Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!: Royal Academy Stories – First Year

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 by J-Novel Club. Translated by quof.

While we have gotten short stories at the end of each volume of Bookworm from the perspectives of the people in the cast who are not Myne/Rozemyne, it’s nice to have an entire volume that does not feature her at the center – in fact, a lot of these stories revolve around her absence. Instead we get a sense of what the Academy is supposed to be like for people who are not Rozemyne, and how she really is just tearing through everything like a bull in a china shop. There is political wrangling about tea parties, political wrangling about sports, and literal assault as a romantic overture. One thing I will note: everyone who said “I still hate Wilfried” as we went into the 4th arc should read this, as you really do feel bad for him. That said, anyone who hated Traugott will find only things that make you hate him more. I can’t believe he was once engaged to Best Girl.

Many of these stories are from Hannelore’s POV, and indeed the collection itself came about as the author wanted to find a place for the web-only Hannelore stories that didn’t fit into the main books. I can sum most of them up as “Being Hannelore Is Suffering” and leave it at that. There’s also a long story from the POV of Rauffen, the ditter-obsessed housemaster of Dunkenfelger, and how he proves to be much more on the ball than I had anticipated. And we get a wonderful story with Angelica, showing how even if she wants to serve Rozemyne for the rest of her life, she still has to realize what that actually means (though she also proves more emotionally adept than I had anticipated at handling the temple servants). And there’s Hartmut, as we see the short story that had been referenced before in the 7th book of Arc 4 (this volume came out in Japan before that one), and it’s a lot of fun.

I’d argue this is pretty essential reading even if it’s just short stories without Rozemyne in them. The discussion of ditter and what it was originally meant to do, as well as the changed made to it, forecast an ominous fate for the knights if there is, say, a civil war. The most ominous short story is the one with Ortwin and his sister Adolphine, who had been expecting a relatively easy and happy engagement, but thanks to Rozemyne’s intervention and the power of True Love, is going to get one that’s far less easy and far less happy. The words “I’m screwed” do not pass her lips, but they drench the text, and I think this is also going to play out in future volumes of the main series. And we also learn that even if she may only be 11 years old and look like she’s 7, Rozemyne is still a hot item, which helps explain why she got a rushed engagement. Powerful people want her in their duchy.

As with most short story collections of large series these days, this came out awkwardly after the books that refer to it. I assume that’s the usual rights issues and contract stuff. Still better than Re: Zero, which relies on “no, we’re not doing these volumes, just read the wiki to figure out who this is”. Thankfully, we have it now, and it’s a great read for Bookworm fans.

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