Bibliophile Princess, Vol. 7

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 Tara Quinn.

I suppose this was inevitable. Bibliophile Princess is coming off its strongest arc, one that had lots of action, drama, tragedy (that wasn’t actually tragedy, but let’s leave that aside for now), and romance. It came to a thrilling conclusion last time… and now we get the comedown the next day. Elianna has been overworking herself for the last couple of months, and tries to do so again to help Chris after she returns, and it all just catches up with her and she collapses. Unfortunately, this means that a good 3/4 of this volume is told from the POV of people other than Elianna, and that’s not really what I’m here for. I don’t really object to it, and we get some decent short stories here. But that’s what this feels like, a short story volume, interspersed with dollops of plot. Fortunately, unlike the third volume, this doesn’t feel like something we’ve read over and over again. Well, except for one thing, which I’ll get to below.

After the events of the last three books, Chris has a lot on his plate. What’s worse, the person behind all of this was the Queen’s brother, meaning she’s basically going to have to retire to avoid further trouble. As such, he needs to get married to Elianna even faster than he’d planned… and she’s been taken away to the Bernstein estates by her father and brother, who (of course) blame Chris for her being in this state at all. Fortunately, proposing to Elianna properly is the ONLY thing that goes well for him in this book. Elsewhere, we get a flashback where we learn Alan’s past as a plucky young orphan, Elianna catches up with family and reads a ton of books while her friend Anna reminds us of the romance she was plotted into a few books back. Oh yes, and there’s a library ghost (no, not Elianna) and a Halloween candy contest.

So I am starting to grow a bit weary of the Bernstein’s overprotectiveness towards their pride and joy. I mean, I absolutely get it. Elianna almost died several times in the last few books, all of it stemming from her position as Chris’ betrothed. And she did indeed desperately need to rest as she was nearing the verge of collapse. That said, this isn’t really framed as that. The writing still kind of frames it like “we’ll never let you marry our little girl!”, which feels more like a hoary old cliche, especially as it does not take Elianna’s own feelings into account. I hope she tells them what for at some point. As for the rest of the book that is not fluff, there’s Alan’s subplot, which… well, it very cliched, right down to the three people who secretly run the town, and the “I want to rape you because you are an androgynous hot teenage boy” threat. It wasn’t bad. I missed Elianna.

So this tides me over, yes, but I really hope we get a good, meaty plot again soon. Or a wedding. One of those.

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