I apologize in advance. This got ridiculously long! I’ve tried to break it up with hidden sections for each book (spoilers indicated for each volume). So if you’re interested in some excited typing about 本好きの下克上, there’s no shortage below.
After not reading any books for a while (unless you include some manga for clubs), I finally decided to get back to reading books. I had stopped reading entirely in the fall because RL got too busy, but for some reason it was really hard to start reading again. There were a couple of book clubs I wanted to participate in, but that didn’t end up happening. I think I started reading 容疑者Xの献身 like 4 or 5 times. The intro was actually interesting, but I kept thinking, “Ahhh, I don’t really feel like reading this now” and then I would put it down only to try reading the same part again the next day.
I finally decided to read 本好きの下克上 volume 3 since I left off around a quarter of the way through in November. I had enjoyed the series so far, so I thought it would be easier to start reading something I knew I liked. I had forgotten a lot of what was going on and had to start over a bit, but this ended up being a really good idea because I finished volume 3 over the course of a few weeks, and then read all of volume 4 in one week. It was my favorite so far! At this time, I’m not sure if I’m going to participate in any book clubs. I will probably read 本好きの下克上 until I feel like reading something else. I have up through volume 8, and I’m really just happy to be reading again, especially when it’s this fun.
Volume 3 (no spoilers here)
I was really bummed when I got about 60% of the way through volume 3 and realized the last 40% or so was just side stories. I wish they mixed up at least a couple of the side stories with the main story, so it isn’t so disappointing when you get to the end, especially when it’s the end of an arc (the agony!). All I wanted to know was what was going to happen next, so getting through all of the side stories felt like such a slog. I took so many breaks when reading them. It probably took me longer to read the last 40% than it did the first 60%. I seriously considered skipping them (for a moment at least) but ended up powering through eventually.
Volume 4 (spoilers blurred)
Starting volume 4 was so exciting, and I loved the whole book. It was by far my favorite out of the volumes I’ve read so far. This was probably the fastest I’ve read a book of this length in Japanese. When compared to the prior volumes, I felt like the story really moved along and it didn’t get bogged down in anything. There was a lot more focus on character growth and interaction, as well as learning more about the 貴族 part of the world.
Thar be volume 4 spoilers!
I was rather surprised that 神殿長 hardly showed up at all. I was constantly expecting him to be conniving in the background about something, especially once マイン became 孤児院長, but he never reappeared (aside from being mentioned occasionally by デリア). I thought for sure there would be more of a fuss about the トロンベ in the courtyard (wouldn’t there have been トロンベ pieces around?). It seemed weird that 神官長 never delved any further. I would have thought that a tree spontaneously sprouting up through flagstones in the courtyard would have obviously been トロンベ. It made me wonder if トロンベ weren’t familiar to nobles, or if maybe 神官長 himself doesn’t get out much. It didn’t really seem like he was intentionally playing dumb, but he is rather secretive.
I also felt a little suspicious of the fact that no one had ever noticed the タウ —> トロンベ —> 魔術具 substitution possibility before. No kid with even a little bit of magic ability had ever once participated in what seemed to be a super popular festival? Hmmmmmmmmm.
Volume 5 (all spoilers all the time – almost everything blurred)
Everything I remembered about the first part of the book flew out the window because of the second part, and the developments with the 騎士団 and 神官長. I had suspicions that 神官長 might be more important than he appeared because of his relatively young age and higher status position within the 神殿, but I was even more convinced (and really surprised) when it was revealed that he received the memory 魔術具 directly from the 領主. It seems highly unlikely that someone would ask for and receive permission from the 領主 to use what appears to be a valuable magical item without high-level connections, even if he does harbor suspicious about マイン. 神官長 had also mentioned that he received permission from the 領主 to allow マイン to be admitted as a 青色巫女見習い. That didn’t strike me as odd when I initially read it because it was an unprecedented decision, but it does make me wonder now.
Also, when 神官長 told the 騎士団 members that she was under his protection, I thought he was drawing on some political power as 神官長, but now I’m wondering if his family is actually much more important, possibly with close connections to the 領主. I also felt like there might be possessive implications that could be understood from his declaration of protection. The 騎士団 members only became intensely interested in マイン after her display of power, and based on all of the political happenings (and the fact that magical power is largely inherited from the mother) it seems obvious that they would want to either marry her or make her a concubine (not sure if those exist in this world) to make little baby magicians. If he is protecting her from their ambitions, it seems that he would then be implying that he (or his family) is staking a claim on her. Their immediate concession to his declaration implies that either he or his family is important. The position of 神官長 doesn’t seem especially prominent, so now I’m wondering if it’s family or other close connections.
I’m continually surprised that 神殿長 hasn’t appeared again. He’s apparently just a gossipy co-worker now?
Onward to volume 6!