Forewarning: In the Book Girl series timeline, this volume takes place after the events of Volume 2, Book Girl and the Famished Spirit, and so I will be acting under the presumption that the reader has already read up to Volume 2.
One summer day, Tohko sends Konoha a message saying that she’s been kidnapped. Konoha is forced to come get her, but he ends up spending his summer at the Himekura villa. But on a trip to the local village, he overhears rumors of the mansion being haunted by a ghoul who murdered the servants there eighty years ago, dyeing the villa’s lake blood red.
While this is the sixth volume in the Book Girl series, this volume takes place after the second volume and is considered a side-story to the overall plot. While Book Girl and the Undine who bore a Mayflower features Maki as the focused character, it heavily emphasizes Konoha and Tohko’s relationship more. It’s an average side-story but it still retains the characteristics of a Book Girl novel.
The plot consists of Book Girl’s typical formula. Tokho drags Konoha (unwillingly) into a situation and they end up uncovering a mystery by the end of it. Inspired by Kyōka Izumi’s Demon Pond, and with references from his other works, a tragedy from eighty years ago is brought up again due to the involvement of the Himekura family. At this point in the series timeline, Konoha hasn’t gotten over Miu, and yet this volume completely removes the subject from the story and focuses on the mystery element. That said, the plot plays out rather straight-forward, so it feels weaker than the previous mysteries so far.
In past volumes, Maki Himekura acted as the information broker for our investigations and the comedic one-note during the less serious portions. However, Maki played a huge role in Book Girl and the Famished Spirit and during the final moments of the volume, we got to know a little bit about her family history. As the half-pure blood-line granddaughter of the heir to the Himekura clan, Maki defines herself as the rebel to the titan that is her grandfather. This volume is an extension to that, building more on her lack of freedom from her family and the aftermath of Hotaru Amemiya’s death.
Besides Maki, Konoha and Tohko come back as the primary characters. Konoha and Tohko are paired up together to investigate the ghost, and this results in the novel really pushing their relationship. At this point, we know how well they get along together any scenario and we get see more of this on a more comedic front here. There are hints dropped at the end of the story about Tohko hiding a secret, but regardless, these events of this volume is a nice forecast for the last act.
As stated in the Afterword of the novel, Takeoka says that since this was a special volume, she changed her drawing a bit differently. Nevertheless, it looks gorgeous like always. Upon opening the book, we are greeted with a three page illustration of Tohko wearing a kimono and a sleeping Konoha right next to her. And on the back, we see a illustration of a elegant yet striking picture of Maki Himekura, along with a Emily Brontë quote, reminisce of the second volume. As for the black and white illustrations, there are slight noticeable increase in details, making the characters pop out more.
Book Girl and the Undine who bore a Mayflower wraps up another supporting character, leaving only Tohko and Ryuto. Like I said before, as a side story within the main series, it accomplishes what it needs to do; provide development to Maki and expand Tohko and Konoha’s relationship. Despite the content more on the comedy than drama side and having a weaker mystery, the volume presents a pleasant message of dreams turning into strong convictions through their captivating stories.
Rating: Highly Recommended – Recommended
Author: Mizuki Nomura
Illustrator: Miho Takeoka
Translator: Karen McGillicuddy
English Publisher: Yen Press