Gasp, could it be? Could the day have finally come when I willingly picked up an Isekai light novel? And didn’t feel like it was an uninteresting pile of overused tropes? Miracles upon miracles, Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll Stop at Nothing to Become a Librarian! is a genuinely fresh take on the Isekai genre that I didn’t know I needed, but now I can’t live without. More cute stories about nerdy girls, thank you!
Isekai itself is a very male-dominated genre. And I get why, a lot of Isekai is mostly self-insert Shonen, which tends to be more appealing and popular amongst guys. Of course, that’s not to say that there aren’t some great female-centric Isekai fantasy light novels out there that break the mold. Some recent ones that come to mind are My Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead To Doom!, better known as Hamefura, and The Saga Of Tanya The Evil.
But they rarely have a cozy, comfortable vibe akin to reading a good Shojo. This is where Ascendence Of A Bookworm’s premise shines through. Described as an Isekai Shojou by its author Miya Kuzuki, it has 7 volumes out so far and has been published under J-Novel Club.
So, what makes Ascendance Of A Bookworm different from other novels? Let’s just say, I had been waiting for a light novel like this. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Ascendance Of A Bookworm: Current Storyline
Meet Urano Motosu, your everyday college student obsessed with reading books who was working towards becoming a librarian. Sadly, her obsession comes around to bite her when she ends up being crushed to death by an avalanche of books at her home during an earthquake. As she lay there, dying, she makes one last plea where she wished to be reborn in a world where she’d be able to read books to her heart’s content.
Clearly, someone was listening because suddenly Urano opens her eyes as Myne, a fragile five-year-old toddler suffering from a disease called the Devouring. But this place isn’t what she had wished for.
This world is somewhere books are scarce and, therefore, a luxury only a very few in the elites could afford. Confused but armed with the knowledge of her past life, Myne is determined to spread her love for storytelling. And so, to bring the magic of reading to the masses, she decides to create her own stories and print them by herself too.
Myne isn’t the Chosen One, like the heroines in her favorite fantasy novels. But she has an iron-clad will to read and no one will stop her from achieving her dreams!
Plot Breakdown For Ascendance Of A Bookworm
Ever since I was a toddler, I’ve been a book fiend. I remember consuming books like they were air, reading everything in sight. Books were my escape, and I loved reading fantastical tales of worlds unknown. This obsession shaped my taste in anime as well, with fantasy shows like Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon.
But soon, the fantasy anime landscape was dominated by modern Isekai that was, frankly, not the same. This is what makes Ascendence Of A Bookworm such a breath of fresh air.
Myne isn’t some overpowered, ice-cold protagonist. There is no great conquest or high stakes she has to endure. She’s just an ordinary girl in a world that’s pitted against her from the start. And she doesn’t have some ace in the hole she can use to power up. But what she does have is passion. She is courageous and determined in becoming the heroine of her own story.
The pacing of Ascendance of A Bookworm is leisurely and relaxed. Arcs don’t get resolved with dynamic fight scenes or reveals. They take their time, concluding everything neatly. And the quests themselves are so quaint, like researching the various papers available to her for the books she’s going to print.
This hands-on experience of learning about crafts and materials is what leads to her interacting with the world around her. One from which she has so much to learn from. From her new family to the environment, she has to learn to adapt to all of it. And it’s a joy watching her do so, in her clumsy way.
However, there is one thing this story shares with other Isekai, which is the reincarnation bit. We understand that her life as Usano must’ve been terribly lonely, so this new one as Myne is a second chance for her to do more, and experience more.
Too Long, Didn’t Read?
I know I wasn’t the only one growing up as a nerdy little bookworm. And so, Myne’s story is relatable and heart-warming. Every time she solves an issue of hers feels like a personal win, it feels like it was actually earned.
This light novel gives merit to the saying ‘Knowledge Is Power’. Because the knowledge we gain is our greatest wealth, one that can never be taken away from us. I highly recommend this one!