Bibliophile Princess, Vol. 3

By Yui and Satsuki Sheena. Released in Japan as “Mushikaburi-hime” by Ichijinsha Bunko Iris NEO. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Alyssa Niioka.

We’ve been seeing a lot of light novels lately, particularly on the shoujo end, where it’s clear the author has a story in mind, wrote that specific story, and now the editors are telling them the story is popular, please write more and they get a little stuck. I’m not sure if that’s the case with Bibliophile Princess 3 (like the others, this does seem to have been published on the web first), but it definitely feels like that. We’re not ready for the wedding yet, and so we need to introduce more conflict. Unfortunately, the conflict that is introduced will feel very familiar to readers of the first volume, as it’s of a similar nature. Even after promising to talk to each other and not misunderstand things anymore, Christopher and Elianna are still struggling – him because he’s drowning in so much work that he doesn’t have the time, and Elianna because she is finally growing up and gaining emotional depth – for good and for ill.

She’s been going through royalty training, with Queen Henrietta trying her hardest to ensure that she’s prepared for the hardcore power politics that is life as a royal. A large part of Elianna’s teenage years was spent with Chris hiding her from this sort of thing, so there’s a lot of catch up to do. And Elianna is an introvert and wallflower (well, unless books become involved). She hears of one of her ideas being stolen by another noble family, and is shocked (mostly as it means there’s a mole close to her). There’s a Christmas ball (OK, it’s not “Christmas” per se, but everything about it reads like a Christmas holiday) where she’s supposed to dazzle everyone, and she is reluctant to be the Queen’s dress-up doll to perfect that (as the Queen has abused the privilege in the past). Worst of all, she keeps hearing about the prince’s childhood friend, and how she’s the one who REALLY should be with him.

Again, we’ve walked this journey before, in the first book. Elianna has a tendency to either downplay or simply not understand at all what she’s done for the kingdom, and we get that again here. That said, sometimes her emotional agony rings quite true, and the scene where she finally breaks down and cries in Christopher’s arms was well handled. I was not particularly fond of Lady Sharon – not as an antagonist, she works perfectly well there, being the typical bratty kid, but because she’s 10 years old and is being married off to Lord Glen, something that thankfully does not actually happen. I know back in the day such royal marriages across countries were typical, but this is not that day. That said, Sharon also led to the funniest scene in the book, when she tries to get Elianna to abandon Chris by offering an extremely rare book – and Elianna, while she eventually makes the correct decision, is sorely tempted.

So all told this is a very up-and-down volume in the series, which is struggling to try to find new ways to say the same thing. I hope in future books it finds different things to say.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind