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review 2020-06-01 03:07
Ascendance of a Bookworm: I'll Do Anything to Become a Librarian!: Part 1: Daughter of a Soldier, Vol. 3 (book) by Miya Kazuki, illustrated by You Shiina, translated by quof
Ascendance of a Bookworm: Part 1 Vol. 3 - Miya Kazuki,Karuho Shiina,quof

At the end of the previous volume, Myne passed out due to the Devouring and seemed likely to die. But of course she didn't - in the beginning of this volume, it's revealed that she was taken to the guildmaster to be saved by one of the fragile magical items he collected in order to save his granddaughter, Freida, who also has the Devouring.

It's a good thing that Myne has saved up so much money, because even old and nearly broken magical tools cost a lot, and are typically only available to nobles. And not only that, they don't cure someone with the Devouring, they just temporarily lower the person's mana level enough for them to feel better. If she doesn't sign a contract with a noble and agree to become their slave, Myne likely only has another year at most before the Devouring kills her.

Freida and the guildmaster, who already have connections with nobles, want to corner Myne into working with them. Benno wants Myne (and her lucrative product ideas) to stay with him and the Gilberta Company. Then there's Myne's family and her friend Lutz - if she signs a contract with a noble, she'll likely never see any of them again. So Myne has some tough decisions to make.

In some ways, this was the best volume in the series so far. There were only a few overly detailed "making stuff from our world in a fantasy world" scenes, more emphasis was put on characters' relationships with others (Myne and her family, and Lutz and his), readers finally got a small glimpse of the wider world and its politics, and there was forward movement in the Devouring aspect of the plot.

Unfortunately, the story had a bad tendency to meander - I had to flip through it to remind myself what happened in between the more important plot points. Lots of planning for Myne's baptism, getting Lutz ready to become an apprentice merchant, more paper-making but bigger, and Myne accidentally inventing yet another new food. I still agree with what I wrote in my review for Volume 1: Part 1 really would have been better condensed into a single volume rather than spread out over three books.

The writing was terrible. That fact was easier to gloss over in the previous two volumes, but in this one the author included a few scenes that should have been very emotional and that were instead ruined by the author's reliance upon what were essentially sound effects to convey characters' emotions. Things like: "Sniff," "Nnn," and "Ngggh." And speaking of sound effects, it seemed like Myne said "Bwuh" way more in this volume than she did in the previous two, and it started to irk me a bit. And this series really should have been written in the third person. The author had to cheat a bit in this volume to get around the limitations of Myne's first person POV, and honestly most of the bonus stories also came across as clumsy attempts to get around the series' POV limitations.

I have a bunch of questions about the world-building - it seemed shakiest where foods were concerned. First there was the whole thing, earlier in the series, about commoners not having access to rice. In this volume it was revealed that

sugar (I'm guessing that the author/translator actually meant "refined sugar") had only just begun to be imported, but even without sugar I would have figured people would have experience with baking cakes using honey. And yet for some reason the cake Myne baked was treated like a revolution, and Leise, a supposedly experience cook and baker, needed Myne's suggestions to figure out how to jazz the recipe up with additional ingredients. At one point, the text referred to pound cake dough (205) rather than batter, which told me that either the author or translator, or possibly both, wasn't a baker.

(spoiler show)

Despite all of these problems, I still plan on reading Part 2 once it's possible for me to get all three books. I look forward to seeing where the author goes with the new developments in the story. But I won't lie, this isn't a well-written series. I've been able to put up with its issues so far, but I'd totally understand if others couldn't.

I haven't seen the anime yet but plan to do so. I strongly suspect that the emotional scenes in this volume will work a lot better in the anime than they did here. I prefer You Shiina's artwork to the screenshots I've seen of the anime, but that's normal - Shiina's illustrations can have a level of detail that just wouldn't work in an animated series.


A folded page with full-color illustrations on both sides, black-and-white illustrations throughout, a map of the portion of the town Myne has access to, a drawing of Myne's family's home, and six bonus stories.

