My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When I heard we were doing catch-up week, I thought why not and picked the most irrelevant book I could find…
So I got this ARC of Pride and Prejudice, everybody’s favourite book, and it was less thrilling than I expected. Nevertheless, this is quite a solid adaptation and I would recommend both to first time readers and veteran fans.
Firstly, I was excited at the prospect of it being a manga, and it does retain a lot of the elements including the right-to-left panels, chibi forms for humour and luminescent blushes.
Unfortunately, not all of these things translate well in a novel set in Regency England and I found the effect a bit jarring occasionally. Imagine Darcy doing that kind of blush, for example. It’s all well and good in theory, but in practice it looks quite silly and out of place. Blushes on guys are very hard to pull off convincingly even for experienced manga artists (Shimaki Ako does a brillant job, if you’re wondering.)
In that vein, most of my complaints stem from the artwork. The graphics are, to risk sounding snobby, so old Harlequin manga style – you know, those ones with dramatic tears and oddly proportioned men.
It doesn’t appeal to me at all, especially since Elizabeth’s hair grows and shortens randomly. Darcy, who is the raison d’etre, has a head like a cello on a diet, to put it mildly. I do like his tail coats, which are so long and dramatic they remind me of Batman’s cape. Sadly, Mrs. Bennett’s delightfully satircali hypocrisy has been reduced to hamster-like antics.
To the book’s credit, it does put some light-heartedness into P&P in a medium where it is difficult to convey the convoluted verbal sarcasm of the novel. It is rather adorable, especially in its depiction of the sisters’ relationship. The other plus point is its general faithfulness to the original, which even movies haven’t managed to do. Events are sometimes compressed, but not altered considerably.
So, with more modern art and better research (Darcy is wearing a tricorn hat at the wedding!) I think it would be a stellar graphic novel. At the moment, it is good starting point for first time readers of the classic and a rather cute visualisation for long-time fans.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me review this!