The Series Series: The Great Library By Rachel Caine

Ohhh, this was a fun one, you guys. I really enjoyed it. (Thanks as always to Aless for throwing YA series at me with gusto)

The premise of the series is as follows, The Great Library of Alexandria was not destroyed and as such it was what became the great power. Not The Roman Empire. Not The Church. And history was shaped by a completely different values set as a result.

The Books

Ink And Bone

Paper And Fire

Ash And Quill

Smoke And Iron

Sword And Pen

The Author

Rachel Caine grew up in West Texas and published her first series, The Weather Warden in 2004. She writes a combination of Adult Urban Fantasy and YA Fantasy, and also writes under the pen name Julie Fortune. I like the look of some of her other stuff, so I might check it out. I really enjyed the writing on this series.

Series Structure

We start with Jess Brightwell, a teenage boy from London’s POV and stick with him for most of the series, though by book 3, we also get chapters from his classmates and allies. The Library has banned all ownership of books, instead using alchemy to project copies onto “blanks.” (There’s an oddness to reading a library loaned kindle copy of this series) Jess’s family has made their fortune stealing, smuggling, and selling rare original books. His father is sending him to train as a Librarian so that he can eventually help them steal directly from the library.

But it turns out there’s more going on than Jess realized and he and his friends and their teacher, Scholar Christopher Wolfe, begin a change of events that start a revolution.

In between the story are italicized “Ephermera” letters from characters to one another, old Library records that reveal bits of the different history. (Thomas Paine began a faction of rebels called “Burners” who burn books to show how valueless lives and free thought have become. I love that even in an alternate reality, Thomas Paine is gonna Thomas Paine)

Themes

“Any authoritarian organization, given enough time, will go bad.” – Sara Lance, Legends Of Tomorrow, Season 3, Episode 3 “Zari”

The horrible secret that our hero Jess Brightwell and his friends discover is that the library has been halting the natural progress of both society and science at crucial moments when advancements were deemed “too dangerous.” Now, that danger morphed from “dangerous to people” to “dangerous to the power of the library.” The main one being of course, the printing press, which was surpressed each time it was individually thought of.

Look, I’m an American and a Catholic, if there’s one thing I am deeply aware of in my own identity and society it is the way something with benevolent intent and ideals can be twisted to surpress, hurt and destroy. It’s something I reckon with pretty much daily. But what I loved about the themes of rebellion against authoritarianism in this series was that the Library was not deemed so corrupt it couldn’t be saved. The ideals were deemed worth fighting for and reforming. That rules. 

Favorite Book

I really really enjoyed Smoke And Fire, which is where the real organization of rebellion began. It was a lot of fun. It’s also the book that doubles down on Scholar Wolfe and his partner Captain Niccolo Santi as the most epic of epic love stories. Seriously, it rules.

Least Favorite Book

Ash And Quill had a lot of promise that didn’t really go anywhere which bummed me out.

Favorite Character

Khalila Seif is one of Jess’s classmates, she from a prominent Saudi Arabian family, a devout Muslim, and the most intelligent and thoughtful and kind person in the story. She’s also a badass politician. Seriously, I’m obsessed with her

Reread Possibilities

I’ll probably revisit in a few years. I very much enjoyed it and I’d like to catch things I might have missed. A lot like with the Leigh Bardugo stuff, this is a world I just really enjoyed being in. I’m not crazy about Jess and so it’s hard to get super invested.

I’m not sure what’s next here, to be honest. I’ve got a stack of more reality based books that have been calling my name, plus the two book clubs will be making their choices in the next week or so. I’ll update when I finish another series.

 

Nerd Girl Book Club

If there’s anything that the past two and a half months have made me grateful for it’s my friends.

I miss them like crazy but that’s only because they are some of the greatest people to ever live. I had a huge breakthrough in therapy last year when I realized that unlike most people my intimacy issues do NOT come from my family, but from a series of terrible falling outs with long term friends.

I have trouble trusting people because a good chunk of the people I trusted left me behind. A few didn’t, but most left either when things got tough (more understandable) or it was convenient to move along (less understandable). I won’t get into specifics because those are not my stories to tell for the most part.

But, they’re relevant here because of Aless, who introduced me to her friends and reopened my heart.

