Forewarning: This volume contains spoilers for all the previous installments of the Book Girl series and this review will assume that the reader has read all of the volumes up to this point.
Kotobuki has provided an option to Konoha. “You don’t have to write. I’ll stay with you.” But Ryuto isn’t backing down, threatening to harm Kotobuki. As the situation escalates, it appears the only way to resolve it all is to find the answer to the truth: behind Tohko’s rumored disappearance, Ryuto’s severe grief, and Kanako’s unknown hatred.
Book Girl continues its two volume finale from the previous volume’s cliffhanger. Here, we get a conclusion to Tohko, Ryuto, and Kanako’s tale of family conflicts as Konoha finally chooses a path to take. All instances of comedy are greatly diminished as this series now fully embodies its drama mystery tone as it heads toward the end.
Outside of Tohko and Ryuto’s family affairs, the conflict between Konoha choosing between Tohko and Kotobuki has a clear presence during the first couple of chapters. Ever since Ryuto declared his threat, Konoha and Kotobuki’s relationship has grown considerably in a short amount of time, creating some nice scenes for Kotobuki fans. Konoha’s choice in choosing between the two girls are directly related with his writing complex; one wants him to write while the other tells him that he doesn’t need to.
To help Konoha make his decision, the novel has him interact with the cast and focused characters from the previous stories to show how they’ve changed since. For example, both Takeda and Maki help show Konoha certain philosophies that they’ve learned since their volumes to help shed light on the mystery. Through the help of others, Konoha is able to choose his decision and move forward. He’s greatly changed from who he was before and the novel shows the moment of his change through a strong and dramatic moment in classic Book Girl fashion.
Strait Is the Gate and The Immoral Passage is covered more in depth in this continuation. There is more emphasis is placed on the authors behind their work and the inspirations stemming from it. The novel continues to display the many different perspectives from a single work, as Konoha extensively uses them as important pieces to solve the mystery. Like previous volumes, many characters are alluded for other characters both in the past and the literature work, but this volume has the deepest levels of character referencing than any other. However, the novel doesn’t forget to remind us on who resembles who in the situation and update when new information comes up.
With all of the material The Scribe who Faced God used within its two volumes, the final confrontation leaves no hints left unturned, using every bit of information given to Konoha to full effect. Nomura’s writing of descriptive dramatization plays up the hype for Konoha so much that I personally got an Ace Attorney vibe from him. While its first read gets the major points across, I would recommend reading this book for a second read-through–although this can also be applied to any other book in the series. By reading it a second time, you would be able to recognize the connections to certain characters and the hints that the book gives out to foreshadow the conclusion. As a general example for this series, the identity of the person narrative the bold text monologue is usually revealed at the end, but reading again with the identity in mind is eye-opening.
Miho Takeoka’s work shines through in this last volume of Book Girl, retaining her usual style but citing key elements in her color illustrations. The first color illustration involving the people of interest are depicted in torn paper with a strong violet color references the heart shaped bottle of Ole Lukøje, a central figure to all the characters’ suffering. The next two illustrations are a picture of the entire cast of Book Girl and a two page picture of smiling yet sad Tohko. These two pictures are painted with a warm amber color, which directly references Tohko’s food description of Gide’s Strait Is the Gate, saying that it tastes like a clear consommé. The black and white illustrations remain effective in highlighting certain dramatic scenes through the usage of manga paneling and the distinct projection of characters.
I should also point out the definite change in tone and character for the front cover between Part 1 and Part 2. Tohko is shown taking up a majority of the space of the book in a beautiful illusion. The difference is the change in atmospheric colors; Part 1 has a dispirited Tohko surrounded by shades of blue while Part 2 has a very satisfied looking Tohko enveloped by warm, bright colors.
The Scribe who Faced God has the most developed story than any other before it and it greatly lands its finale. Book Girl has been a journey that tells many life lessons in the process. Reading through each volume brings a melancholy and depressing atmosphere, especially with its rather serious themes and emotionally destructive characters, but in the end, it accompanies bittersweet and sometimes heartwarming feelings. It’s not for everyone; the constant book references can be alienating, the slow start with its light novel traps can turn people off, and the melodramatic content may not be suited for everyone’s tastes. However, Book Girl is–in my opinion– Mizuki Nomura’s magnum opus, capturing all of her strengths as an author, and this is the most strongest and unyielding recommendation I could give to any series I’ve read so far.
Rating: Highly Recommended
Author: Mizuki Nomura
Illustrator: Miho Takeoka
Translator: Karen McGillicuddy
English Publisher: Yen Press
And with this last review, I will lay down my metaphorical pen for now. Haha, but like Konoha and Tohko, I shall go through the narrow gate as well.
Thank you for reading my reviews!