The bonus stories aren't really bonus - they continue the main story a bit, but from other characters' POVs. Hence my comment about authorial cheating. The POVs included: Tuuli, Leise, Benno (he lost a bunch of points with me in his short story - I'd thought he was a savvy merchant, but he's looking more and more like a reckless idiot), Mark (J-Novel Club made a mistake and used Benno's chapter's title as Mark's chapter's running head, oops), Lutz, and the guildmaster. You know, I can't recall if the guildmaster has ever been given a name.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2020-06-01 00:35
Reading progress update: I've read 428 out of 428 pages.
Ascendance of a Bookworm: Part 1 Vol. 3 - Miya Kazuki,Karuho Shiina,quof

Well, at least the guildmaster understands that Benno's being an idiot, which means the author does too. Hopefully that means Part 2 will show some of the consequences of Benno's recklessness.


While I do plan to read Part 2 at some point, I won't even attempt it until the full thing has been released. Right now it's possible to get paper copies of Vol. 1, the paper edition of Vol. 2 is scheduled to be released in a few days, and no clue about Vol. 3.


This means I've now earned $5 and am up to $25 total in Booklikesopoly. And I can roll again, yay.

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text 2020-05-31 23:49
Reading progress update: I've read 398 out of 428 pages.
Ascendance of a Bookworm: Part 1 Vol. 3 - Miya Kazuki,Karuho Shiina,quof

I get it: Myne's ideas are very profitable, and Benno wants access to as much of that as he can get. But a supposedly savvy merchant like him should also realize that simultaneously expanding your business into multiple completely different directions, especially ones that you have zero experience with, is probably not a good idea unless you have LOTS of money to throw into it all.


The Gilberta Company makes clothing and accessories. The hairpins make sense. Shampoo and paper are completely unrelated to all of that, but the characters at least seem to be taking that into account - there's going to be a separate business for those new products. But now Benno is talking about

dessert-making just because he hates the idea of the guildmaster (whose business is actually focused on desserts and candy) profiting off of Myne's pound cake idea, and that's just too much.

(spoiler show)
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text 2020-05-31 18:57
Reading progress update: I've read 333 out of 428 pages.
Ascendance of a Bookworm: Part 1 Vol. 3 - Miya Kazuki,Karuho Shiina,quof

I'm now done with the main story and all that's left is the bonus short stories. Instead of two, like in the previous volumes, this one has six.


This could have been the best book in the series so far. There were fewer of the overly detailed "figuring out how to make products from our world in a fantasy world" scenes, and more of a focus on the characters and their relationships, what's going on in the wider world, and moving Myne beyond her primary goal, getting her hands on some books. Unfortunately, the overall story lacked focus and the scenes that should have been emotional were painfully badly written.


I'm leaning towards 2.5 stars at the moment, the lowest rating I've given for volumes in this series. The bonus short stories might kick that down to 2 stars or up to 3. Here's hoping there's nothing as bad as Corinna's story in the previous volume.

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text 2020-05-31 14:38
Reading progress update: I've read 194 out of 428 pages.
Ascendance of a Bookworm: Part 1 Vol. 3 - Miya Kazuki,Karuho Shiina,quof

"Benno rubbed his temples as he learned about how Lutz lived. It was likely that things were so different from his own life that he could hardly imagine it. Benno had spent years working hard to support his family after his father's death, but he had never gone through their stuff and he had never worried about where to put his things. He couldn't believe what he was hearing."


Oh, cheater, cheater. The phrase "it was likely" is having to do a lot of heavy lifting here, and it doesn't quite cut it. This book is in the first person, from Myne's POV. Myne knows that Benno supported his family after his father's death, but there's no way she could know how Benno's family interacted. As far as I can remember, she's never even seen Benno and Corinna in the same room together. This was the author trying to slip some of Benno's POV in with Myne's POV.


Dear author, if you'd written this series in the third person, you would not be having this problem, and you wouldn't have to cheat in order to work around it.

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