Book Title: The Scarlet Letter
Series: Manga Classics
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne (Adapt. Crystal Chan)
Artist: Sun Neko Lee
Goodreads Link: Click here
Star Rating: – Really good! Recommended.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an un-biased review.
I’m a fan of manga, but I’m very selective as to which manga I collect. I LOVE Fruits Basket and have the whole set, it’s one of my treasures! I also really love Victorian Romance Emma. Of course, manga goes hand in hand with anime, and I have my favorites there as well. However, although I’m familiar with both manga and anime, I’ve never read a manga adaptation of a novel.
I wasn’t sure how I’d like this manga. I’m not overly fond of The Scarlet Letter. I do recognize the quality of the original material, and that it holds an important place in the Literary Canon, but I find the book hard to love. The writing is dense and the language is difficult. While the story itself is compelling, it’s hard to get it down.
This manga version distills the main points of the story and makes it much more palatable, without watering down the themes. As I mentioned, I started the book sure that I wouldn’t like it, but 24 pages in I was hooked.
The artwork is excellent. The characterizations are really good, I particularly liked Hester. She was lovely and bold, and true to descriptions from the book. The expressions were well drawn, her feelings of fear, defiance and tenderness were all well depicted. She is courageous, loving, repentant, but never pitiable. Her strength shines in the way she is depicted through the artwork.
The artist also did a good job of depicting the tension in the story line.
The adaptation of the story line was very well done. I can imagine it would be difficult to condense so much material. There were some excellent little articles at the end of the book where the author talks about how she did just that. I like the little touches added to story and artwork that helped to communicate some of the finer details in the story line. Her hard work shows in the depth of the finished book.
Altogether an excellent adaptation. I will be glad to hand this to my two children when the time comes for them to study the book in school. It’s a good way to ease them into the story in an entertaining way. I recommend it to everyone!