Anyway, that’s all old news. I’ve written about them. About my love for them. I’ve also written about the friends that held on to me in the hard transition time. (Juli, Chrissy, Maggie, Katie)

But a month ago, when Jess, Sara and I got on a Zoom call to discuss a book we all read (Bonds Of Brass by Emily Skrutskie) and when we realized we’d come across something special. Our dynamic of intelligent, nerdy, interesting women was worth investigating.

So we put the call out to those who we thought would be interested. And so many answered. I brought Maggie and Kristi into the conversation. Other people brought others. We read All The Stars And Teeth by Adalyn Grace, and we got on a Zoom call and I was reminded all over again of how lucky I was to have never felt the seductive sting of “not like other girls/women”

Because how much I would have missed. I’d have certainly missed this call, where we talked about the book. (Great world building, reasonably interesting characters, lame plot!) And where we got to know each other. Learning our tolerance for love triangles, and Rape As Character Development and our Hogwarts Houses and top fandoms.

We’re going at least one more month and I’m SO PSYCHED to move onto our next one.

After my sister’s bachelorette party, our friend Meghan said to Mary, “Thank you for curating a wonderful group of women.” and Mary and I took it as the greatest compliment.

I was honored to be a part of a curated a wonderful group of women yet again with this book club.

Also, we’ve all pledged to meet in person when we’re allowed, and while I also can’t wait for that, I also was so grateful for our call on Saturday, when I realized, OMG Jess and Maggie could talk about video games together, and Sara and Kristi had kids around the same age and so many other things.

What have we been robbed of by society keeping women apart and in competition with one another?

Not quite the point, but a little bit the point.

Anyway, I’ve been lucky in my life to drift into the orbit of exceptional women, and then to form real bonds with them, and to introduce them to each other.

Nerd Girl Book Club is everything I was hoping it would be. I miss talking about books from college and I miss women talking together, without outside interference from men, something I had growing up with my mom, sister and aunts, and in high school with IHA.

It’s hard to value something you’ve never known so I get why other people don’t value and miss this thing that was a part of my life for so long. But I’m so glad to have it back.

The Lady Of Winterfell

It’s been a year, am I allowed to talk about Game Of Thrones again? I know we were supposed to chuck it into the ocean and never look back, but I can’t do that.

Because I think about Sansa Stark a lot.

I grew up reading fantasy. I loved it. I’ve always loved it, but there were never girls I related to in those fantasies. If there were girls, they hated being girls, or what was interesting about them was that they rejected the world of girls. There was Alanna, there was Eowyn, there was Leia. Or they were romantic heroines, which I loved but wanted more. The flip side of that coin was Belle, Ariel, Cinderella.

There weren’t girls like Sansa. Girls who wore their femininity in all it’s power as armor. Girls who used embroidery and marriage and the selfish love of the men around them as weapons. Girls who loved their families and wanted handsome princes to come save them but when those dreams shattered didn’t cower but fought, not in battles but in the ways they understood.

I think about Sansa Stark a lot. I think about how she got into my blood and mind. And in the past few years, as I’ve let the floodgates open to more and more fantasy I see that I couldn’t have been the only girl who hungered for that. Because there are these books now, you see, these books written by women around my age, filled with girls. Some who are like Alanna, Eowyn, Leia, who put on armor and pick up swords and fight alongside men. Some like Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, who long for true love and princes. And there are so many Sansas.

So many girls who fit into their world of privelege and beauty and when it’s hollowness was revealed, didn’t reject it, didn’t say, “there’s nothing here,” didn’t see the other women held by it as stupid, shallow or weak, instead took those things and made them the tools of their fight.

Yesterday I finished Queen Of Shadows, the fourth book in the Throne Of Glass series. It’s going to be a while before I finish this series, because I’m waiting on Empire Of Storms and I’m the eight person in line for 5 copies at my library. But Sarah J. Maas’s series is full of Sansas. I had trouble getting into it because the lead, isn’t, and my GOD does this girl hate other women at the beginning of her journey. And that begins to unravel, slowly as the series progresses.

“I’m not like other girls,” is a hell of a drug. I’ve never understood it. I’ve always loved other girls and women, but it’s a really hard thing to kick in society that tells us that there’s no room for us to be who we are. But I’m so grateful to see that it is starting to shift.

I think about Sansa Stark a lot. I think about how overjoyed I was to find her eight years ago. I think about how she got an ending full of justice and triumph without ever compromising who she was.

