After reading this 3 times, I decided to update this review a bit.
Before I start, if you're wanting to know more from watching the anime, I'll tell you this: the anime has done what the novel hasn't and vice versa. Basically, reading the novel won't guarantee what you want to know.
Even though my expectations were very high before I read this, it still managed to surprise me in every single chapter (not necessarily in a good way). This novel has the power to play with your emotions to such extent that you end up thinking about what you read for weeks, let alone days. The
really descriptive narration enables the reader to picture the scenes perfectly, as if he/she was really there.
This is a beautifully crafted story, pretty good to be the first work of Akatsuki Kana, I do sincerely hope she writes more stories. The story is mainly set in a country called Leidenschaftlich. Violet travels around the world to help her clients express their feelings to their receivers. Along with that, she learns to understand their emotions as well, ultimately to comprehend something someone important to her said a long time ago.
Although the idea of someone finding the meaning of "I love you" is one that has been explored quite often before, the method used to find this complex emotion's meaning is unique. By writing letters for other people, Violet learns the meaning of emotions other than love as well, as she encounters different people in different situations with different feelings to be conveyed to their receiver. And by doing this we also get to know the lives of those people as well.
Unlike being in a boring chronological order, the novel starts in a very unusual way: we see Violet carrying out her normal duties as an "Auto-Memories Doll" for the first 5 chapters. We don't get much information about her past, and we only get some slight clues that she was a former soldier and seems to be following someone's orders. I liked the structure a lot because I'm the type of person who likes stories which start somewhere unexpected.
Each of the 5 chapters are very interesting. They persuade the reader to become very attached to the characters (other than Violet), by showing their pasts in depth and the letters they tell Violet to write. It's as if they're one of the MCs as well. Now the best part about each chapter is that they all have an emotional ending, which never stops from boring the reader. The novel constantly shows completely unrelated, new adventures set in completely different places.
Later on we get a glimpse of the Violet's past. I think I liked these chapters the most in the novel. The development of Gilbert's feelings, who cared for her during the war, from a parental love to a different form of love was amazing to me. The depictions of the battles were very detailed and rich too, and emphasized a lot of the contrast between Violet's beauty and the horrible damage she caused to her enemies. She was basically presented as a killing machine. The idea of Violet being a 'tool' or the fact that she is described as 'it' was effective in carving in the reader's mind her inhuman nature.
After that, well it'd be going in too much in the story so I'll stop. I'll just say that the last chapter was truly great, almost like a fairy tail.
1. Violet's beauty was highlighted so much I can almost memorize her description... Here's one of numerous examples:
"Her soft, braided hair was held by a dark red ribbon, while her slim body was enclosed in a snow-white ribbon-tie dress. Her pleated silk skirt swayed gracefully as she walked, the emerald brooch on her chest glittering in sparkles. The jacket she wore over the dress was of a contrasting Prussian blue. Her long leather boots, worn for practicality, were of a deep cocoa brown."
I don't know whether you're the type of person who likes description which are all glittery like this, but I did think that mentioning her beauty almost every single time whenever Violet appeared was quite annoying, and felt like a waste of lines.
2. The novel completely skips Violet's development in becoming a doll and any kind of recovery from Gilbert's situation. I was pretty disappointed with this, because it made the story feel a bit disjointed. They were pretty important parts of the story ...
3. If you're the type of person who values how battles are presented, then you might not like this. I was particularly disturbed by the fact that one of Violet's main weapon is a huge battle-axe, almost twice her height. It just didn't make sense for me for Violet to use this weapon so efficiently. But then again this is fiction, and since she is OP...
Now this is just what I thought of the story. It is debatable that the separate stories are not useful because they focus a lot in the customers. But I think it's better than having none. After all, there are some indications in most chapters about Violet's development, even if they are just slight hints.
You guys should know this (well most of you should). If I could only give more than 10... I mean the covers are so beautiful I can't describe it in words... One of those times when you say to yourself, "I wish I could live in that world." I honestly would.
Violet's development is focused a lot, especially her transition from a 'tool' to a more humane person. You could even say the types of emotions which are learnt in each of her adventures. By learning them, she gets closer to understanding what Gilbert told her. However, as I said before, it isn't perfect: we don't get any development of her actually becoming a doll.
It only increases my curiosity as to why she was left in that island alone, and why she only understood the word 'kill' when she was first discovered. They didn't provide a single reason for that. I think this was another one of this work's weaknesses.
