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

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.

If you go to Pixiv and look at fanart of the Bookworm series (please god set your setting to all ages), you will find that a good 90% of it is Rozemyne/Ferdinand shipping. If you go to AO3 to look for Bookworm fanfics, you will likewise see that 90% of it is shipping Rozemyne with Ferdinand. And, I assume, if the idea of the ship really bothers you, you’ve probably already dropped the series. And in this book we see that it’s not just fans of this fictional universe: all the nobles see it. Rozemyne and Ferdinand are far too close. The books have basically has as a major selling point that we see Rozemyne’s view of a thing, and then frequently get the noble view, showing how incredibly wrong or off base she is. She’s not a great narrator in the “truth” sense. And we see that here as well – only Rozemyne is in denial about this, saying that Ferdinand is like family, and that she’d do the same for other members of her family. Uh-huh.

The bulk of this book is taken up with the Archduke’s Conference, which normally would not involve Rozemyne, but she’s there to do blessings. She’s also sent to the underground archive, along with Hannelore and Hildebrand, to translate the writing there. Unfortunately, this means that she’s there when Detlinde stops by to essentially Detlinde all over the library, so she and the others have to hide. They do so by essentially sneaking out the back of the library and into a forested area, where they find a small, unlooked-after shrine. Rozemyne being who she is, she immediately cleans it, then goes to see what’s inside… and gets sucked into the shrine. What she finds is that she’s a potential Zent candidate and she gets a clue for finding the magic doodad that will automatically grand power to whoever finds it.

There’s no getting around it, this is a much darker book than the last few have been. Leaving aside the final story in the volume, which seems to imply we’re about to have a supporting cast member be horribly murdered, there’s everything about Rozemyne being a Zent candidate. The problem being that she’s not a royal. And this leads to bad things happening to her and Ehrenfest. Anastasius and Eglantine, two royals she thought were her friends, show how little that friendship really means when the fate of the nation is at stake. Her marriage to Wilfried is annulled, which does not bother her at all, but now she’s engaged to Sigiswald, which is bad because, as Adolphine already knows, he’s a terrible human being. And she has to leave Ehrenfest, who initially are supposed to just accept it and suffer, though thankfully Rozemyne’s inner Benno rises to the fore and she gets some concessions. This whole book is a game-changer, and the game is getting more dangerous.

And, as noted above, there is Ferdinand, who at least is no longer in danger of being executed for failing to contain the disaster that is Detlinde. Will he show up in the next book? Probably. And will Rozemyne stop looking nine years old? Probably not just yet.

Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!, Part 5: Avatar of a Goddess, Vol. 4

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.

With each successive volume in this arc, that subtitle is becoming more and more like foreshadowing. We see here that Hartmut is already brainwashing everyone in the temple to add Rozemyne to the list of Gods, and though she tries to shut him down you get the sense that she won’t be able to for very long. We also see, even if they may not think of her as a Goddess just yet, they definitely think of her as a Saint. The bulk of the first half of this book is that the Liesegangs, now the dominant power after Sylvester p;urged his own base to get rid of the Veronica Faction, think that Wilfried is useless and awful, and that Rozemyne should absolutely be the next Aub. While they’re not wrong about Wilfried (I’ve sort of given up on him, the narrative makes it clear why he’s gotten so awful but it doesn’t make me like him), they forget that Rozemyne simply has no interest in this.

Rozemyne arrives home to find that things are… not great. She’s surprised and rather upset to find Sylvester telling her to try to lay off getting the duchy elevated for the moment, because they’ve done it so fast that no one is ready for what it entails. Of course, what that really means is that the older generation like things as they are and fear change. Sylvester is essentially unable to do anything because the Liesegangs are dominant, but fortunately Rozemyne’s retainer Brunhilde has a wonderful solution that will solve most of these problems. Meanwhile, Rozemyne returns to the temple, now filled with a lot more children whose parents were executed or imprisoned, and gets ready to train Melchior to take over for her. And there’s still time to visit other areas of Ehrenfest and learn some very important past history of the duchy.

The story of Eisenreich is another reminder that women in this world have to struggle to get any headway at all, and that frequently even after achieving their goals they’re still unhappy. The aub’s daughter who essentially saved the country centuries earlier was given a poisoned chalice of a position, and it’s not a surprise that trying to keep the duchy together eventually broke her. We get this history after all the politics with the current generation, with Brunhilde stepping forward to offer herself up as Sylvester’s second wife… but this only comes after her father sires a son, meaning all the power that she would have been coming to will now be taken from her. She ends up consoling Charlotte, who (as we saw in the short story book last time) is bemoaning the exact same thing. We know that Charlotte is the most obvious choice to be the next Aub. But that knowledge does not help us… or Charlotte.

All this plus Angelica gets extra blessings!… with the help of her sword literally telling her what to say. Angelica, I love you. And hey, only three more books till THAT spoiler!

Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!: Short Story Collection, 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 by J-Novel Club. Translated by quof.

I’m sure some of you are thinking “didn’t we just have the Royal Academy SS book in July?” and yes, we did. This particular volume thus focuses on everything but the royal academy. That said, what it actually appears to be is that readers were curious and vocal enough about all the extra stories the author had written for store giveaways and the like that it was decided to bundle them up into this collection. There’s even some double-dipping, be warned, as several of the stories features here were also in the 2nd fanbook. That said, I enjoyed this book a great deal, mostly as it makes you realize the basic core premise of this series: Rozemyne has made everyone’s lives better, and without her their lives are very difficult. This is especially true after the first quarter of the book, when we get into the books in Part 3 and 4 of the series. Nobility is a drag.

Did you know Rozemyne has grown nearly eight inches since the first book in the series? I did not, fun fact. She’s still far too short, though. The early stories in this collection are from the POV of Gunther, Tuuli and Lutz as they have to deal with a Myne who is suddenly very different from what she used to be. There’s also a story with Wilma and Rosina, showing us Rosina’s frustration and selfishness. After that, though, it’s all nobles all the time, including nobles we’ve never even met, as two sort-of-Veronica faction sisters meet up and discuss the performances that Rozemyne and Ferdinand did, the sweets that they ate, and the fact that the Veronica folks could not go. (You do have to wonder if these two were later purged, though apparently a later fanbook says they were spared.)

The best stories in this book come near the end, with extended time devoted to Cornelius, Philine and Charlotte. Wilfried also gets a story, but it only serves to remind us of his painful naivete, and the fact that his attendants all seem to be evil. Charlotte in particular is well aware of this, but is also aware that the way things played out she’s lost the competition to be Aub without ever showing off her smarts, and it’s truly annoying. It’s annoying to the reader too, because we like Charlotte a lot more than we do Wilfried. The Cornelius chapters take place right after Rozemyne’s kidnapping and coma, and as you can imagine feature a lot of “it’s all my fault”, but give a good look at an underwritten character. As for Philine… god, her life sucked. I’m so glad she’s out of there now. The book is also very good at showing the class strata and how you can and cannot deal with things… and how Rozemyne tramples all over that. She saved Charlotte because Charlotte is her cute little sister and was in danger. This BAFFLES everyone. Family is something very different in this world.

So good stuff, but be prepared to dislike Wilfried even more. Something’s going to have to give there soon.