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Reviews by Contributor: Hyuuga, Natsu (3)

Such a Classic Tale

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 3

By Natsu Hyuuga  

23 Sep, 2021

Translation

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2015’s The Apothecary Diaries: Volume 3 is the third volume1 in Natsu Hyuuga’s secondary-universe quasi-historical mystery series. Illustrations are by Touko Shino. The 2021 translation is by Kevin Steinbach.

Jinshu is a skilled administrator but he lacks the professional training that would allow him to notice a potentially ominous development in the imperial harem. For palace servant Maomao, the problem is more obvious.

Perfume.

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Clouds of Mystery

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 2

By Natsu Hyuuga  (Translated by Kevin Steinbach)

7 Jul, 2021

Translation

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The Apothecary Diaries: Volume 2 is the second volume in Natsu Hyuuga’s illustrated light novel series, The Apothecary Diaries. Illustrations are by Touko Shino. The English translation is by Kevin Steinbach.

Court eunuch1 Jinshi made an allusive comment that was misinterpreted; it cost his protégé Maomao her job in the Rear Palace, where the emperor’s wives and concubines live. He attempted to repair his error by recruiting her to the Outer Court. 

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She’s a Mystery Girl

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 1

By Natsu Hyuuga  

19 May, 2021

Translation

1 comment

The Apothecary Diaries, Volume One is the first volume in Natsu Hyuuga’s episodic historical mystery series of light novels. The illustrator is Nekokurage. The 2020 English edition was translated by Kevin Steinbach.

Kidnapped by greedy villagers, Maomao was sold to the hougong, the rear palace. This is a sprawling residence for the emperor’s many wives and consorts, as well as for the eunuchs and servants who tend to them. Steadfastly unsentimental and practical, Maomao set out to keep a low profile until her term of service was up and she could return home. (Home is a red-light district where she lived with her doting apothecary stepfather.) 

Maomao would like out for several reasons. She’s homesick, yes, but she’s also afraid for her life. The hougong is a hotbed of vicious rivalry. To be noticed by the powerful is to become a target for jealous and quite possibly homicidal hougong folk. Better to be a mere servant than a figure of interest.

Maomao is too clever by half and becomes a figure of interest.

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