Les Miserables by Stacy King, Tszmei Lee & Victor Hugo

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The entire manga is an adaptation of Les Misérables written in a bishoujo-style which can be cute and all but the story was depressing. I cried while reading the manga and that was rare for me. If you never read or watch Les Miz, its about the post-revolutionary France around several characters; Fantine, a beautiful young woman who sacrificed everything for her child, Cosette; Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who was released and became a wealthy entrepreneur under a new name although still being hunted by his nemesis, Javert; Marius, an idealist young man who fall in love with Cosette; and Eponine, the daughter of Monsieur and Madame Thénardier who in the past had extorted Fantine and abused their ward Cosette. The story was told through multiple narrative and they all come together in a somewhat bittersweet agony.

A lot of the characters looks like they derive from various anime and manga derivatives so it wasn’t really unique. Younger Cosette looked like Nunnally from Code Geass. Overall, the artwork was clean and for a certainty, my younger sister would love it because she really like historical fiction in manga and this is a manga serial based on various European classics, I’m sure she would be interested with them. I’ve read the first half of Les Mis but they were lengthy, and its refreshing to read the simplified version instead.

I am glad that the writers decided to add more explanation about the political situations surrounding June Rebellion (Paris Uprising of 1982) and took more time taking the details of the suffering and injustice surrounding the characters and there was a lot of deeper issues and various character struggles. It was a fine stand-alone manga but not at the same par as various European-inspired historical fiction manga like Count Cain or Emma.

The ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Broadchurch by Erin Kelly and Chris Chibnall

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Broadchurch is a novelization of the British crime drama starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman about a murder in a picturesque  seaside town of Broadchurch. I am a fan of the show which is why I choose to read the book while waiting for the second season of Broadchurch and the American adaptation ‘Gracepoint’. The entire novel basically summarize the entire first season of Broadchurch which made it quite redundant for me. If you haven’t read or seen the show, you can choose to read or watch either one of them.

The strength of Broadchurch itself dependent on the quality of storytelling, the cast and the cinematographers that made the drama work but I felt the absence of the cast and the visual medium itself made the novel somewhat lacking. The storytelling itself depended on stream of consciousness which  was a style applied successfully by the tv but it was painfully dull in written format. Not to mention, the novel basically strip all of the screenplay dialogues which made all forms of interactions between characters in the novel somewhat predictable and unimpressive.

It was hard enough to be a novelization but the novel itself should have work out the plot and ease out the character nuisance. The characters of Broadchurch was more flesh out in the tv drama but bland in the novelization. It is understandable that the charisma and the non-verbal acting from the casts was helped by the production quality itself but the text itself doesn’t give out much of the the characterization you’d expect. Personally, I think it was due to the writing style which skim through the characters and it made everything unsatisfactory. It would have work out better had the novel maintain the usual crime novel narratives of who-dun-it and foreboding and foreshadowing. One of my grips about “stream of consciousness” was that it made the pace fast but it didn’t know where to stop and look at the big picture. You might end up getting unnecessary details that made the story and the characters became oversimplified. The book could have utilize limited dialogues and more expression and it should focus on concise expositions and clarity. I know that the multiple characters can be too much but somehow it was harder to focus on the story from the book’s narrative because there are too many different characters to keep track on. I watch the entire season of Broadchurch again and I notice that while the multiple character interchange was seamless the novel made the characters somewhat just a passing stick figure name labels.

I understand that it was a complicated drama to adapt into but the novelization shouldn’t be just a mere copy from the script but as another interpretative of the drama. Since it was an eight-part tv series, maybe you should invest in watching the show first before reading the novel.

The ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

The Wave by Todd Strasser

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I’m not certain how true this version of The Third Wave project but one of the major flaw of this book was it is a short novel and the book wasn’t meant to be a nonfictional work (hence, lessened the believability) but rather a retelling of an incident. It could have been a better book if the author hadn’t oversimplify the incident and major focus was on the psychology of the situation. It is an interesting social experiment although very unethical and done in the most shortsighted way but the most important is; The experiment itself is frighteningly successful that it only happen in five days.

I’ve seen the German film version of the book and of course both are different medium of interpretations but there was the 1972 account of The Third Wave by the teacher Ron Jones which does shed through the light of what actually happen and how he started the experiment without further foresight and lost control of the situation when it went out of control. It was more an actual scare than a significant incident but seeing that he was a teacher, I couldn’t find fault in that really. His method wasn’t flawless but he did get something right and rightfully dystopian. 

But I do get that this book was written in a way it could be read by average teenager and tried as it might, there’s not much disparity between this dramatization of 60’s teenage situation and to the modern equivalent – although obviously, without technology and social media. The book still raises a lot of ethical issues and I guess the third person narrative helped in some ways making the story relatable but the book was too short and it could be evened out with before, during and aftermath format with actual interviews or pictures or something that was actually interesting or author’s raising questions and inviting more dialogues or present a case study. I love to see a more recent rewriting of the incident and perhaps journalistic/young adult writing style rather than the focus on for-children writing quality. I wish I could say something like it was written in the 80s and hence it shouldn’t carry modern equivalent of writing young adult books but considering the author’s writing history, I guess something improved between these decades so it wouldn’t be too much to ask for a remastered version of this book because it really could have been better.