Posted in Comic Books, Reviews

Review: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne



Title: The Scarlet Letter

Series: Manga Classics

Authors: Nathaniel Hawthorne, SunNeko Lee, Crystal S Chan, Stacy King

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s powerful tale of forbidden love, shame and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. When Hester Prynne bears an illegitimate child she is introduced to the ugliness, complexity, and ultimately the strength of the human spirit. Though set in a Puritan community during the Colonial American period, the moral dilemmas of personal responsibility and consuming emotions of guilt, anger, loyalty and revenge are timeless.

This manga retelling of Hawthorn’s classic American novel is faithfully adapted by Crystal S. Chan and features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into this tragic saga of Puritan America.

Rating: 4/5

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

I was very curious about how this manga will turn out, because I read the original novel and it doesn’t seem easy to adapt. In my review of the novel, I complained about the unnecessary details and one of the things that make this adaptation more approachable than the original is that it leaves those out. The dialogue is much easier to understand too, and the manga overall never gets as heavy as the novel.

Like most mangas, the illustrations are black-and-white, with the exception of the scarlet ‘A’ that Hester wears. I think that’s a great idea because it’s impossible to forget what happened to Hester and, in a way, it puts you in the position of people around her, who always noticed that red ‘A’ more than anything else in Hester’s life. The illustrations are beautiful, especially little Pearl who is both adorable and a little scary.

I always say that nothing can take the place of the original book and that’s true in this case too, but if you want a good introduction to the story of The Scarlet Letter, this manga is a great choice.


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