Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!, Part 5: Avatar of a Goddess, Vol. 9

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.

Thankfully, after the start of this volume, things are allowed to calm down a bit, as we have the aftermath of what’s benn happening for the last two book. Unfortunately, that means that the start of this volume absolutely does not calm down at all. I hate that it happens to her, but one of the best plotlines I’ve seen so far in this series is Rozemyne being in the thick of the battlefield, and what it does to her psyche afterward. PTSD does not really seem to be a thing here, and indeed we are on Rozemyne’s side. Why the hell is everyone so used to war and slaughter? People turning into feystones when they die has been around for some time, but it’s still “this is a fantasy world with magic, not real”. It’s not till Sylvester does the equivalent of pulling Georgine’s corpse out of his robes and slamming it on the table in front of her that she really snaps.

As I noted above, the start of this book is the fight against Grausam, who actually turns out to be in several places at once… which leads to the conclusion that Georgine is as well. Moreover, the battle ends up having to involve ONLY Rozemyne and Matthias for plot reasons, and she not only sees many soldiers have limbs cut off, get poisoned and turn into multiple feystones hitting against her pandabus, but she has to turn the pandabus into a kaiju in order to finally take (the real) Grausam down. At the same time, they are told that Sylvester has managed to defend the foundation and kill Georgine, and they can all return to Ehrenfest (after paying off Dunkenfelger with some booze). Unfortunately, thanks to the battle, Rozemyne can’t even look at a feystone. What’s worse, she has to figure out what to do now – and how Ferdinand is going to be involved in whatever she does.

If there is a lighter side to this rather heavy book, it’s seeing Rozemyne continue to explain how what she feels for Ferdinand is not, in fact, love. Again, this is Rozemyne and her life in Japan, where she’d never had a boyfriend or lover, trying to apply romance-novel rules to love. Love is desire, love is sex, etc. She doesn’t have those feelings for Ferdinand. But every OTHER part of love is literally exactly what she describes her ideal life with Ferdinand to be, and it’s no wonder that Hannelore and the others stare at her as if she’s out of her mind. To their society, where almost everyone marries for political reasons and having a marriage based on love and sex is seen as really weird (see: Sylvester and Florencia), what this is is just Rozemyne saying “Sure, I love him, but it’s not love because I say so.” It’s amusing, but in a sort of dark way.

As with the previous book, the last quarter of it is devoted to filling in the war from the POV of people who are not Rozemyne. We see Charlotte’s attempts to administrate everything, and are reminded that, with Rozemyne leaving and Wilfried… being Wilfried, she’s the next Aub, at least for now. Judithe has to deal with the fact that she’s defending the temple, and not in a more important role. (Judithe is also the utter innocent of the book, assuming everyone is going out to look at flowers and not, y’know, “pick” them.) Gunther gets to PUNCH THE EVIL AWAY thanks to the power of the love his family has for him and his shonen dad power. Florencia gets to have a nice chat with Veronica and finally move on and forget about her. And Sylvester gets to narrowly escape being poisoned to death but, to the very end, still not understand the boiling rage and hatred that is making Georgine do this. It’s very well done.

So much going on here that I haven’t even touched on. I’m sure the 10th book in this arc will be fine and filled with tea and snacks.

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