Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice Adapted by Stacy King

A little while ago, I reviewed the manga version of Les Miserables. And now, I'm reviewing Pride and Prejudice! Since Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books, my expectations for this manga was very high.

Luckily, the book did not disappoint. It's roughly the same length as Les Miserables, which means that compared to Les Miserables, a lot less material was cut out. For that, I'm thankful, because it's the detail in Pride and Prejudice that I love.

At first, I was a bit hesitant about the style of the book (it's very shojo manga-ish) because I had this nagging feeling that these were Japanese characters with wigs on them. I think it's the face. The face looks Japanese to me, but the hair is very foreign. Somehow, I didn't really have this issue with Les Miserables. Actually, compared to Les Miserables, the style of Pride and Prejudice feels much, much girlier.

But, once I got over that, I really enjoyed this book. There are loads of things to love, such as how perfectly Darcy fits the tsundere character. And because I'm very influenced by the movies/tv series, I actually think that Darcy here shows quite a lot of emotion. Or at least, the book itself makes him seem much more emotionless (and he certainly did not blush as much in the movie/tv series).

All in all, I really enjoyed this manga as well. Take a look at the artwork for yourself, and if you like it (and you liked the original book), you should definitely consider getting a copy.

Artwork preview (Click to see the closeups!):

The famous scene

Mrs. Bennet is kira-kira

Bennet girls
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - The Obsidian Dagger by Catherine Webb

It's Tuesday again~ I've been reading a lot recently (yay!) and neglecting my handphone (the laptop I still turn on once a day). It feels relaxing to be a little disconnected from the internet (or rather, my handphone).

Right now, I'm re-reading The Obsidian Dagger by Catherine Webb. I remember really loving the Haratio Lyle series in school, so I'm so excited to be able to re-read it!

My teaser:
"At roughly the same time that Teresa Hatch was practicing good elocution and better manners, Horatio Lyle stood shivering outside a warehouse by the Amber Wharves, where the busy streets were too narrow for even the smallest of carts fo squeeze through. Snow had started to fall, and a cheerful demeanour was not enough to compensate for the grating cold." (Page 140)
What are you teasers this week?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces by Miles J. Unger

One of my favourite types of biographies would be those that center around topics, rather than narrating the chronological history of a person. For example, The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things did this perfectly (click to read my review). So when I saw Michelangelo, A Life in Six Masterpieces, I had to request it.

This biography of Michelangelo takes six of his masterpieces and uses them as the focus for a particular section of Michelangelo's life. The six pieces in question are: The Pieta, David, The Sistine Chapel, The Last Judgement, the tombs he carved for the Medici and the vaults and dome of St. Peter.

Mixed in with the biography are plenty of analysis of the six pieces, using the historical context as a base for extracting meaning. I liked reading the analysis, but I've always been terrible at analysing art, so I have no idea if they're accurate (or even conventional).

Personally, I liked the first few chapters much better than the last few. The first few chapters felt much more closely tied to the work in question, but the last few chapters felt as though they were trying to cram in as much information about Michelangelo's life as possible.

But, I guess I shouldn't complain about that, because Michelangelo's a fascinating guy. This is the first biography of him that I've read, and I've found out so much about him. I knew he was a perfectionist, but I didn't expect him to be this fussy and temperamental (as well as so enthusiastic about editing his own history).

This book is for fans of Michelangelo, and art history students. I found it to be an interesting book, and I learnt a lot from it.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Silver Rings by Samuel Valentino

I saw this book from NetGalley and requested/got approved for it. Unfortunately, I didn't think to download it until after it was archived. Sigh.

Good thing I'm in Singapore and managed to get a copy from the library. Now I'm wondering if I should do a disclaimer at the end.

The Silver Rings follows two beautiful twin sisters, Celia and Alice. After their fairy godmother makes them part, the two of them get into different adventures, reliving various classic fairytales, but with a twist. I think I've read a fairy-tale that involves silver rings and siblings, but I can't quite remember its name. Anyhow, apart from that, the book references The Frog Prince, Puss in Boots, All Kinds of Fur, and a host of other fairy tales.

What I liked about this book, apart from the various ways fairytales were worked into one story, would be the unconventional way in which the characters behave. For example, no matter how awful the wicked stepmother is, Alice and Celia remain cheerful. When Prince Randall first sees Alice, he instantly falls in love with her, but Alice does her best not to marry him. In fact, the courtship of Alice and Randall was one of my favourite episodes as it was really amusing to read.

Although the twin sisters are the titular characters, I found that my favourite character was Rant, the fox. He's a talking fox who has a magic hankerchief that can open up and provide whatever food you want (much like that magic table in "Table-Be-Set, Gold-Donkey, and Cudgel-out-of-the-Sack"). His true talent is to spin any story into an outrages one, and his penchant for grandoise tales makes him my favourite character.

All in all, this was a really enjoyable book. Children will like it because it's funny and humorous, and the adults reading it to them will enjoy it when they catch all the different references to traditional fairy-tales.

Disclaimer: I heard about this book from NetGalley. However, the copy I read was from the Singapore National Library. The review here is my honest opinion.