Graphic Novel Review: The Iliad

The Iliad by Gareth Hinds
The Iliad 
by Gareth Hinds 

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This graphic novel retelling of Homer’s Iliad was not quite what I expected. It’s much too word-heavy for a graphic novel, and I found myself bogged down in the text. Most of the panels have so much text that there is barely room for the artwork. And the artwork itself is nothing special. I didn’t care for the cartoony look, and it just didn’t grab my attention. It looks somewhat amateur, or hastily drawn.

If you are a big fan of the Iliad, you might like this, but I did not enjoy reading it. Usually I love classical literature, and I have read The Iliad before, so I was happy to be revisiting the story of the Trojan War with all the drama. But this book does not deliver drama. It feels stale and static, like the characters are all made of stone.

Disappointed in this one. Continue reading

Manga Review: MacBeth

Manga Classics by Crystal S. Chan
Manga Classics: Macbeth 
by Crystal S. Chan (Adapted by),William ShakespeareJulien Choy (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Despite its popularity, MacBeth has never been one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. Too bloody and gory and gloomy for my taste. But if you like a dismal adventure with plenty of violence and mayhem, MacBeth has plenty of that! And this manga adaptation rings true with the moods and poetry of the original play. I like that the exact dialogue of the play is used in this manga, and the artwork beautifully illustrates all the action and drama. Continue reading

Manga Review: Romeo and Juliet

Manga Classics by Crystal S. Chan
Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet 
by Crystal S. Chan (Adapter)William ShakespeareJulien Choy (Artist)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

With all the original dialogue of the play, this manga adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet bursts with old enchantment and romantic drama. The illustrations flow from one panel to the next in a surge of emotional tension, and the action keeps the wordy dialogue from weighing down the storyline.

This would be a great way to introduce Shakespeare to younger audiences, since the dialogue is easier to understand along with the action of the panels. Continue reading

Manga Review: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Manga Classics by Crystal Chan
Manga Classics: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 
by Crystal Chan (Goodreads Author) (Adapted by)Kuma Chan (Art by)Jeannie Lee (Lettering)Mark Twain (Original novel)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

A wonderful adaptation of Mark Twain’s Adventure of Huckleberry Finn into manga form! I think the authors and illustrators did an excellent job of condensing the story into a small volume without losing the integrity or flavor of the story. I love how the various accents of the characters are preserved, but the dialogue is still clear and easily understood.

The artwork brings a lot of emotion into the story, and firmly connects the reader to the characters. Seeing the expressions on character’s faces as they experience joy, grief, fear, sadness, or relief, made me feel those things too as I was reading!
Continue reading

Recent Reads: Middle Grade, Comics + Manga

 

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Disclaimer: Some of these books were received from the publisher/author via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.
*Review copies are marked with asterisk in the video. Continue reading

Manga Review: Count of Monte Cristo

Manga Classics by Crystal S. Chan
Manga Classics: The Count of Monte Cristo 
by Crystal S. Chan (Story Adaptation)Alexandre DumasNokman Poon (Art by)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Edmond Dantes is betrayed by a coworker who wants his job, a romantic rival who will steal his bride, and a crooked government prosecutor with a dark secret to hide. Thrown into prison for decades, Dantes eventually escapes, becomes fabulously wealthy, and vows revenge on those who ruined his life.

Count of Monte Cristo is one of my top five favorite novels of all time, so I was interested to see how one of my favorite stories would translate into manga form. Although they had to simplify the story considerably, and there are really too many characters for a stand-alone manga, I enjoyed this wonderful adaptation of a classic tale!
Continue reading

Review: Manga Classics: Great Expectations

Manga Classics: Great Expectations
Manga Classics: Great Expectations by Stacy King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve never really liked this story, but reading it as a manga was definitely better! Seeing Pip as a manga character, and being able to read his expressions, brought the story to life for me. I also appreciated that the story is condensed and clear, making it easy to follow what is going on.

The best part is seeing all the characters, both good guys and villains, strongly reflected in the beautiful artwork. Joe has an angelic face, peaceful and kindly in every circumstance. Miss Havisham is old and gaunt and ghastly. And Pip’s face is innocent and wishful. The brilliant thing about the artwork is that their whole character is written in their faces! Continue reading

Review: Manga Classics: Jane Eyre

Manga Classics: Jane Eyre
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre by Stacy King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jane Eyre has always been one of my favorite books, so I had high expectations for this manga adaptation, and I was not disappointed!

Jane is beautifully portrayed, and all the complexity and grace of her character is reflected in her appearance, her facial expressions, and in every bit of dialogue. Simply brilliant! I loved her pretty dresses, and her fierce spirit and sweetness absolutely pours off the page! Continue reading

Review: Manga Classics: The Jungle Book

Manga Classics: The Jungle Book
Manga Classics: The Jungle Book by Crystal S. Chan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I liked how this manga presentation of The Jungle Book actually followed the real stories from the original book, including not just the story of Mowgli, but also Rikki-Tiki-Tavi, The White Seal, Toumai of the Elephants, and others. I wish they would make another one for Jungle Book 2 with even more stories!

The artwork is so beautiful, and really brings the characters to life! I loved seeing the facial expressions of Mowgli and Rikki-Tikki and the others, showing their fierce jungle spirit. The action was easy to follow, since each panel shows what is going on very clearly. Really well put-together and beautiful art! Continue reading