Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!, Part 3: Adopted Daughter of an Archduke, 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 digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by quof.

Last time I talked about how Rozemyne, try as she might, is not going to drag this world kicking and screaming into the 20th century anytime soon. Indeed, anyone reading this series hoping for a class war starting between the elite nobles and the clever commoners has probably already checked out by now. Rozemyne may tell Ferdinand that she will never be comfortable with killing another person – and thank God for that! – but she is still going to stay a noble and try to follow noble rules. Of course, there are other ways to subvert society, and we find that her cards and picture books are doing this far more than most people are ready for. Kids are learning fast. Very fast. Heck, even Angelica, her bodyguard who took the job because it would mean she didn’t have to study at school – ends up learning with a sufficient reward dangled in front of her. The Revolution Will Be Printed.

As you can see by the cover, much of this book takes place in winter, though fortunately Rozemyne only has one “and then I was in bed for days” incident in the book. She’s gathering ingredients for her cure, which can involve fighting a massive snow leopard monster who can create hideous blizzards, or can involve collecting nectar from a hot spring that proves to be a lot more sentient than Ferdinand was expecting. So there’s actually a fair bit of action here. We also get to see Rozemyne play politics, as she gets the noble kids to work together, teaches them without it being overt (the best kind of teaching), and starts to create the idea of lending libraries, getting one poor noble’s daughter books in return for hearing new stories that her mother had told her. Honestly, if it were not for the resolution of what happened with the Mayor last book, this would be a light and fluffy volume.

It is not a light and fluffy volume. Rozemyne is forced to not only watch the Mayor, his wife, and a few people who had shown (thank to Ferdinand’s magic) that they were disloyal be killed, but also to see how nobility in general regards commoners as little better than animals, and their lives absolutely do not matter. Much as we would like to see her fix this, Rozemyne is still about 7 years old here, and cannot bend the world to their will quite that much. The execution itself is fantastical in nature but also horrific, and much is made of the fact that those killed with be unburied and unremembered. Fortunately, we do move from this to the Hot Springs episode, which, fortunately, does not lead to a bunch of fanservice as it would in any other title. The closest we get to fanservice is Rozemyne giving Brigitte a present of a fashionable dress, and remarking on her large chest. As for the hot springs ingredient gathering, it’s honestly hilarious, especially in retrospect. Even Rosemyne and Brigitte getting eaten by a giant toad just made me think of KonoSuba (it’s OK, they get out).

There’s two more volumes to go in this arc, and I’ve really no idea where it’s going to go, other than better printing, more books, etc. But that’s fine. Even the chapters discussing springs and leverage are interesting in this series. It remains a must read.

Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!, Part 3: Adopted Daughter of an Archduke, 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.

Let’s face it, Rozemyne has done a lot for the world she now lives in. From all of her printing achievements, which have the potential to change the world as everyone knows it, to even such things as shampoo, the footprint of Myne/Rozemyne is everywhere. However, there is a limit to what she can achieve. Ehrenfest is not going to slowly become modern-day Earth. What’s more, there is a disconnect between a) the way nobles think, b) the way Rozemyne thinks as a commoner who was raised into the nobility; c) the way Urano thinks as a former modern-day Japanese woman who’s been reincarnated with her memories; and d) Rozemyne’s natural eccentricity. As such, sometimes she doesn’t get how other people think, and other people assume that she is familiar with things that she absolutely is not. This becomes a big problem in this book, where Rozemyne taking some abused orphans from a local mayor turns out to have many, many repercussions.

Of course, Rozemyne has an additional problem that she has to deal with, which is that Ferdinand is not only assuming that she gets all the nuances and subtleties with which he speaks, but is also, in his own way, as eccentric as Rozemyne. He is the definition of “it would be easier if I just did everything myself”, and the fact that he can only makes life harder, especially as Rozemyne also falls into that category a lot. This leads to her having a near emotional breakdown when he tells her to solve the problem that she’s gotten herself into, implying that the entire TOWN has to die because of her actions. While Benno and the others are able to help Rozemyne flip the problem on its head (don’t think about how to kill the mayor, think about how to save everyone who is NOT the Mayor), Rosemyne and the reader are left with the harsh reality of a world that does not run on modern-day ethics and morals.

Fortunately, the rest of the book is not as serious as this. There’s a cool action scene as Rozemyne goes to the forest to get ingredients for the potion that will help her Devouring and the forest is overrun by monsters. More importantly, Wilfried once again whines about how easy Rozemyne has it, and she proposes changing roles for one day. This serves as a massive splash of cold water to the face of everyone involved with Wilfried, especially his father, who had been spoiling him without realizing that that had led to a young man who could not read, write, play any instruments, etc. There is some blistering dialogue here about how to educate young people, particularly those with short attention spans. It also shows off Sylvester as a very imperfect Archduke – he’s not a happy camper here, especially when his wife hears about this. Fortunately, Wilfried DOES have a good memory when he bothers to use it, so all is not lost.

There’s not as much of what made Bookworm tick in the early volumes – Benno and Lutz are here, but in supporting roles, and papermaking/bookmaking is also a side project compared to everything else. But it’s the expansion of Rozemyne’s world, and the fact that this world can be terrifying, that makes this arc of Bookworm the best yet.

Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!, Part 3: Adopted Daughter of an Archduke, 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.

I was expecting great changes with this volume. When last we saw Rozemyne, she had had her past altered to make her the daughter of a noble, was then secretly adopted by another noble (who was also the archduke), and was getting ready to move to the noble part of town… while also maintaining her businesses, finding ways to employ the temple’s orphans, and assuming the role of high bishop. Some of the things that I was expecting did actually happen. Rozemyne had a bit of culture shock when she came across noble attitudes, and they in turn were unprepared for both Rozemyne’s health and her ways of thinking. She would start her high bishop duties and give lots of blessings, which would stun those who witnessed it both because of her age and then because of her ridiculous amounts of magic. What I did not expect, and this is totally a failure on my part, was Rozemyne organizing an idol concert.

Actually, there was a lot that did NOT happen in this book, which seems to want to give Rozemyne an easier time of it than the previous books. After the terrifying battle that ended book 7, this seems sedate by comparison. Rozemyne has to get used to her new family, including winning over Elvira, who is her new mother now… and it goes quite well, mostly as Elvira is a Ferdinand fanboy and will happily do anything he says, but also as Ferdinand has been grooming Myne this entire time to prepare her for her role as Rozemyne. (I will admit the grooming does worry me a bit. Given that Books 22 and 23 still show Rozemyne as a child, I don’t think romance is in the cards here, but it is suggested once or twice that Ferdinand and Rozemyne should be a couple, and please, no.) Ferdinand is even prepared for Sylvester’s spoiled son to not “get” that Rozemyne can’t run around, and has a solution – let her almost die in front of the boy.

Then there is the concert. I must admit, given what I’ve been writing about him in this review, I did feel Ferdinand sort of deserved what happened to him. That said, it’s also a terrific way to show that Rozemyne is not done coming up with innovative ideas just because she is now a noble. Her old ideas are also still going strong, of course, and I appreciated that Benno, Lutz, etc. did not simply vanish. (Myne’s old family appear slightly less, but they are also there, especially Tulli, who gets to learn manners from a most welcome tutor.) But Rozemyne needs money, and the idol concert was the best way to do it. I really enjoyed how she was able to spot, based on the reactions of the noble ladies to Ferdinand, that there would need to be attendants on hand for when they fainted. And the special final guest was also hilarious.

So far so good, then, but I expect trouble has not abandoned Rozemyne completely. In any case, if you enjoy books at all, light novels or no, this is a series that you should be reading.