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Reviews in Project: Translation (265)

Doctor To My Disease

The Case Study of Vanitas, book 1

By Jun Mochizuki  

28 Jul, 2021



Jun Mochizuki’s The Case Study of Vanitas (Japanese: ヴァニタスの手記, Hepburn: Vanitasu no Karute) is a gas-lamp fantasy manga series. It has been serialized in Monthly Gangan Joker since December 2015. Volume 1 collects the first four chapters.

Steampunk Paris! Second only to London in the technological marvels it introduced to the 19th century world, Paris will astound country bumpkin vampire Noé Archiviste — should he manage to reach it. 

Noé has been dispatched by his master in quest of the infamous Book of Vanitas. Rather conveniently for the vampire, the book will come to him.

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Into the Fire

The Golden Days  (The Story of the Stone, or The Dream of the Red Chamber, book 1)

By Cao Xueqin  (Translated by David Hawkes)

22 Jul, 2021


1 comment

The Golden Days is the first volume of Cao Xueqin’s 1791(ish) The Story of the Stone, or The Dream of the Red Chamber. David Hawkes’ translation is from 1973

Bao-yu knows that he was born to a good family, and that he was born with a piece of enchanted jade in his mouth. He doesn’t know that he’s a remnant of a construction project by the goddess Nu-wa, a remnant that wandered hither and yon and was eventually born as a human, to live and die as humans do.

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A Book With All The Rules

Daughter of a Soldier, book 3

By Miya Kazuki  

14 Jul, 2021


1 comment

Daughter of a Soldier, Volume 3 is the third volume of the first trilogy in Miya Kazuki’s 27+ volume Ascendance of a Bookworm series.

Having died as an adult bookworm in modern-day Japan, then having been resurrected as a child in a pre-industrial secondary fantasy world, the person now calling themself Myne has used her modern-day knowledge to carve out a potentially lucrative commercial niche. She has done so to survive, yes … but it’s also one step in her quest to re-invent a thriving book trade. 

Myne has to deal with four major impediments: her knowledge of bookmaking is fragmentary; her knowledge of her new society is likewise fragmentary; her family occupies the bottom rung of the social ladder; and her host body suffers from the Devouring, an illness likely to be fatal sooner rather than later.

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Clouds of Mystery

The Apothecary Diaries, book 2

By Natsu Hyuuga  (Translated by Kevin Steinbach)

7 Jul, 2021



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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Gray Fog

The Memory Police

By Yoko Ogawa  

16 Jun, 2021


1 comment

Yoko Ogawa’s 1994 dystopic The Memory Police: A Novel was originally published under the title Hisoyaka na kesshō. The 2019 translation is by Stephen Snyder.

Life on the island is a process of slow erosion, as memory after memory is stripped from the inhabitants. Escape is impossible; among the memories lost is any recollection of seafaring. 

A minority are seemingly immune to this process. No worries! Where there is some natural immunity, the Memory Police intervene without fail or mercy.

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Try To Change Their Worlds

The Beast Warrior  (Beast Player, book 2)

By Nahoko Uehashi  

9 Jun, 2021



Nahoko Uehashi’s 2020 The Beast Warrior is the second book in her Beast Player young-adult secondary-universe fantasy series. Cathy Hirano’s translation was published in 2020, which makes me optimistic that more Uehashi books will be translated in the near future. 

Eleven years after the events of The Beast Player, the kingdom of Lyoza is still wrestling with the repercussions of a controversial marriage: Lyoza’s religious leader, the Yojeh, married the kingdom’s Aluhan military commander. This was intended to heal the rift between the kingdom’s two great factions, but many subjects are alarmed by the unconventional move.

Meanwhile, Elin, Lyoza’s keeper of the Royal Beasts (whom readers may remember from Beast Player) has her own problems. Once again, mass death shapes her life.

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Ask The Old Grey Standing Stones

Odin’s Child  (Raven Rings, book 1)

By Siri Pettersen  (Translated by Siân Mackie & Paul Russell Garrett)

2 Jun, 2021



2013’s Odin’s Child is the first volume in Siri Pettersen’s Raven Rings trilogy. It was first published in Norway in 2013. The 2021 English translation is by Siân Mackie and Paul Russell Garrett.

Why cannot Hirka channel Might, the earth-magic that pervades her world? Why doesn’t she have a tail, as all proper Ymlings do? Why should she lack the Ymling tail and talents? She doesn’t know. 

Until her fifteenth year, she and her father Thorrald could conceal or explain away her deficiencies from the world. Now she faces the Ymling rite of passage, a rite that will reveal her lack of Might. It’s not clear how the authorities will react. 

Thorrald knows what she does not. Hirka is Thorrald’s adopted daughter, and she was born tailless because she is no Ymling. She comes from another world. She is an Odin’s Child. As far as most Ymlings are concerned, that would be enough to prove she is cursed. Hirka, once she learns from her father the truth, fears they might be correct. Which does not mean she doesn’t still want to live. 

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Girls Like Girls

I’m in Love with the Villainess, book 1

By Inori  

28 May, 2021



Inori’s 2019 I’m in Love with the Villainess, Vol. 1 is the first volume in their I’m in Love with the Villainess light novel series. Illustrations are by Hanagata. The translation is by Jean Yamazaki. 

As soon as someone refers to her as Rae Taylor, Rei Ohashi realizes that the actor’s nightmare in which she finds herself (finding oneself onstage in a play in which one doesn’t know one’s character, one’s lines, or even the plot) is actually her favourite dating sim, Revolution. While many people in her position might be concerned about how she got there — was it Truck-kun?1 Did a stack of books crush her? — Rei has well defined priorities. Her first is to seduce Revolution’s designated villain, blue-blooded bully Claire François. 

Rae might look forward to Sapphic delights … provided that she can overcome some steep challenges. Not least of which is Rae herself. 

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She’s a Mystery Girl

The Apothecary Diaries, book 1

By Natsu Hyuuga  

19 May, 2021


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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