Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!, Part 5: Avatar of a Goddess, Vol. 10

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.

It’s honestly been a long, long time since we’ve seen the main raison d’etre of this entire series, which is one girl’s complete and utter obsession with books. Back when Rozemyne was just Myne, she could afford to be a one-note samba, but since she’s been adopted into nobility, the sheer weight of the politics of this world has conspired to keep her from obsessing about reading QUITE as much. As such, I was highly amused by what is supposed to be a dramatic highlight of this book, where we have three contenders for the throne facing off, and maybe killing each other, get utterly defused by a Goddess offering her a chance to read some cool books provided she can borrow Rosemyne’s body. and of course she says “OMG, yes!”. It’s even funnier as the goddess says she’ll forget everything more important to her than books… and as far as I can tell her memory is 100% fine. LOL. Pure comedy.

After the lull of the last book, we’re back to all battle all the time, as Raublat and Gervasio’s plot to overthrow the country has reached its zenith, and it’s going to take the cooperation – willing or otherwise – of a lot of the cast in order to stop that from happening. Detlinde is useless, of course, so most of the traitorous bits from Ahrensbach have actually come from her sister, who does what Mother tells her to and is honestly terrified of Rozemyne and Ferdinand when they’re both really, really mad. I also feel bad for Anastasius, who is at least making an effort (unlike his brother) but I think is going to find that he really should have tried to befriend Rozemyne after all. As noted above, it all ends up coming down to a talk with the gods, who decide to put the matter to a test. A test which Ferdinand, of course, rigs.

As with the last two books, the last third of the volume is devoted to “what everyone else was doing”. We meet Immanuel, who gives us a very good idea of what Hartmut would be like if he were evil (yes, yes, let’s ignore the obvious joke). We also see how this universe is really unforgiving towards honest and innocent people who are tricked into doing bad things – I suspect life is not going to be fun for Hildebrand after all this. We then get Anastasius’ POV, which shows him trying to be proactive but mostly caught up in events and offended with not being treated like a royal. Magdalena, the king’s third wife, shows us what’s going on with the king himself, who was always pretty spineless but is being helped along by some drugs this time around, and also enjoys showing Magdalena kicking ass. We get Gervasio’s POV, which tries to be sympathetic, and then we get Ferdinand’s POV, which reminds us that sympathetic or no, one of the first things Gervasio would do on getting the throne would be to kill Ferdinand. As always, there’s too much going on to talk about.

So yes, two books to go. This was another strong entry, with some excellent illustrations as well. If I had time (which I don’t), I’d want to do a massive reread of the whole series once it ends.

Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 44

By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.

It has to be said, Rokujouma!? is a very methodical series. We’ve gotten so used to seeing series derived from webnovels where the author is clearly making up each chapter… and sometimes each page… as they go along. So it’s refreshing seeing a series that really feels plotted down to its bones. I suspect the author has outlines and spreadsheets up the wazoo to keep track of all this. A “Pantser” they are not. And sometimes this can be a drawback. There are a few conversations in this short story volume between the heroines where you sort of want one of them to snap and turn evil just for the variety – everyone is polite, pragmatic, and thinks things through – even Theia, who gives the appearance of being impulsive. On the other hand, given what happened in Volume 43, I’m honestly OK with everyone being pleasant and casually discussing their polycule. It’s a lot less sad and downbeat than what I expect the start of the 45th volume will be like.

As with previous short story volumes, this consists of three short stories from HJ Bunko’s online website and a longer story at the end. In the first story, Elfaria, Theia, Ruth, and Ceileshu are ordered to take a day off after the civil war (and despite Ceileshu’s guilt about her part in said civil war), and play various board games from Japan (the Game of Life, etc.). In the second story, with Maki unavailable, Harumi and Shizuka are chosen to try to teach our resident Power Ranger knockoffs how to fight against someone who has magic. In the third story Kotori and Kiriha meet with the student council to discuss how the alien transfer students are fitting in, and then discuss Koutarou’s childhood. In the story written for the book, we see Koutarou going out on dates with all nine of his current polycule… and it becomes clear that it’s going to be expanding to more than nine.

