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.
Due to a translation schedule that can only be described as bananas, we are slowly catching up with the series in Japan. Slowly being the word – this is the 16th book in the series, and it came out in Japan in 2018. The latest book is the 28th, which came out in December. But if we continue to do 6 a year, while Japan does 4, we will eventually get there. It’s enough to make a reader feel confident about looking at fanart. But, as anyone who’s ever looked up Japanese Bookworm fanart knows, this can be very dangerous. Look, I don’t know who Rozemyne will end up married to in the future. Indeed, this particular book makes it very clear that Wilfried is a very good choice – and that Ferdinand would be a politically bad one. That said, anyone looking at pixiv will see that one pairing is overwhelmingly the favorite, to the point where it’s 95% of all the art. And it ain’t Rosemyne/Wilfried. We shall see.
As with all Bookworm volumes, there’s a lot going on here. Rozemyne’s desire to avoid a lot of hard embroidery work causes her to not only revolutionize the ink industry, but also invent invisible ink, which will no doubt prove very useful in future books. The spring prayer happens in the middle of the book, and a discrepancy between the bible that everyone else knows and the one that Rozemyne has read in the High Bishop’s office leads to a literal miracle. The archduke learns that, in terms of the “commoner” parts of the city, his territory is at the very, very bottom, which leads to a need for sewers – and a mass cleansing. Most importantly, Rozemyne is engaged to Wilfried, and while some readers may still be grumpy with him due to past events, it’s shown to be a political necessity, as Rosemyne is a Hot New Item.
As I have said many times before, these books are long. This one is 343 pages, which is actually 30 pages shorter than the previous one. And yet I always find myself wishing that the books went into more depth. Worldbuilding can be tedious when it’s another boilerplate isekai talking about casting from hit points, but this series really is entirely about the worldbuilding – it’s a major reason why it’s a huge hit (though I will admit our smol book gremlin is the main reason). Even the side stories told from other perspectives are excellent – we get Wilfried’s thoughts on his engagement, and show off how much he’s matured. We also get to see Gunther and Myne’s family once more. And, most importantly, we get the politics. It’s not entirely Rozemyne not caring about anything but books – the politics in this world is genuinely hard, and you need a lifetime of training.
This volume ends with the implication that the next one will be even more focused on infighting and intrigue. Which is great, I love that. But I do hope it also shows Rozemyne casually inventing more stuff, and playing more magical rugby, and causing Sylvester, Ferdinand and Benno to hold their heads in pain at her antics. The books are long, and yet all too short.