Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter (Review)

 The Scarlet Letter

Title: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter

Published by : Udon Entertainment

Publication date: March 31st 2015

Stacy King ( Author) (English Dialogue Adaptation), SunNeko Lee (Illustrator), Crystal S. Chan (Story Adaptation), W.T. Francis (Lettering), Nathaniel Hawthorne (Original Story)

Source: Received copy from Udon Entertainment through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

 

This was the first manga I’ve read and I LOVED it! It was an adaptation of The Scarlet Letter from a series of Manga adaptations of classics including an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice which I really want to read!

From the illustrations to the dialogue to the small details that are hidden within the art you only notice after they are outlined at the end of the copy I received I enjoyed reading this so much and it has really sparked an interest in manga for me. I have never read the original classic, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne so I didn’t really know about the issues it dealt with until after reading the manga. It’s also quite a dense story with a lot of emotional scenes and engaging characters and I think the illustrations really helped enhance this experience! There were some scenes without even any dialogue and they still managed to make me feel some type of way. The way this manga was structured, the dialogue and the narration made it incredibly easy to follow the story and I genuinely think that this adaptation has fully encompassed the original classic even though I haven’t even read it yet!

The way they went about this adaptation was so simple yet if you dug a little deeper you would explore the complexity of each of these characters and you would find a lot of little details that under any other circumstances you wouldn’t pay much attention to. Within the short span of this adaptation you could see the development of each of our characters and also the development of the relationships. Again I haven’t read the original classic but I found that the dialogue was powerful, engaging and I honestly couldn’t put this down once I started reading it!

If you’ve never read manga, or you’ve read The Scarlet Letter and would be interested in seeing a strong adaptation of the story I HIGHLY recommend you check this out! I CANNOT wait to read the Pride and Prejudice adaption!!!!

 

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

So after reading Pride and Prejudice I thought it was about time I tried to read more classics, because honestly the last time I read classics was when I had to do it for school… This one was personally recommended to me by a friend and all she had to say was that it was a mysterious novel to get me interested! Going into this book I didn’t read the synopsis and the edition my friend gave me had no blurb so I literally went in blind, except from knowing that there was a plot twist that I couldn’t prepare myself for…

First of all I’d like to start by saying that this felt like an oddly intimate book, I don’t know whether it’s because we follow the main character throughout everything, while the narrative is incredibly detailed about every single thing she does! But I honestly felt like I’m creeping through the neighbour’s window and listening to their conversations. Is this just me? If you’ve read the book did you have a similar experience?

For me this is definitely one of the books that I appreciate more after I’ve read it because here’s the thing, I am very impatient. If there isn’t something happening within the first 10 pages I kind of slow down. It might be because I have literally read hundreds of crime thrillers and I love content that is action-packed so that’s what I am used to. However at the beginning our heroine is recalling a dream of her visiting Manderely, and it’s a very articulate description that engages the readers’ senses! BUT I am saying this after I have read the entire book and I reread the first 10 pages. The first time around I just had too many questions within the first page to really understand and immerse myself.

Also I usually don’t annotate books, I just read for the fun of it but whilst reading Rebecca I really wanted to fully annotate it, I just noticed a lot of different tools used by Daphne Du Maurier  and I wanted to highlight them. It’s a brilliant book, every aspect of the book brings something different to the plot, from the characters, to the setting. It’s just amazing to see how at the end they all intertwine!

As readers when we’re told there’s going to be a plot twist I think we all try and guess what it might be from the beginning, I know I definitely do! But this… I am honestly so scared to mention the plot twist becomes I don’t want to ruin the book! This was a definite 9/10 for me because it was such a well-rounded book I feel like you couldn’t possibly get everything the first time you read it, definitely a reread for me…

Pride & Prejudice: My thoughts…

This is not review because I feel like I am literally the last person on earth to read this classic! Instead I thought I’d share my expectations because prior to reading the book I’d heard so much about it, and also include my thoughts! (There may be some spoilers ahead, so if you still haven’t read it yet, wait you haven’t read it yet? I’m not alone!)

My expectations:

  • Let me start by saying that I did not expect to find the dialect an issue. I’ve heard so much about the book but not once that it’s written in old English so I had no ideaaaaa!
  • I had the general idea that it was a romance novel because I knew of a love story involving the famous Mr Darcy. (The amount of memes of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy I have seen on instagram is ridiculous!)
  • Mr Darcy at the beginning, I was so confused, am I reading the right book? He’d been described as such a gentleman and girls all around the world are STILL swooning over him, within the first 10 pages I’m like huuuuuh? This guy is an idiot!

My thoughts:

  • The main barrier for me at the beginning was the fact that it was written in old English. I honestly didn’t expect this to have such an impact at the pace in which I was reading. For example the age twenty-one is actually one and twenty, which for the first 100 pages I was like, what is this witchcraft? Having said that though, I didn’t expect to adjust to it as quickly as I did, literally from one-sitting to the next I felt like it was much easier to read quicker than before. Also I think that it was a barrier because I consider myself quite a fast reader, so I tried to read it at the same pace I usually do and I was just a bit frustrated when it just wasn’t happening.
  • Mr Darcy is an arsewipe until almost over halfway through the book. The confusion I was going through…I saw that the storyline was progressing, but from our viewpoint he’s still a pompous prick.
  • For a romance novel it’s got a lot going on, I don’t mean it’s an action packed thriller, but she adds minor events that help you understand the characters more e.g. Mr Collins’ proposal to Elizabeth Bennet. Jane Austen has a way of slowly getting the reader acquainted to the setting, characters and relationships that you could read it 1000 years in the future but still be able to immerse yourself in her novel. It also has a very authentic feel to it, the emotions and dialogue feel very real even if the reader may never experience these situations in their lifetime. It may be down to the main character Elizabeth Bennet who’s very blunt and straightforward so we tend to connect with her more!
  • I really loved that it touched on some serious topics that were common at the time period, e.g. every family strived for the right marriage with a financial/status gain and a girls’ reputation is all she has! It also allowed us to explore a toxic society where idle gossip was enough for the whole village to condemn an individual. I mention this because I am someone who really loves historical fiction, and especially interested in court settings, so I have read/watched about similar ideas (I am by no means an expert, actually didn’t enjoy studying history in school, which doesn’t make sense…) but I’m rarely able to connect with the environment and the characters as I did in this novel.

After reading this I’m really interested in reading more of Jane Austens work , though I’ve heard it doesn’t get better than Pride and Prejudice… Hopefully I’ll start reading classics again. What are some of your favourite classics that you would recommend?