It’s been about fifteen books since the first supposed “ending” of this series, which pretty much cemented that the nine main heroines were all quite friendly with each other and would be happy to share Koutarou in a polyamorous relationship whenever he got over his hangups. He’s mostly done that now, at least in terms of no longer thinking “if I admit I love someone they will die”, but he still feels that choosing just one girl will destroy everything. And, well, he’s not wrong. The second half of this book goes into great detail about how his marriage is now a political decision, and there is no way that he will be allowed to NOT marry someone from Forthorthe. Which… could be Theia. Or Clan. But it could also be Elfaria, who is single, the Empress, still young (for an alien race), and in love with Koutarou, something she is reluctant to admit in front of her daughter. The one thing that none of the heroines are allowed to do in Rokujouma!? is bury their feelings of love. And that’s true if you’re the Empress, or if you’re a god in disguise, or even if you’re the little sister of his best friend, who is starting to realize that maybe he isn’t just a “big brother”.

Of course, that assumes they all survive the next book. The author promises it’s back to the main plot next time. Till then, enjoy a staid and somewhat boring but also warm and comforting light novel volume.

I Guess This Dragon Who Lost Her Egg to Disaster Is My Mom Now, Vol. 2

By Suzume Kirisaki and Cosmic. Released in Japan as “Saigai de Tamago o Ushinatta Dragon ga Nazeka Ore o Sodate Hajimeta” by M Novels. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Jordan Taylor.

The first volume of this series had the past of Lushera hold my interest more than her present with her dragon mom, so it’s ironic that in this second volume it’s the bonding with dragon mom that is the better part of the book. Of course, some of that is due to the fact that, although names are not really clear still due to the nature of the resurrection, everyone now knows who Lushera is. As such, we’re allowed to concentrate, especially in the first half of the book, on Lushera and her mother growing closer, figuring out how to be parent and child as dragons, and parent and child as humans. Unfortunately, that leaves the second half of this book, which features one of my least favorite light novel cliches, a villain who is 100% evil, irredeemable, and sadistic. I was amazed he didn’t do a maniacal laugh. And he also tortured an abused child. This was a lot less fun to read.

We open by learning a bit more about the past of Kaphal, who turns out to be the equivalent of a teenager who eloped and ran away from home and whose husband then died. Now she’s back, and she has a daughter who is this odd human-dragon hybrid. Her dad is not amused, and insists that Lushera have a test to see whether… well, mostly whether she can survive the test. Meanwhile, the kingdom is having to deal with the fact that the big, scary dragon on their mountain is now walking around the capital in human form, doing things like learning about cooking, going for a swim, etc. Lushera also ends up rescuing a Very Important Person from a golem attack, and discovers she is Monica, the disgraced and scapegoated princess of the royal family, who lives under house arrest with a group of revolving servants and her self-hatred. Meanwhile, the kingdom next door, who got most of their knights and their ruler killed off in Book 1, decide to leave things to their new psychopathic manchild of a ruler.

So yeah, getting the bad out of the way first, everything about Julian in this book sucks, which unfortunately also affects Monica’s plotline, as she is reduced to an object of peril for the entire book. It’s so bad that it actually affected my enjoyment of another very good plot twist, which is briefly hinted at much earlier in the book but then allowed to be forgotten about till the reveal. Fortunately, given that CIW deliberately put this volume out on Mother’s Day, everything that does involve the dragon family part of the book is great. I especially like how clever see see Lushera being, given that her nature and general attitude really lend itself well to “dumb muscle” and it’s great to see she isn’t. Her mom is also really trying hard, and comes a long way in this book.

Which is, I think, the final book in the series. That’s fine with me. It was long enough that I really enjoyed the dragon and her mom, the transgender subplots, and a few of the twists. Just… please, stop making all your villains puppy-kickers.