Gilbert's development is pretty good too, from his family's strict rules and their tradition of being close with the army to his strong determination to protect Violet no matter what, and going beyond that point. Hodgins was a slightly mysterious character to me. We are shown quite a lot of his interactions with Violet as well, presenting him as a protective guardian, but not much about himself other than the postal company he founded.
The main thing I was disappointed about the novel was the lack of development of side characters like Cattleya, Lux and especially Benedict. I think they were introduced a bit too late in the novel to get enough attention. They still felt like unknown characters to me by the time I finished reading this novel, but I guess that's just me moaning about how short the novel was.
I definitely enjoyed this novel to the fullest (despite some negatives) and I would strongly recommend this novel to anyone who liked the anime.
TL:DR for no one who wants to read the full thing. Story 8, Character 10, Enjoyment 10. Not much art to really judge but seems standard but not relevant. Overall 9. Maybe a 10 after a re-read. Sorry if it seems all-over the place. I'm kinda terrible at reviews.
In the beginning, there's not much of a story. Violet usually just goes around helping different people as she is an Auto-Memories Doll. To keep it simple, they are personalized secretaries for those who cannot write for themselves. They are tasked with going anywhere
that their clients need them to be and they write for them. It's a pretty simple premise and it helps pave the way for us to understanding Violet as a character, but it also will tug on your heart strings a bit as you learn more of the stories of the people Violet work for. Chapter 3 of Volume 1 in particular was very emotional for me. That's the beauty of this series, it's written so clearly that you can vividly imagine everything as it's described and paint the scene for yourself. The mid-way point of the novel does focus solely on Violet as it flashbacks to her life, who she was, she does what she does, and why she acts the way she does. It's a nice origin despite how ridiculous it may come off at some points. Nonetheless, the story never seems to fall flat in any manner. The story may not be the first of its kind with the premise, but that's not what holds this series up. It's the next section, the characters.
This series is a what I consider a character-driven story. The plots that unravel are not the driving force of this series, but it's the people who are involved in them. I won't dwell too much on all of the characters so I'll briefly try to brush over Violet and touch on others. I honestly feel like saying too much would ruin the series and you should want to read it on your own to know of the others. Violet is the main character, for spoiler reasons, I can't say too much about her. She is our main protagonist, the most famous Auto-Memories Doll for the CH Postal company who will go anywhere for the sake of her job. Violet is someone who doesn't seem to understand emotions and at first, she does come off as a robot of sorts. Her mannerisms and the way she goes about everything is very unnatural, as if she wasn't raised, but created in a factory. It's interesting because you want to know the who, the what, the when, and the why of what made her this way. Despite all of that, Violet comes off as more human the more you get to know her. It's an interesting development to see someone so ignorant to what it is to be human, but also someone so grounded in that same way. And as you get to know Violet's life, it all seems to fall into place. Which I must give the author credit for. To be able to write a character like Violet is impressive to me. That being said, Violet will not be the only character. Even characters in smaller plots, like in the beginning, are just as fleshed out and real. But I'd say those who are the most involved in Violet's life are some of, if not, the best support characters to anyone's story that I've read of. It's even more impressive that the author can make you care for and or sympathize with almost every character and their motives and reason.
This isn't a MAL category, but one I try to include when rating something because it matters is the development of story and characters. The story does time skip a bit and some transitions are a bit awkward, but nothing too major. As I've stated before, the plot doesn't exactly exist in the beginning for no other reason than letting us know about Violet and what she does. Which is fine, I don't mind the beginning being filler of sorts, as long as its written well. Which it is. Just expect a change in format as it progresses. Development of major characters is great. Everyone gets some and they feel so real. You can feel their pain, understand their thoughts and conflicts. It's nice.
I've cried, I've smiled, and I've enjoyed every bit of this novel. Every chapter kept me interested and I liked it all the way to the end. I don't read novels often. I'll hardly read a novel for an anime that's coming out, but Violet Evergarden is one of those series I've made an exception for. If you like character-stories then this is a series you'll enjoy. There's not much else I can express that I haven't touched on. I dare say that this series is a masterpiece.
Having heard it was the first light novel that had actually won Kyoani’s Grand Prize, I had very high hopes for Violet Evergarden. It is a two part novel consisting of short stories about a young woman traveling from one place to another assisting people with different things.
