Emma by Jane Austen and Stacy King, Illustrated by Po Tse #SweetDelight

Emma by Jane Austen and Stacy King, Illustrated by Po Tse #SweetDelightEmma by Jane Austen, Po Tse, Stacy King

Genres: Graphic Novel, Historical Romance
on June 25, 2015
Pages: 308
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-stars  

I just had the opportunity to read the delightful Pride & Prejudice rendition for the Manga Classics series so I eagerly snatched this one up to read Jane Austen’s Emma turned into a graphic novel. While I enjoyed many of the same aspects of this one that I did in P&P, I didn’t love it. More on that in a minute.

The story follows the same path as the original with the same characters as it should. Emma is a young lady from a good family who happens to be one of the two leading families in the neighborhood. She is lovely and has never felt want, but while she triumphs in the thought that it was her stellar matchmaking skills that brought her gentle lady companion and a wealthy businessman together, she now feels lonely and needing occupation.

Emma decides that since her first go at matchmaking went so well that she’ll give it another go much to her friend and neighbor, Mr. Knightley’s chagrin. He tells her not to meddle and he is particularly concerned when she meddles with a young, naive girl boarding at the nearby Goddard school. Harriet is a sweet girl, but she has no claims to family or good breeding. Emma elevates her to the status of Miss Emma Woodhouse’s particular friend and then sets about bringing Harriet and the reverend, Mr. Elton, together.

Added to her machinations on Harriet’s behalf, Emma is further unsettled by the arrival in the village of an accomplished young woman that Emma sets up as her rival, Miss Jane Fairfax. And then there is the flirty and friendly Frank Churchill. All the while, Mr. Knightley frowns on many of Emma’s choices and way of looking at things. Emma learns when it is too late that she was so busy about other’s business that she might have missed her own shot at happiness.

This was a delightful read in many ways. I enjoyed the graphics particularly the expressiveness of the characters. I felt they depicted the characters well. I also enjoyed that much of the original novel is encapsulated so well that I had no trouble recognizing the story. There was good dialogue and mental monologues that kept me interested and involved. One thing that really stood out as a nice addition was that certain secondary characters were brought out more to me. I liked how Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax seemed to have a side story going.

Now the part that fell short for me was Emma, herself, or at least the way I felt Emma was depicted. I never really got this from reading the original, but in this one, she came across as a class-conscious snob and self-absorbed. She notices nothing of real importance and even argues with everyone who contradicts her or tries to point out to her what she is missing. I’ll grant you this; she had a huge growth arc in the story and I was glad to finally see in the end that she realized all her mess-ups. But where the novel portrays her as someone trying to be good and kind and going about it wrong, this one didn’t give that vibe. It could just be me and others won’t get that impression.

Regardless, it is worth the read and I love the added dimension that a graphic novel can bring to a story. Those who wish for a re-acquaintance with the classics or a first introduction might find this a nice option.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • RO

    I really like the cover of this book and the idea of it sounds pretty unique. A snobby heroine just won’t do Super Sophia, (lol) and somehow seems out of place. Your review is informative and right on point! Happy Sunday to you! Hugs…

    • LOL! Nope, snobby heroines just will not do, Ro.

  • I am really enjoying your reviews on Manga’s Sophia and it just think its awesome that Jane Austen type stories are being reflected in them. I think it another great way to engage readers to that era of stories 😀

    • I thought the same thing, Sharonda. I think I could get the younger crowd to read classics if I could put these in their hands.

      • Very true because a lot of them dig Manga

  • This would be amazing in manga form indeed! I love manga art, curious to see what they look like illustrated

    • They are typical manga style and the faces are very expressive. The clothes and settings are detailed enough to give the historical backdrop, but still more general in nature. I liked it. 🙂

  • Lindy Gomez

    The Emma Mana sounds delightful overall. I like the idea of the Manga illustrations, excellent dialogue, and expressive characters. To bad Emma’s character fell a little short and wasn’t depicted as the original classic. Great Review 🙂

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

    • I think folks will find these a fun alternative when they don’t have time to grab the actual classics.