Warning: If you have not read “Book Girl and the Corrupted Angel,” do take a look at it before reading this review if you wish to avoid spoilers. If you don’t mind spoilers or have already read the book, feel free to read this review!
I’m back once again with another book review, and this time, it’s the light novel “Book Girl and the Corrupted Angel,” which is the fourth light novel in the “Book Girl” series by Mizuki Nomura! Originally I was going to put up a review of a different book but I got so caught up in reading this one that I just couldn’t put it down until the end! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“With college exams approaching, Tohko Amano – president of the literary club, closet book-eating goblin, and shameless procrastinator – does the unthinkable and declares club activities suspended! Unencumbered by the demand of his taskmistress to deliver handwritten improv stories, Konoha finds himself helping his oft-estranged classmate, Nanase Kotobuki, in the music room after school. When one of Kotobuki’s friends goes missing before Christmas, though – vanishing amidst rumors of her being an “Angel of Music” – Konoha finds himself swept up in a mystery unfolding as if from the pages of Gaston Leroux’s seminal work…”
What I really enjoyed about the book was not just the ties the main plot held to “Phantom of the Opera” but also how the whole main situation kind of forced Konoha to look at the big picture of…well, himself. By this point, it’s obvious that Konoha has been through a lot. If we recall from the last few books, we last heard that a close friend of his in middle school or so had attempted suicide. Thankfully, it turns out that she survived—but not without sustaining horrendous injuries to the point that she’ll never fully recover. Konoha’s guilt about being unable to help her is fully explored, as well as how it’s held him back in relationships with others in the present—especially the relationship he holds with Kotobuki.
Up until this point in the book, Kotobuki has been kind of there in the background, known as one of the various classmates that Konoha has and they held a bit of a cold, distant sort of relation with each other. But this time, Kotobuki got her own chance to shine, as it turns out that she was close friends with the girl that has gone missing. The way the relationship Konoha and Kotobuki had with each other developed really well, and it’s fair to say those two are definitely on a road to being good friends and understanding each other, which in turn has helped their individual development. Kotobuki feels more like a character I can relate to, with her deep concern for her friend, and Konoha realizes more and more throughout the novel that he can’t let the past hold him back. Granted, the grief that both of them share with each other over their past and current situations might haunt them at times, but they have people that can support them—namely, each other.
Tohko made less of an appearance than usual, due to her apparently studying for exams during the duration of the book. Despite her having less appearance, however, she was helpful for the main plot and was the one who ultimately pieced the puzzle that the girl’s disappearance caused in the book.
For new characters introduced such as Keiichi, Shoko, and Omi, I felt that Omi had better development than Shoko and Keechi did. Omi, despite having less of an appearance than Shoko or Keiichi for the first half of the book, was actually well-developed. At first he seemed cold and distant, but then as soon as his connections to the other characters were revealed his personality fell more into place as someone who suffers from self-guilt much like Konoha and Kotobuki did, and therefore was a bit more relatable by the end. Shoko felt more like one of those characters whose temper went from zero-to-sixy instantaneously for almost no reason, and felt more paper-thin compared to the other characters. Keiichi’s development was fine, but I wished there had been a bit more depth to his character. Granted, given his and Shoko’s fates by the end of the book I doubt we’ll see them again, but I still wish I could have seen more from both of them.
Though the book is not as dark as “The Famished Spirit,” it still has some jarring points such as mentions of compensated dating scattered throughout the novel, abusive relationships, and even attempted murder. If any of this is not up your alley, you might want to avoid reading this one.
Overall, I’m going to give this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, mainly due to the lack of some character development. However, I would totally recommend it to those who are familiar to the “Phantom of the Opera” story and want to see how it influences the atmosphere of this book, as well as those who have read the previous books in the “Book Girl” series and wonder if they should still continue. I know I’m definitely going to continue reading this series for sure!