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Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: MANGA CLASSICS: EMMA by Stacy King & Po Tse

Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thanks Netgalley!

Type: Manga Classics, Graphic Novel, Jane Austen, Historical Romance, Not-as-good-as-Johnny-Lee-Miller

Release Date: May 12, 2015

About the Book: Just in time for the 200th Anniversary, Manga Classics: Emma brings Jane Austen's classic tale of youthful folly and romantic exuberance to a modern audience with this beautiful, new manga adaptation. The impulsive match-making of Emma Woodhouse delivers both humor and heartache through the gorgeous artwork of manga-ka Po Tse (Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice). - Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing. [Description from Goodreads.com]

My Review: I love Jane Austen. I really like reading manga. This should be a match made in heaven, but honestly, it felt more run of the mill, very middle of the road. I think Emma has to be my least favorite of Austen's novels. I find Emma herself to be very childish sometimes, which gets on my nerves. And I got the same impression while reading the Manga Classics: Emma. But if you think about it, that is a good thing. Why? Because that means this manga adaptation of a classic, well beloved novel appropriately portrays the spirit of the original.

There are several graphic novel interpretations of Austen's work out there, the styles ranging from overly cartoony to very life-like. Manga Classics: Emma is very much in the manga style - including chibi figures in moments of high emotion. While this is something I have come to understand and even appreciate in manga, a friend of mine read it and felt that it made the classic novel feel immature. I appreciated the art throughout this graphic novel. The characters were consistent, the outfits fitting and looked appropriate for the time period. I just wished Mr. Knightley would have looked a little less like a cheap villain - it was the strange goatee that did him in, I think.

Overall, this was a good adaptation. It's hard to review a graphic novel version of a classic without it becoming a strange compare and contrast, so I have done my best. Manga Classics: Emma has done well taking a book full of complex characters and intertwining story-lines and making it not only understandable, but a fast and fun read.

Cover Lovin': This is certainly a very sweet looking cover. And I'm stuck thinking it both does and does not convey the story very well.

Recommendation: This is one of those niche books. Austen-ites (Jane-ites?) would eat it up - anything for a new Austen fix. But it probably won't appeal to anyone that doesn't already like manga, considering manga is incredibly stylized.

Final Rating: THREE out of FIVE (3/5). A good adaptation, but not the best of the Manga Classics by far.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda, Novel Addiction ~!~

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