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Manga Review: Manga Classics LES MISÉRABLES

Kristina PinoComment
"The first release in UDON's new Manga Classics line!
Adapted for stage and screen, loved by millions, Victor Hugo's classic novel of love & tragedy during the French Revolution is reborn in this fantastic new manga edition!

The gorgeous art of TseMei Lee brings to life the tragic stories of Jean Valjean, Inspector Javert, and the beautiful Fantine, in this epic adaptation of Les Misérables!"

UDON has on a new line of books that has me super interested called Manga Classics. I had a look at this first release thanks to Netgalley, and I'll probably read the second one (Pride & Prejudice, presented in shoujo art style according to the copy) when I can, too. These books adapt classic novels for a young adult audience and are created with the cooperation of an Asian animation studio called Morpheus.

Rendering this classic story with a manga twist in terms of its pacing and style and illustrations gave it a breath of fresh air. I haven't actually read the book myself, though I've seen two stage adaptations and the most recent film starring Hugh Jackman and others. The manga appears to adapt the book more closely, though, and it gave me so much great backstory and extra tidbits that I didn't pick up before. I got to learn more about the motives or connections of various side-characters that I hadn't been familiar with previously, thanks to the comics format and the ease with which you can drop in characters' inner thoughts.

This presentation is longer than a typical graphic novel, clocking in at around 350 pages to really capture the depth of the original work. I read it in two relaxed sittings and didn't find myself feeling bored or impatient at all - the pacing is quick despite this length, since Victor Hugo's book is quite long in and of itself. Though plenty was obviously cut, they kept or focused on a lot of the key moments people are familiar with from various adaptations while still dropping in parts of the narrative the team felt was important to keep in the story - it's a nice balance.

The artwork is absolutely beautiful, and the designs really captured the characters well (and distinctly). At the end of the book, you can also enjoy a little look at its production with words from the creators, concept art, and mini-comics featuring some of the main characters. 

I loved this book, and if you like the classic story I recommend it for you or as a gift. Manga Classics Les Misérables is slated for release on August 12th and MSRP is listed at $19.99 USD for the paperback and $24.99 for the hardcover edition. Learn more about Manga Classics or keep up with news on future releases at their Facebook Page.