Monday, January 26, 2015

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter

Hawthorne, N. and King, S. (2015). Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada: Udon Entertainment.

YA Literature / Classic / Manga

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars

"Was it simply that her scarlet letter sat bold upon her breast, while the sins of others were hidden in their own hearts?"

This illustrated retelling of The Scarlet Letter was very well done and will be appealing to reluctant readers and others who want to know the story without reading the novel. I can see it actually encouraging someone to read the original after finishing this manga version.  

The story is framed nicely with the addition of the 19th century discovery of the 17th century parchments which tell Hester Prynne's story.  SunNeko Lee's drawings are rich in expression and imagery -- like overlaying pages with what look like shards of glass when Hester is remembering her past -- and the drawings flow very naturally even for someone with little to no experience reading manga. It was greatly appreciated that a short, easy to follow manga tutorial was placed at the start of the book.

There were a couple of typos and minor edits needed, which I am assuming will be corrected in the final version, but overall, this was a fantastic alternative to the original novel, which stays true to Nathaniel Hawthorne's messages on hypocrisy, sin, guilt, and judgment.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an eBook proof copy of this book in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give. 

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