I think about Sansa Stark and I cry, because she exists, in print and on TV for girls like me to find, and know they aren’t wrong or weak or stupid. There is space for them in these stories. And oh that matters so much.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars Comics: Darth Vader By Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca & Edgar Delgado

Darth Vader is cool.

Like, he’s a very cool villain. There’s no getting around it. Dude’s awesome.

Darth Vader the comics series from 2015-2016 takes huge advantage of the fact that Darth Vader is really cool. Also, magically, Kieron Gillen manages to make this Vader, purely Vader at this point, the series takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, feel of a piece with the Anakin Skywalker we’ve come to know from the prequels and The Clone Wars, without betraying how cool and scary Darth Vader is.

Gillen’s Vader is impulsive, single minded (he wants Luke Skywalker. That’s it.), cruel and charismatic. He’s also, oddly compassionate, in his totally and completely evil way. Like, I don’t know how to quite describe it, this is just a wonderfully written series and I was glad to have read it. (Even if I got it my mistake thinking it was Darth Vader: Lord Of The Sith, which we’ll do soon.) There are fun new characters too. The mercenary Doctor Aphra, a sassy rogue archeologist (There’s a particularly fun moment where she fights Han and they are foiled by some snakes…), two evil murderbots, 000 and B2, and a host of cyborgs who have been trained in the Jedi Arts, including two twins who make Vader want to Force Choke things even more (The Force is mysterious that way.)

I was genuinely overwhelmed with glee reading this series. Seriously, it’s a must do for a Star Wars fan digging deeper, if only because it balances fun and adventure in a way that the series does not always do well, and is always a joy to see.

Next time we’re going to take on Resistance Season 2, and I MEAN IT THIS TIME.

The Series Series: The Six Of Crows Duology By Leigh Bardugo

This was a quicker turnaround than I expected but I love this world so much, I could live in it for all eternity.

Anyway, let’s dive in to this story of thieves and honor and double crossing and heists, shall we?

The Books

Six Of Crows

Crooked Kingdom

The Author

I talked about Leigh Bardugo last time, her biography has not changed much in the past two weeks, as far as I know.

Series Structure

Pretty straightforward here. In the first book we meet Kaz Brekker, the wicked rising crime lord of Ketterdam, another country in the same world as Alina’s Revka. Kaz is putting a team together to break a prisoner out of an ubreakable prison. The team, Inej, a Suli Acrobat from Revka who was sold into a life of prostitution and now works as a spy for Kaz, Nine Kerik, a Heartrender Grisha who left Ravka because of…Matthias Helvar, a Grisha hunter who fell in love with her, Jesper Fahey, a university dropout with a gambling problem and a way with guns, and Wylan Van Eck a wealthy merchants son who’s escaping a pretty rough upbringing.

The chapters rotate points of view between these six characters, with a few others thrown in.

Themes

Y’all know how I love Charles Dickens right? I couldn’t help thinking about Dickens’s unfortunate orphans throughout this series. Kaz is like The Artful Dodger on steroids, far more wicked than even that pick pocket. Kaz has his own code, but it’s obscured by his own belief in his damnation. He’s twisted and dark and difficult. Everyone around him tries to believe the best in him and he keeps swatting them down.

Yes, friends, the theme today is redemption, who deserves it, who wants it, what they’re willing to do to get it, and the bonds formed along the way.

Favorite Book

I mean, there are only two and I loved them both. I might give a slight edge to Six Of Crows because it’s heist is a bit more fun.

Least Favorite Book

Again, only two books, but slight demotion to Crooked Kingdom for having a marginally less fun heist.

Favorite Character

It’s Nina, she’s great. I mean, they’re all great. I also have a soft spot for Jesper, the bisexual dumbass who can’t manage his money. And when Aless pointed out that Kaz reminded her of Jason Todd, it endeared him to me quite a bit. (Kaz does not get beaten to death with a crowbar and return from the dead with a desire for revenge and an unquenchable blood lust, plus a penchant for boning his family member’s exes, but there are striking similarities.) But I adore Nina, and her ability to survive while holding on to her soul.

Reread Possibilities

Oh I will be rereading. My reread bar is Rick Riordan’s Grecco Roman books, which I reread every year. This will also be every year I bet.

Up Next: The Bone Witch Trilogy by Rin Chupeco, which seem cool, and also have cool covers.

