I love new experiences. I love being in a new environment and discovering things that I hadn’t thought of before. The idea of going to a new planet and living amongst a different society is something that really interests me, so when I read the summary of Ascendance of a Bookworm I knew it was the perfect read for me. Not only is this story about a person experiencing a new world, it’s through the eyes of a bookworm, the ultimate explorer. We get to see how someone from Earth would cope with living in a less advanced society that is similar to our own world, but is also new and has its own set of challenges.
Ascendance of a Bookworm follows the story of Myne, a 5-year-old girl who is recovering from a long illness that saw her bed ridden for most of her young life. What makes Myne special is that she isn’t really a 5-year-old girl at all; she’s really a college-aged, book-loving woman, Urano, who recently died from an avalanche of books then got reincarnated into Myne’s body. While most people would be devastated to learn that they had died, were reincarnated into another body and now have a new family, Myne is more focused on the fact that there isn’t any type of literature on this new planet. She eventually learns that books are for the wealthy and that very few people know how to read and write, including her parents. The main plot of the story follows Myne’s determination in creating her own book, from creating the paper herself and finding someone to teach her how to read and write in her new language.
As the story progresses we see just how determined Myne is to create something she can read and in a lot of ways connect with her past life. While the story’s main focus is Myne’s journey in finding out how she's going to create her book without modern technology or even paper, I enjoyed watching how Myne reacts to the obstacles that she now has to face because of her new life. She takes a lot of her knowledge from her past life into her new one to make use of a difficult situation.
I really liked how the author, Miya Kazuki, illustrated how Myne regressed to a child but still had her adult mind set. Myne is constantly wanting to do things herself but because she has a child’s body she's unable to do simple things, like walk through town without becoming tired or open doors because they’re too high. There's a small scene where she explains how her new father dresses her everyday, which makes her uncomfortable because she doesn’t know him very well. It just made me think about how as a kid you don’t really think about if an adult helps you get dressed in the morning but as an adult we become more aware of our own nudity. Myne struggles living as a child while really being an adult. There were a lot of different instances throughout the manga that took me aback and made me think about how I would feel and handle common situations that Myne had to deal with now that she was a child.
The author did a really good job showing that Urano and Myne were from different worlds. While there were obvious differences, such as the people's appearances and the different food, there was also the difference in language. Urano was from Japan and spoke Japanese and Myne is not. Urano has the memories of the original Myne so she's able to translate but whenever there were words that the original Myne didn’t know she would say them in Japanese instead. I thought that was a really clever way to show how Myne only knows about her new world by how much her previous consciousness knew.
What I wasn’t the biggest fan of was the way Urano dealt with the loss of her previous self. She only briefly thinks about her mother and how she will react to her death and it wasn’t how most people would think. If I died and was reincarnated, I would immediately think about how I didn’t get to say goodbye to my family and it would be hard for me knowing I would never get to see them again. Urano only briefly thinks about her mother and is more broken up that she doesn’t have her books anymore. I was a bit annoyed that we didn’t see more of an emotional reaction to her losing her life and instead she has a full on meltdown when no one knows what a book is. She wouldn’t have died if she would have just invested in a Kindle.
Overall, I really liked this book. It had a fun storyline, made me laugh and made me consider my own life and how I would cope if put in the same situation. The book took me all of an hour and a half to read and was a short escape into a new fun world. I highly recommend adding Ascendance of a Bookworm to your next reading list.
A certain college girl who's loved books ever since she was a little girl dies in an accident and is reborn in another world she knows nothing about. She is now Myne, the sickly five-year-old daughter of a poor soldier. To make things worse, the world she's been reborn in has a very low literacy rate and books mostly don't exist. She'd have to pay an enormous amount of money to buy one. Myne resolves herself: If there aren't any books, she'll just have to make them! Her goal is to become a librarian. This story begins with her quest to make books so she can live surrounded by them! Dive into this biblio-fantasy written for book lovers and bookworms!"Add to CartLearn More