Frankenstein – Mary Shelley, adapted by M. Chandler, illustrated by Linus Liu

    Frankenstein (Manga Classics) – Mary Shelley, adapted by M. Chandler, illustrated by Linus Liu, Manga Classics, 9781947808164, 2020

Format: Paperback

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3.5

Genre: Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)

What did you like about the book? Frankenstein is a well-known story that has been regularly classified as both horror and a cautionary tale, earning both of those titles thoroughly with a plot that is as intriguing as it is unsettling. Plenty of library goers will be familiar with the story, even if they never had to read it in high school, making this a fantastic addition to the Manga Classics library.

Liu’s illustrations accompany Chandler’s adapted story and text with deft line work and panels full of emotion. The art quickly establishes changes in scenery with sweeping landscapes and just as easily depicts the quick changes in emotions for the large cast of characters. This latter skill is well matched to the story as Frankenstein’s descent into madness (or drive to atone for his actions, depending on how you perceive his character) and the creature’s desire for love are key themes. Just as in the original, the manga has multiple narrators and this is done by altering the shape and color of the text boxes to assist readers in remembering who is telling their story at that point.  The abridged text, which contains Shelley’s original words, is thus very easy to follow.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Chandler’s selection of elements and pivotal plot points is fairly well done but some scenes feel repetitive as five years of events from the original are pushed into a smaller page count. Most notably is Victor’s reactions to the creature’s presence; he is immobilized with grief or madness a total of four times, which begins to feel excessive in a graphic novel a little over 300 pages. Readers will be able to quickly move past these redundancies but they may irk some.

To whom would you recommend this book? This is a solid read for fans of the original or students attempting to slog their way through an assignment.

Who should buy this book? A recommended purchase where Manga Classics are already popular. If you’re just beginning your collection of the series, Dracula is a much stronger first pick.

Where would you shelve it ? YA Graphic Novels

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA

Date of reviewDecember 16, 2020      

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