Magical Movies Tour: The Jungle Book

I have a soft spot for Rudyard Kipling’s writing. I know that it is largely imperialist nonsense, but I happen to think it’s lovely, and if there’s any period in history I admit to romanticizing heavily it is that of European Imperialism in South Asia. (I’m a little guilty of the Antebellum South too, but I got over that by high school, so I give myself the pass) Imperialism SUCKS but all that white linen striking against the jungles of India…so dreamy.

So anyway, that’s why I love Kipling, who took White Man’s burden and made it seem so stinking lovely and also has lots of cute animals (Rikki Tikki Tavi for the WIN!)  (Seriously this is a deeply problematic fave of mine but like, GUYS READ GUNGA DIN! IT IS SO GOOD!) And The Jungle Book, which incidentally was the last film produced while Walt was alive, does an excellent job of translating Kipling’s sense of adventure to a new era, using jazz and a bit of rock and roll to tell the story of Mowgli The Man Cub’s exodus from the jungle.

Again, I just love the animation from this era, it’s so charming and fluid and fun. Each animal Mowgli encounters is more expressive than the last, with Baloo and Baghera offering an odd couple chemistry as his protectors that anchors the heart of the story, which is about choosing the path that’s right for yourself and those around you. The wolves are protecting themselves from Sher Khan when they cast Mowgli out and Baghera is doing what he thinks is best for Mowgli. But in his way, so is Baloo, who’s more simple way of looking at things is another path Mowgli can choose.

Of course Mowgli does return to the world of men, where he belongs and can be safe, and of course his guardians defeat the bad guy too. This is one of the best fairy tales out there, even if it doesn’t get classified as such.

Next week it’s jazz and kitties with The Aristocats! This one’s a favorite among the Disneybounding crowd and one I don’t have much nostalgia for, but given my overblown reactions to Lady And The Tramp and 101 Dalmations I’m guessing I’m going to just absolutely love it!

*On a Disney Note: I was actually supposed to be in the parks today but obviously had to cancel because of Corona. It’s  for the best and am tentatively planning to go in November instead, either for the weekend after my birthday or for Fall Dapper Day before Thanksgiving. I’ll keep you all informed.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse

Remember a few weeks ago when I said I might never love a Star Wars novel because of the mandated third person present tense driving me bonkers?

Such is the power of Poe Dameron my friends because I have found a Star Wars novel I love. Resistance Reborn is fabulous, silly, interested in its characters, tells a rollicking adventure story and even brings back some old favorites. 

Oh, right and it’s basically got three chapters that are just Poe and Finn flirting including a scene where POE TEACHES FINN HOW TO TIE A TIE BECAUSE THEY ARE GOING UNDERCOVER AT A FANCY FIRST ORDER PARTY AND FINN CHOOSES ALIAS’S FOR THEM THAT ARE ACTUALLY THE STAR WARS VERSIONS OF SUPERHEROS AND OMG WHY WASN’T THIS THE OPENING ACT OF THE RISE OF SKYWALKER? (Also they’re in love and Abrams, Kennedy and Iger are cowards. Roanhouse is clearly a Stormpilot shipper because she goes OUT OF HER WAY to have Poe flirt with Finn, Finn grin about it, Finn assure Poe that Rey and Rose are “just his friends” and have Poe be super happy about that.) 

I really very much enjoyed this book, where Poe, and the rest of Black Squadron take Leia’s words of hope and decide to do whatever they need to to rebuild the Resistance. Snap and Kare head to pull Wedge and Norra out of retirement. They are not difficult to sway on this one, although Wedge is allowed a moment of hopelessness when he learns of Luke’s death. Leia and Rey are around in the periphery both knowing something else is coming but unsure what that something else is. Meanwhile, Poe, Suralinda, Finn and a new friend from Ryloth all head to Corellia to get a list of First Order defectors and known critics. (This is where the fancy party and tie tying come in.)

And I love it, y’all, I love it so much. I love the capers and the banter and the Stormpilot of it all. Rebecca Roanhorse’s tone suits my taste almost perfectly and did I mention SO MUCH STORMPILOT, and also more time with Black Squadron.

Just in general it’s great. I liked it a lot. We’ll be touching base next week obviously, with Clone Wars and with Resistance Season 2, which is now on Disney+, and as for Star Wars reading goes, I have the Darth Vader comics from the library and since the library is closed, I’m going to be relying on Kindle & Comixology once I get through my reading pile. I’m not sure what I’m going to read but it will probably be Prequel era. I’ve been eyeing Master & Apprentice, I could use some Obi-Wan in my life right now. 

