Title: Manga Classics: Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Stacy King, Crystal Chan, and SunNeko Lee
Release Date: March 10
Publisher: Udon Entertainment Publishing
Source: Diamond Books Distributors on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check out this book on Goodreads.
A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter.
Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tragic saga of Puritan America. (Source: NetGalley)
Having read Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice and loving it I was excited to see more from the series available for review. I haven’t actually read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, but I thought it would make reviewing this more interesting, taking the perspective of someone who is new to the book and seeing how well it translates into manga format. I don’t know that this adaptation was anywhere near as successful as the previous books in the series. I wasn’t really able to get a full understanding of the story or characters from this adaptation.
I can’t speak to how well the plot was kept in tact, but I can say I had some trouble with it. I don’t know that I really understood a lot of what was going on. I got the backstory and the initial setup of what was going on with Hester, but at some point things just got a bit fuddled and confusing. I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, especially with Pearl who is the most confusing character in the book by far. I got the basics but I just felt like something had been lost along the way that would have made sense in the original text.
I found the characters a little confusing as well. I think I understood Hester well enough, and her development was well done and understandable. I think the Minister and Hester’s husband were somewhat well developed but I found the representation of their inner demons I little hard to believe or understand. I didn’t think the development or character building of any of the characters aside from Hester was really that great, and I found their motivations and actions a little hard to understand. Once again Pearl was the worst for this.
The art was beautiful in this adaptation, as in the last, but something about it just seemed out of place. I think the style seemed out of place in a story about puritans. There was something too grand, luxurious, and beautiful about the illustrations which didn’t translate well when talking about people who abhorred any of this grand style in their daily life. I think for the nature shots it worked well, and perhaps for Pearl who is supposed to be this unusual thing. However, to make the characters so grand looking seemed very out of place. I wasn’t a fan of the art because of this.
Overall I think it was a decent adaptation, but certainly not the best work in the collection of manga adaptations. The plot was confusing, the characters underdeveloped, and the art somewhat out of place. It’s certainly worth a read, but I’d recommend Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice over this.
Have you read Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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