When you read through the first 5 chapters, which are basically short stories, you will notice that the author describes Violet - the main character in a way that makes her feel like a Mary Sue character. She is unrealistically strong, smart and fucking great looking. In fact she is so beautiful that the author can’t stop
themself from describing how beautiful Violet is in every chance they get. Every character in the story will bring up how beautiful she is, everyone from a young girl to a man old enough to have a daughter her age. To add to that, her delicate features are described in great detail.
Here is an example from chapter 1 :
“What was reflected in Oscar’s eyes was a sight more bewitchingly beautiful than any naked woman. Dripping golden hair. Beautiful blue orbs of a deepness that would not soften even within a painting and the finely-shaped lips just below them. A flesh body with a slender neck, an outstanding collarbone, plump breasts, and feminine curves.”
Here is an example from chapter 2 :
“‘It’ was a bewitchingly beautiful doll. Golden hair shining as though ‘it’ had been born out of moonlight. Blue orbs that glowed like gems. Bright rouge-colored lips so plump as to seem they had been pressed hard. A Prussian blue jacket under a ribbon-tie snow white dress that bore a mismatched emerald brooch. ”
Here is an example from chapter 3 :
“She was like a white rose blooming within the night. Even with his vision slightly distorted by tears, Aiden could tell how stunning she was. Her blue irises reminded him of the far-off southern seas, her lips as red as the moonrise in a desert. Her facial features would have made his heart race were that a normal day, but in such circumstances, he felt nothing but fright. Her golden hair shone brightly even in the blackness, making the burgundy ribbon decorating it stand out.”
I can keep going, but you see my point. And to further add to that the author uses a ‘purple prose’ whenever they describe Violet. And of course, being beautiful doesn’t make you a Mary Sue, and in fact I am not sure I would say Violet is a Mary Sue character after finishing the story. In the first 5 chapters you see Violet adventure, make people fall in love with her, show unrealistic strength for a kid. And yes, Violet is definitely a kid, and her strength is definitely unrealistic. In those chapters Violet felt like an idealistic figure created by the author which they can adventure through. This is further supported by the fact those 5 chapters aren’t really related; it is just Violet adventuring and assisting people. Of course one could argue that Violet is learning how to become a human through those adventures, but I have hard time believing that she actually learned something from those experiences rather than just make people flabbergasted. Her origins, why she has this inhuman strength and beauty is never explained. Well, there was that chapter which could be seen as a way to suggest that Violet is a demigod, but I don’t want to take that as a confirmation…
And while most people would say that those chapters were really well written, I just don’t agree. In my opinion those chapters, all had very little actual story. They were cheap ways to make the readers emotional. But when it is about characters that have had no development, they are just there to serve the author in writing an emotional story, I couldn’t care less for them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike episodic stories, I dislike the ones that are pretentious. And the fact that the only thing Violet doesn’t do in those chapters is to turn gay dudes straight tells a lot about them, I think. I mean come on, she made a misogynist fall in love with her. That is not to say all of those 7 short stories from volume 1 and 2 were bad, some of them did carry a good message, and would perhaps had been more impactful if not for the author making everyone fall in love with Violet, and describe how beautiful she is countless times. The characters in those were also, of course, barely developed. Especially the characters that became a part of the “main cast” in volume 2.
The POV change in the last short story chapter felt very unnecessary. I felt like the author just used it to describe Violet in purple prose once more.
Well, enough about that, chapter 6 is where the actual story starts, and Violet’s past and along with it, her flaws are presented. And if the story had started here and moved on to the other chapters, I probably wouldn’t have had the same issues with it, and Violet would have felt like an actual character rather than a tool for author’s self-insertion. Even in these chapters, Violet’s beauty is mentioned very often. She also displays her unrealistic power. From here on though, I would say the story is more connected, and it is more clear where the author is trying to take the story. And I liked where it was led. Although I will say that I somewhat disliked the last chapter of volume 2. Not the ending, but the whole conflict, or rather “side conflict”. The solution to the problem they were facing almost made me facepalm. But then I remembered, this wasn’t a military action novel after all. Although almost a third of it actually was. As a such novel, Violet Evergarden would fail miserably in my opinion.
I somewhat enjoyed Violet Evergarden’s story as a whole. It was about a “doll” learning how to become a human. That aspect of it, I really did like. And I will give the story a score of 7/10.