I also might do an “Anatomy Of A Favorite Post” for Poe. I’ve done these before for Dick Grayson and Ahsoka, started one for Obi-Wan that never got where I wanted and I think Poe has earned it. 

The Series Series: The Space Trilogy By C.S. Lewis

This is a series I’ve put off for a while. In college I hung out with a lot of Philosophy and Theology majors and they all loved Lewis. He liked him well enough but was way too immersed in The Romantics and Shakespeare and avoiding Lewis’s contemporaries to seek him out. I don’t hate the Moderns, exactly, I just hated my British modernism professor and it left a bad taste. But I read the books, Hooray!

The Books

Out Of The Silent Planet

Perelandra

That Hideous Strength

Author

Clive Staples Lewis was a British professor of literature and hobbyist of Christian theology. He wrote a lot about both of these things in his way, most famously in The Chronicles Of Narnia but also in the lovely apologetic book Mere Christianity. He passed away in 1963.

Series Structure

Three books, the first two relating the adventures of Elwin Ransom, a Celtic Lore professor who finds himself transported to Mars (Malacandra) and Venus (Perelandra) and seeing the struggles of a benevelolent but absent God and several angles against a dark force. That Hideous Strength refocuses on what Earth has to do to survive that darkness coming for us, refocusing off of Ransom (though he’s around) to a young married couple of professors, Jane and Mark.

Themes

Oh boy, I love me some religious allegory sci-fi. The series explores the idea of a Christian Cosmology that connects with the Pagan roots of Britain in more than just the aesthetic ways that we’re aware of, the Gods of the ancients are actually the angels of God Almighty. It also deals with the nature of sin, the choice of intellect over spirit that magnifies sin, and gender.

I, probably not shockingly, do not care for Lewis’s takes on gender, but his casual misogyny and gender essentialism is something I’ve gotten used to in his work. It’s an undercurrent in Narnia, teased in Screwtape, largely avoided in Mere Christianity and writ large here. Like, the resolution of how Earth is saved comes because Jane and Mark stop fighting their natures as man and woman, Jane especially, who’s gotten some silly ideas in her head about “equality” and “bodily autonomy” and “being more than a wife.”

Silly woman.

Favorite Book

My god I loved Perelandra, it’s a beautiful work, retelling the Eden myth on a planetary level, providing a terrible vision of Hell, a thoughtful examination of damnation and God’s indifference to human suffering. It’s a fable and a lovingly told one.

Least Favorite Book

That Hideous Strength is a beautiful piece of philosophical writing and kind of a crappy novel. I like the idea that the ideals of Camelot and British connection to the land itself is what should be used to fight Fascism, but this is a book that’s more didactic than the two novels that come before it. I loved Perelandra and wasn’t at all into That Hideous Strength, because I’ve always preferred Lewis in whimsical fable mode to preaching philosophical mode. (I’m more The Horse And His Boy and Voyage Of The Dawn Treader than The Last Battle)

Favorite Character

Ransom’s pretty great, as these kind of self inserts go, especially because he’s not a self insert, exactly. He’s not supposed to be Lewis, I assume Mark is, Ransom is Tolkien! It’s a much more flattering picture of a friend than Tolkien’s of Lewis. (Treebeard in The Lord Of The Rings is allegedly based on Lewis. Treebeard is great, but I think I’d be offended if I learned my friends based a character like that on me.)

Reread Possibilities

Probably just Perelandra, I can’t see myself revisiting the others.

So, my COVID-19 relates anxiety is shaking up my reading schedule. I’m trying to avoid stress in my consumption, and this was a pretty heavy set of books. Which means I’m going to skip my planned next read Caught In The Revolution by Helen Rapparport, something tells me reading about Moscow, 1917 would not make me feel particularly good at the moment. So, I’m going to read Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhouse next, and then we’ll go from there. Next series is The Shadow And Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Bloodlines by Claudia Gray

Princess Leia Organa doesn’t know what her legacy to the Galaxy will be and that’s so very complicated for her and also it turns out the New Republic is a big wet fart (which she suspected allllll the way back after The Battle Of Jakku) so that’s not helping things, also it turns out there’s a bunch of young people who don’t remember the Empire and think it was super rad like AESTHETICALLY MAN and she’s tearing her hair out trying to explain that NO THE EMPIRE WAS BAD ACTUALLY, and she misses Han and hasn’t talked to Luke and Ben in a while, and she’s having kind of a rough time.

