Adopted Daughter of an Archduke, volume 1
By Miya Kazuki (Translated by Quof)
2016’s Adopted Daughter of an Archduke, Volume 1 is the first instalment of the third arc in Miya Kazuki’s Ascendance of a Bookworm secondary-universe fantasy series. Illustrations are by You Shiina. The 2020 English translation is by Quof.
Myne is dead! Long live Rozemyne, recently acknowledged daughter of Karstedt, knight commander. Her very existence has been hidden for years to protect her from the nobility’s incessant squabbles; now Rozemyne will now be formally adopted by Sylvester, Archduke of Ehrenfest.
That’s the official story.
Myne is alive and well, merely renamed Rozemyne and adopted by the Archduke. Myne is a peasant with a high manna level, which is a recipe for misery and disaster in this world. Rozemyneis a well-connected aristocrat, who may face significant challenges, but does not have to worry about becoming a chattel or having her family become collateral damage in a noble’s hissy fit.
Conveniently for Rozemyne, not only did her archnemesis High Bishop Bezewanst blot his copybook so thoroughly as to give Rozemyne’s mentor High Priest Ferdinand ample reason to arrest and execute Bezewanst, but the miscreant’s death has left a job opening in the church hierarchy. What better idea than to install young Rozemyne as High Bishop? While unfamiliar with the duties of High Bishop, Rozemyne is at least not actively corrupt and can be nudged in the right direction by the ever-diligent Ferdinand.
The only minor catch in this perfect solution to a seemingly intractable problem is that while Myne’s body is alive and well, Myne’s soul has long since gone off to wherever dead people do. Myne’s body is possessed by the soul of a dead Japanese bookworm who cares only about acquiring and reading books. Compelling the stubborn dybbuk to pay attention to anything not calculated to facilitate reading is a challenging task.
Fortunately for the world in general but perhaps not Myne herself, Ferdinand is more than up to the task.
Aristocrats are richer than peasants, although not as rich as one might expect. Clothes, for example, are kept until they are utterly worn out, rather than being discarded after a few uses. Aristocrats have obligations as demanding as any peasant’s, with the added benefit of incessant, potentially lethal competition with fellow aristocrats. Still, the highborn have a better chance of dying of old age than do the rabble. If someone were to have a choice, they would be advised to be born noble.
Myne is so damn slow at figuring out her context. If only there had been a thick tome along the lines of the Glorantha sourcebooks
for Myne to peruse. Alas, the bookworm has possessed a peasant girl who would have had no access to such a tome, were such a book to exist. The bookworm is monomaniacal about books to the point of near-obliviousness about everything that is not a book. You’d think this would be a strength, but it turns out that ignoring boring stuff is bad if the boring stuff can get your head stuck on a pike.
The author might be elaborating the story background gradually, when the narrative demands. Many authors are pantsers. But in this case I suspect in fact that she has had the whole setting planned out since day one (two arcs and seven books ago). More will be revealed when necessary to the story.
One might justly wonder if Myne will ever learn from experience. Yes, but only slowly. For example, it takes her much less time to miss her body’s peasant family than it took the shade to miss her Japanese mother.
As for the plot in this instalment … there is a fair amount of furious activity as Myne becomes aware of the implications of her new status, but this book is mainly set-up. Presumably this will pay off in volumes to come.
Adopted Daughter of an Archduke, Volume 1is available here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), here (Amazon UK), here (Barnes & Noble), here (Book Depository), and here (Chapters-Indigo).