Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!, Part 4: Founder of the Royal Academy’s So-Called Library Committee, Vol. 3

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.

Ominous-looking cover, isn’t it? I feel like being the grandfather in The Princess Bride, reassuring the son that no one is eaten by any aquatic creatures. That said, each arc of Ascendance of a Bookworm is practically its own separate series, and Rozemyne has been moving farther and farther away from the childhood she had long ago. She’s a noble now, and her main concerns have to be a noble’s concerns – even though she also has to be the champion of the commoners, because really if you leave that to the other nobles bad things will happen. She has a lot on her plate, basically. And so the instance in this book where she’s told point-blank that her old coping strategies are going to be unavailable going forward is somewhat devastating to her, and to the reader. Let’s face it, I think a lot of readers would be quite happy if Myne had stayed in the commoner town making books. But that’s not what this series is anymore.

Despite doing her absolute best to try to talk and think like a noble, it’s rapidly becoming clear that Rozemyne in social settings like like a ticking timebomb. As such, certain precautions have to be taken in this volume. Justus is made her main attendant (even if this will involve him cross-dressing), and gets a first-hand look at how Rozemyne is 90% correct and 10% HIDEOUSLY WRONG. More importantly, she is of an age where arranged marriages need to be set up, if only for political reasons. Even Angelica is now engaged, though she seems to regard romance as something that’s about 7th on her list after swords, swords, and more swords. And so it’s fine to engage Rozemyne to another noble… even if this means that some meetings that she had in the temple previously will now have to be ended.

The narrative is quick to point out that Rozemyne will keep seeing Benno, Lutz and Tulli on occasion. But going into the hidden room, hugging Lutz, and acting as a commoner girl like Myne did… that’s dead and gone. It’s brought home in a beautifully tragic nightmare she has about all her old family and friends getting farther and farther away while she can’t keep up. The rest of the book consists of fun Academy scenes, though it has a very serious ending as one of Rosemyne’s attendants is being abused and she has to figure out what to do about it without overstepping her bounds. She’s also engaged. The engagement partner makes sense and works politically and socially, and I (and most readers) have no doubt whatsoever it’s never gonna happen. But given she still looks about 8 years old, I’m fine with kicking this can down the road.

Life is only getting harder for Rozemyne from now on, and not even endless furniture metaphors can protect her. Fortunately, we can read about her tribulations, and this is another excellent volume.

Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!, Part 4: Founder of the Royal Academy’s So-Called Library Committee, Vol. 2

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 digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by quof.

If the plot of all nine of the books in this arc is 75% “Rozemyne goes to the magical academy and fun things happen” and the other 25% is “Sylvester and Ferdinand stare in horror, mouths agape as Rozemyne tells them what she did”, I will be a happy clam. Yes, once again she’s breaking rules she didn’t know existed, or breaking rules simply because she’s too deep inside a book to really pay attention to anything around her. Everyone in this book is constantly talking to her about sociability lessons and etiquette, etc. That said, they really should remember what she used to be like, as should the reader… we have come a LONG, LONG way from the Myne of the first three books. There are a grand total of zero temper tantrums here, even when you’d expect her to have them. – Benno doesn’t even noogie her! That said, one sad note for older readers, as her path back to Lutz and her old family is getting fainter and fainter.

The cover art shows Rozemyne and her attendants engaged in what seems to be a sporting match… indeed, I was a kid once, so I’ll buy the author’s explanation that she based the game played here on her daughter’s invented dodgeball variation. That said, the author is also correct that anyone who is reading the description of the match will be thinking of some other fantasy series. The match itself comes about because it turns out that the two rabbit familiars Rozemyne powered up last time are not only highly intelligent and powerful but also wanted by most of the other student cliques, and just getting them to her dorm so they can be measured for new clothes is an adventure. Getting them back is even more of one, and leads to the game of “ditter” we see on the cover, which our heroes only win because they have Rozemyne’s bag of tricks – they’re clearly outclassed in every other way.

In other news, much as she would like to try to stay out of everyone’s way and read books, that’s not going to happen, and much of it is Rozemyne’s own fault. Sure, she cannot turn down a prince when he arrives at a tea party she’s going to, but at the same time, she did not have to bluntly play matchmaker for him and tell him how far he has to go to be prime boyfriend material. She is fortunate that the advice works really well, or else disaster might have occurred. Then there’s the issue of her attendant Traugott, Rihyarda’s grandson. He’s a hothead who thinks you can get what you want through charging ahead, but unlike the other rock-stupid attendant we know and love (and Angelica is wonderful throughout, she’s my favorite after Rozemyne), he does not actually listen to or care about Rozemyne. As such… bye-bye. Mama don’t allow no mana-compression leeches in here.

I’m not sure what else to say, except that everyone should be reading this. Despite its length (each book is easily the size of two normal light novels), you’ll want to plow through it the moment you pick it up.

Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!, Part 4: Founder of the Royal Academy’s So-Called Library Committee, Vol. 1

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 digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by quof.

It’s two years later, and we’re starting a new arc in Ascendance of a Bookworm. The longest one yet, this arc is 9 books long. After Rozemyne wakes up and comes to terms with life moving on without her, she barely has any time to get her footing before she’s supposed to start going to the Royal Academy as a first-year student. Good news: The Academy has a pretty large library, with actual books. Bad news: she can’t go there till she passes all her written and practical starter exams, and thanks to an unthinking Wilfried, everyone else also has to do this. There’s also the usual class struggles, not helped by the fact that she STILL looks seven years old. Still, she’s been thoroughly prepared by Ferdinand for this sort of thing, the people who tried to kill her have gone back into hiding, and she’s making new friends. How hard can a magical academy be?

There’s a lot of new people in this book, many of whom e will probably have to remember – there’s a reason why the best Bookworm fans are the ones with the colored spreadsheets. The most important so far seem to be Hirschur, an eccentric teacher who was fairly hands off with students… till she meets Rozemyne and realizes she’s Ferdinand 2; Solange, the Academy’s librarian who takes a shine to Rozemyne right away when she accidentally activates two dormant magical tools designed to help run the library (those would be the rabbits you see on the cover); and Hartmutt, a new attendant of Rozemyne’s who seems to think she’s the second coming of Jesus Christ. Can’t imagine where he got that idea, given that she’s resurrecting long-dead magical rabbits, plowing through the coursework in record-breaking time, and completely upending the Academy’s music department.

It can be a bit frustrating for the reader to see that Rozemyne is not only still in a short seven-year-old body, but also still tends to get exhausted easily – though not nearly as much as before. It can also be a bit frustrating for her, as she’s not taken very seriously by the nobles that are above her in status – some are ignoring her so they can get closer to Wilfried, some see her as an eccentric wind-up toy, and some seem to only want her for her mana compression teachings. Fortunately, she does have quite a few allies – Wilfried has matured since she was asleep, as has Charlotte (who is now taller than she is, to Rozemyne’s horror) and her attendants are mostly on her side, and also a bit eccentric. Though for eccentricity it’s still hard to pass Angelica, who remains Bookworm’s favorite rock-stupid knight.

Despite Sylvester’s growing horror as he hears of just what Rozemyne has gotten up to in the first few weeks of her classes, this is still mostly setup – we haven’t really had any serious threats or plot shakers yet, although Detlinde might prove to be one. Rozemyne’s biggest enemy right now might be herself, as her lack of court manners leads her down dangerous roads, such as forgetting that she promised to meet after school with the PRINCE. Still, I’m sure she’ll get through it. In the meantime, welcome to a new arc of one of the best novels currently being translated.