This is largely the emotional tenor of Bloodlines which I liked quite a bit. As I said after Aftermath, I’m so alienated by the “Third Person Present Tense” convention of these books that I don’t know that I’ll ever love any of them, I really really dislike it. That’s neither Claudia Gray nor Chuck Wendig’s fault though and I manage to enjoy some of the writing despite my real serious dislike of this stylistic mandate. (I’m less annoyed by First Person Present Tense, though I still don’t love it.)

Anyway, Leia’s at the end of her political career here, sure she’s just too burnt out and cynical to make a difference anymore, and due to some rising First Order shenanigans, her decision to retire is expedited when her lineage as the Daughter of Darth Vader is revealed.

Like I said, Leia is having a bit of a time in this book. She’s got a fun crew of younger pilots, mercenaries and interns on her side, and also, Ransolm Casterfo, a young senator who is one of said Empire Obsessives. He hates Vader and Palpatine though…just likes order? I don’t know, he and Leia eventually become friends but he was very, “I just like Lynyrd Skynyrd MAAAAANNNNN,” on the will wear a Confederate Flag shirt scale, but he still kind of sucks. Also, he dies, so who gives a shit. Anyway, they solve a mystery that reveals bits about the way the First Order rose, where their money and power came from.

I very much enjoyed the book, which among other things gives us some real warm feels Han/Leia content, they are adorable in this book, and very on point, you can hear Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher’s inflections in their dialog. I also appreciated a bit of insight into the rise of The First Order from those Imperial Remnants of Aftermath, the two factions of the New Republic and Leia running around being a badass. It’s a fun book.

Obviously, on Tuesday we continue with Clone Wars and our next book is Resistance Rising which I’m very excited about because Jess tells me it’s got Stormpilot GALORE. (You know, no smooching because everyone are a bunch of COWARDS but otherwise.) Looking forward to that one.

In The Shadow of Adaptation: Emma

Emma Woodhouse, clever, handsome, and rich, had lived nearly twenty one years with very little to vex her.

I went into this new adaptation of Emma curious but without much expectation. Emma is far and away my favorite of Jane Austen’s novels, not least because of it’s prickly sometimes silly heroine, who Austen described as, “no one but myself will like much.”

Of course many people love Emma Woodhouse, vexing and silly as she is, and I didn’t put too much pressure on this movie, since I have a lot of affection for 1996 adaptation starring Gwyneth Paltrow (an Emma if there ever was one) and the 2009 miniseries with Ramola Garai was not to my taste at all, and we have a perfect adaptation of Emma that exists and it’s called Clueless. 

With all of those caveats I was excited for a reason to pick up this book again, and happy to fall back into Emma’s world of matchmaking and new dresses and balls and a true and honest love built on the back of friendship and long held affection. (Mr. George Knightly would destroy that broody Fitzwilliam Darcy chap with one lecture and raised eyebrow and it would be glorious.) and Autumn De Wilde’s new film, with Anna Taylor-Joy in the lead is a delightful trifle of film.

De Wilde makes some choices that I absolutely love, one is that he’s very clear that he’s making a comedy, he leans into the absurdity of the manners and social dances that in a way that Austen’s books nearly always do, and adaptations tend to stay away from. His background as a music video director suits the tableaux that are necessary.

The other decision that De Wilde makes that sets the tone perfectly is cast the always wonderful Bill Nighy as Emma’s mercurial father. Mr. Woodhouse is an absurd character, always nervous about illness and wanting everything is own way. His daughter and her lover are of course happy to oblige him, but the silliness of the character is perfectly pitched here. Frankly, most of the cast is perfectly pitched to the arch and funny tone, and the ball scene is one of the sexiest ways of shooting those scenes (always the sexiest in the adaptations).

I’m odd in my Austen preferences, liking Emma more than Pride And Prejudice is the least of it. I hold Ang Lee & Emma Thompson’s Sense And Sensibility as the high watermark, not the BBC P&P starring Colin Firth (although it is very very good.) Overall, i consider a wonderful adaptation of one of my favorite books, that I will most likely be revisiting a time or two.