Great Expectations (Manga Classics)

Great Expectations (Manga Classics) - Crystal Chan, Charles Dickens, Nokman Poon

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

This series of classics turned to manga remains interesting. I read Great Expectations some 9 years ago, so I admit I forgot a lot of details, and it's difficult now for me to properly decide if this adaptation is faithful enough or if it culled through a lot. However, I think that for someone who never read Dickens's original story, this manga version covers the essential parts: Pip's feelings towards his class as he grows up and moves up the ladder, his relationship with the beautiful but cold Estella, and the mystery about his benefactor. For those who have read Dickens, well... it's a good reason to read him again, I say.

The artwork is similar to that of the other adaptations in this series: not by the same artist, but nonetheless quite pleasant to look at. Miss Havisham's dress is plain gorgeous, and her dusty, spiderweb-covered room definitely creepy. Estella's posture and attitude reflect the way she was brought up. Joe isn't like the character in the novel, physically, yet no matter what his design still conveyed that he's a good man. Actually, it's easy to detect who is "nice" and who is "evil" from their features—and while it may be considered a graphic shortcut, it also quickly allows the reader to picture who does (or will do) what, something that would be more difficult to achieve here anyway than in the original prose form.

The pace was rushed in places, though, especially when it comes to how Pip's take on life, people and events changed: it was wrapped up a little bit too fast, and as a result, Pip mostly came off as bratty most of the time (which he is, alright). And as the format demanded the story be restricted to 300 pages, some of its depth was lost along the way; the novel left room for more development, whereas in the manga, most characters felts rather one-dimensional.

Still, I would recommend it if only for the artwork and for its ability to make one want to (re)read Great Expectations itself. 3.5 stars.