I didn’t like how Violet herself was presented by the author in the beginning, but I did come to like her over the course of the story. She felt more than an OP character with no personality by the end of the story. The other most developed character was the “Major”. His actions were understandable; his feelings were portrayed well. Although, I will say that, I am sick and tired of this fucking "grown up men falling in love with their adopted daughter" trope. Move on to something else Japan. This is getting fucking old.
The writing of Violet Evergarden is pretty easy to follow. It is a LIGHT novel in every sense of the word. It doesn’t require one to think much; it gives you all the answers. This was something I liked about Violet Evergarden. I also liked the repetition of the sentences the author used. Well, I liked most of them, as they had something to offer to the story. The others felt like author had a word limit to pass.
The setting of the story felt a bit weird to me. It was surreal in a way. I know this is a “fantasy-like” setting but futuristic technology just didn’t sit well with the imagery the author portrayed through words. The illustrations were pretty good. They were very detailed, although most of them just showed Violet’s face in different situations. But although she was in horrible state in some of them, the artist still drew her in a way that draws out her beauty, which I didn’t like.
As a whole, Violet Evergarden did not meet my expectations, but that is not to say I did not like it. Although I do wonder how bad the other contestants were that Violet Evergarden won the grand prize… But then anybody who knows about Kyoani's LN label would know that it is no accomplishment to get your book published there, rather, it is the exact opposite.
Warning: This review may or may not contain spoilers but I will try to conceal any spoilers as much as I can.
As characters aside from Violet herself changed each chapter, I would like to describe them as major characters that helped Violet in her adventure throughout her lifetime. The reason I have such thought are due to them being the main focus of the story in each chapter instead of Violet and they are being developed more than her. Violet, in the other hand, mostly serve as a person who helped connect between those who love and those who are being loved. As all
of those characters have different personality, I would not really go into details for each of them.
As for Violet, who is the main character in the light novel, I could only described her as a girl who are naive about the world that are new to her and especially about her quest. So it is no question to the reason she was a little bit emotionless (or a person who could not understand her emotions properly even though she could feel them). While her life journey from the past to her present as a 'doll' is more or less like a female version of Tarzan with the addition of her as a military personnel. At first I assume that she was not being developed properly but after having a long thought, I could see that she was being developed indirectly with the help of the major characters. While I have doubt whether Violet was a doll or a human (I do believe she was the latter), I still could not help myself from feeling surprised during the revelation in chapter two.
Meanwhile Major Gilbert (Gil), as far as I could think of, is a male main character who had tried to help Violet throughout her early years. Due to his military profession, he had a hard time to help her to become 'someone' while he tried to free her or to teach her about life. This was being executed properly in my opinion as the situation during Gil's time was not the good time to teach her anything other than military teachings. As a main character there was no doubt that he was the one who Violet love and Violet was the one that he love. I could not describe more about him due to one or more reason that I may mention later on.
I would have to say that while the concept used in Violet Evergarden's story is not something new and had been used, I could not disagree that the novel did succeed in making me feel mesmerized with the story. By concept I am referring to Violet's encounter with different people in every chapter, which had already been used by light novel such as Shinigami no Ballad or anime such as Shigofumi. Since they are more or less the same, I did not have any problem with how they are being executed; the pace of the story, the revelation, the development etc.
With all the praise and positive remarks on my analysis above, someone might feel surprised and questioned as to why I gave an overall five (5) out of ten (10) score for the light novel. The problem in my opinion lies on the revelation on chapter six or seven that affected the overall ending of the story. As you can see when it comes to romance, I have a strict (or more accurately fussy) demand(s).
I was taken aback when I found out that miracle happened in the said chapter. This had affected my interest to read the novel which led me to just skim through the rest of the chapters until the end. I do understand that readers would like to see such miracle happen in the story, and I do understand the author or the publisher would not take a risk to do something different. But every time I encounter such miracle I could see that I failed to differentiate between Violet Evergarden and story like The Beauty and The Beast for example. Even though happily-ever-after ending filled other readers need and satisfaction, I was hoping for a bittersweet ending instead. That way it will make Violet Evergarden more memorable and different from the rest of the stories ever presented.
So I was disappointed with such cliche plot and ending which had made me dislike Violet Evergarden LN. Honestly I would like to give an overall score of four (4) or lower but due to the fact I like the first five chapters, I'm willing to give my score as stated earlier. But by any means it will not go above five (5). my apology goes to Violet Evergarden light novel, its author and fans.