Now they were as strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement.
When I first read Persuasion, I must have been out of my mind, preoccupied, or distracted with something because how else could I not have enjoyed this book back then as much as I have enjoyed it now?
Austen's last book is a masterpiece of subtlety and quiet power.
Anne Elliot is not as fierce or outspoken as my other favourite Austen heroines but she is such an awesomely strong character in her own way. She knows her own mind but also takes on advice from others. This ability be persuaded is, of course, at the heart of this story, and Austen plays with the concept of persuasion throughout the book - culminating in a debate between Anne and Captain Harville over whether men or women suffer longer after the loss of love. A debate which is overheard and influences a letter that within Austen's works is eclipsed only be the declarations of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
There are a number of elements in this story that are similar to Austen's other books - the focus on women in Georgian society being confined to their roles as wives and daughters, the class snobbery, the importance of reputation, financial mismanagement, the plotting of romantic entanglements for position and wealth.
Austen pokes fun and she admonishes -
Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.
She does it quietly, by implication more often than by expressing it in words. It's a subtlety that needs some focus to absorb it, but that is ever so rewarding.
Despite this, Persuasion for me will also be the book I will remember for Jane Austen calling an off-page character a ...
He had, in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for him, by calling him “poor Richard,” been nothing better than a thick-headed, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never done anything to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name, living or dead.
Meh. I considered buying this and related Vocaloid titles a while back, and I’m now glad I didn’t. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t have anything in it that I think I’d want to pore over again at a later date. For those who are wondering (because I wondered, back when I was considering getting it), it’s primarily an artbook. There are only a few comics.
There were a bunch of Vocaloid illustrations from various artists. Hatsune Miku was the most common subject, but there were also lots of works featuring Len and Rin and a few featuring Luka, Meiko, and (very occasionally) Kaito. Each artist got a line or two to introduce themselves, and some of them included commentary for the individual illustrations. Unfortunately, each artist only got one or two pages, so the more illustrations and commentary they included the smaller the illustrations were.
There were a couple pages total of Character Vocal Series official visuals for Miku, Rin, Len, and Luka. They included descriptions of the defining features of their outfits and, for some reason, age, height, weight, and music specialty information for everyone but Luka.
There were six pages of Project Diva artwork - mostly character models. It was almost entirely focused on Miku, but there were a few character models for Meiko, Kaito, Luka, Rin, Len, Yowane Haku, and Akita Neru.
There were six pages of information on various popular (?) Vocaloid PVs. In most cases it was “one page, one PV,” with video stills, a short description, and information about the video’s popularity. I hadn’t heard of a single one of them before, but then I tend to focus on a few tuners I really like and that’s it. I don't have any favorite producers.
There were a couple pages of artwork by Nishimata Aoi, after which there were six pages of Vocaloid CD and DVD artwork. I recognized the Supercell and “Magnet” artwork.
There are six pages of 4-koma comics created by Ontama and Torikara-P. While Torikara-P’s artwork was adorable, I thought Ontama’s comics were more amusing. That said, neither sets of comics were very memorable.
There was a page of story information about something called “Torabotic World,” which I gather is a Vocaloid PV (yet another one I haven’t heard of). It was followed by an 18-page wordless “Torabotic World” comic by Nagimiso. It was cute, but occasionally a little hard to follow.
The volume ended with two more comics: “May Be Family” by Nagian and “Good Morning, Emma Sympson” by Batako. “May Be Family” featured Meiko and a grown-up Rin and Len (and maybe Kaito? Was the guy Kaito?) suddenly finding an adorable child Miku. This was my favorite comic in the volume - a bit over-sweet, but nice enough. “Good Morning, Emma Sympson” featured a Vocaloid producer hoping to reconnect with a childhood friend via Miku’s music. It was okay, but the emotional flow was a bit choppy.
Again: meh. If I read any of the other Hatsune Miku Graphics books, it’ll continue to be via library checkouts. I don’t feel the need to get them for my personal collection.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
I'm now 384 pages into the book. It's not giving me nearly as much dinosaur time as I expected, although there are some nice moments here and there.
Richard Anderson's interior dinosaur art is probably the best dinosaur stuff in the book. Tor.com has some examples - there's one of these at the start of every chapter.