Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!, Part 5: Avatar of a Goddess, Vol. 8

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.

Most of the time, summarizing each plot of a typical volume of Bookworm can be difficult, and I inevitably leave things out, because these are chunky books and a ton keeps happening. That’s true here as well, but it’s a lot easier to summarize: War. We saw the start of it at the end of the previous book, but this one sees the full consequences: Rozemyne, with the help of Dunkenfelger’s battle-happy soldiers, invades Ahrensbach in order to save Ferdinand, while Ehrenfest prepares for Ahrensbach, or rather the more easily manipulated bits of Ahrensbach, to invade them, while Georgine herself goes incognito in order to assassinate Sylvester. Hell, even Hannelore, normally the scared fluffy bunny of this series, is in armor, ready for battle, and controlling a group of nasty looking fantasy Dobermans. As for Rozemyne herself, she’s going to basically do anything to get her “family” back together, even if that means becoming the Aub of her greatest enemy’s territory.

I hate to be a broken record, but Bookworm really does alternate viewpoints well. It’s a common feature in Japanese light novels, but usually the way that it’s done as like My Next Life As a Villainess does it: we get a scene from our heroine’s perspective, and then we see the same scene from the perspective of someone else who was in the scene, showing what they felt about everything. With Bookworm, the POV switches really are necessary, because Rozemyne’s lack of common sense (both because she’s used to the ethics, morals and customs of 21st century Japan and also, let’s face it, because she’s bonkers in general) really does need to be underlined… and Rozemyne’s POV is just as important, because sometimes she’s really in over her head. Everyone in this world is a lot more used to death and bloodshed than she is, and the dismay and nausea she feels when seeing stabbing victims is only going to increase as the series goes on.

And then there’s Ferdinand. There is a thing that happens a lot in series, where we have a heroine who is very obviously coded as asexual and everyone loves the fact that we finally have an asexual heroine… until the author ends up hitting the romance switch, at which point the asexuality slowly recedes. Bloom Into You is an obvious example, as is (sorry, anime onlies) The Apothecary Diaries. Bookworm may actually be one of the few to pull that trigger, though, as even though Ferdinand is clearly in love with Rozemyne, and everyone else in the land is horrified and appalled at the shameless way they’re all over each other, Rozemyne keeps emphasizing the fact that Ferdinand is family and of course that’s why she’s overthrowing a country for him. It’s mind-boggling, at least until you see Ferdinand going “welp, OK, in that case let me take all my limiters off” and you remember that he’s just as eccentric, perhaps even more, than she is. Towards the end, Rozemyne whines that Ferdinand never taught her about courtship or love or anything, and her attendants point out that’s because he’s a man, and this is a thing women tell to other women. Alas, Rozemyne was a book gremlin who looked 8 years old and spent years inside a magical cocoon. And now there’s war, and I get the sense it’s probably too late.

There are a number of scenes after the main action, which ends about 2/3 of the way through the book. We get an extended flashback dealing with our main villain, Georgine, who is treated far more sympathetically than Detlinde ever was. You can see why she’s doing this, though it does not extend into sympathy. We also get scenes from other territories showing us how the war is going in their area, meaning we get to see Brigitte again. We get to see Philine and everyone else at the temple and orphanage hunker down in what has essentially become a bomb shelter. We see Effa and the rest of Myne’s family taken to her library to shelter, and get Effa’s conflicted feelings on her birth daughter and how far she’s gone compared to their normal commoner life. And we see Gunther defending the borders, and just generally being a good soldier and dad. Both to his family and his troops. These stories were all very welcome and helped flesh out what is otherwise a “run at full speed” storyline.

The war’s not over yet, and I suspect the next book will show us Sylvester vs. Georgine. You won’t regret reading this. (Well, unless Rozemyne/Ferdinand bothers you, but if that’s the case I assume you dropped this already.)

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  1. [Everyone in this world is a lot more used to death and bloodshed than she is]

    I know we’re supposed to take that as true, but we see the way noble children get raised and they actually aren’t being brought up on stories about blood and death. The combat veterans never (or at least never in the stories we’ve seen) talk about their actual life-and-death struggles during the civil war or brag about how many people they killed. I’m comparing it in my mind to children raised in some kind of middle ages martial society like Norman knights, or warring states era Japan, and it all seems way more sanitized.

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