whom dislike her to some degree, and she is not remotely used to talking and acting as a noble should. Despite having an outlet for her Devouring now, she’s still sickly and weak, particularly when she’s reading so much she forgets to eat. The temple has an orphanage that is a nightmare, and Myne has to deal with the fact that if she wants to do something about it, she can’t just half-ass it – she needs to be a benefactor. Can she overcome all this, plus the fact that every time she finds a “solution” to a problem, it creates five more?

Myne may have the knowledge from her past life, but even her past self tended to be a bit flighty, so one of the biggest roadblocks she faces is her acting the way that a normal kid would act – acting on something as soon as she sees it, without thinking of the consequences. This has always been a headache to Benno, but now it’s a headache for the High Priest as well. Honestly, things would go far smoother if she was to simply ask more “common sense” questions about nobility, but “tell me what I don’t know” is hard to answer. I was rather amused when, towards the end of the book, when trying to resolve the issues with Lutz’s family, she’s given a magic device that literally means no one else can hear her talk. Oh, if only this existed in real life.

As for the three attendants, honestly, Myne wins them over fairly rapidly. One is disturbed she’s not acting like a noble and also worries he’s been demoted; another is a bratty kid who’s just never gotten praise for good work before, and the third is the High Bishop’s planted spy, who is trying to stay on the one path available to her, even though “mistress to a noble” strikes Myne as not something to strive for. We also get the usual inventions and ideas from Myne, as we make pizza, create clothes hangers, and discover that the fruits used in a festival event actually can become the rare paper-giving trombes if mana is poured into them – something that could also have huge ramifications down the road, as now the commoners would have a way to fight the Devouring. Myne has to (once more) be sat down and lectured, as life is not as simple as “now no one will have mana poisoning!”.

Those watching the current anime know this is a slow-burn series, and this volume is much the same, despite Myne also becoming an orphanage director. At least she’s reading books… though her revelation that she doesn’t really retain anything she reads boggles my mind. It really is pure pleasure for her, isn’t it? This new arc is four books long, so I look forward to seeing how Myne makes everyone around her smack their foreheads in future volumes.

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