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Monday, July 20, 2009

Emma Vol I-V

Emma, Volumes I-V by Kaoru Mori
Reason for Reading: Manga Challenge
Rating: 5/5

Summarize the plot: Emma, a beautiful and intelligent maid in Victorian England falls in love with William, an upper class son of a wealthy businessman. Although they feel passionate about each other, societal forces conspire to keep them apart.

1-sentence review: A very fine romance along the lines of the best of Jane Austen.

Longer review: My first foray into manga was only so-so for me, so I decided to take the recommendation of a heck of a lot of you other bloggers out there and try reading the Emma novels. Man, I'm glad I did. Emma is a beautiful, character driven series. First of all, I just loved Emma. Throughout all the hardships she goes through, she manages to stay kind and sweet. She isn't a modern character transported to a historical setting though. Although she loves William, she feels obligated to leave him when she realizes how different their worlds are.

And while William clashes with his father over his feelings for Emma, I also liked how the books doesn't paint his father as a complete villian. In the fifth volume, we go back to his courtship with his wife, and we get to see the forces that shaped his life, how he had to fight against a clique-ish upper class to try and fit in with his "new money" status and an eccentric wife.

Speaking of his eccentric wife, Aurelia is another of my favorite characters. When she can't fit into high society, her husband sends her to live in the country side, where she can dress as she likes, cut her hair off, and spend all of her time pursuing her passion for gardening. I thought it was interesting to include a character like that who does completely break all of the careful rules of society.

Reading Emma was a treat. I count Pride and Prejudice among my favorite novels, and the visual element in this manga series brought all of the period details to life for me. Where the Victorian novels describe fashions and balls and hair styles, it was extremely enjoyable to just see them and get lost inside Victorian England.

Should I read it? If the words Romance and Victorian England sound good together in a sentence to you, than yes

Other opinions
Alyce, I heart manga, in the spring it is dawn, ex libris, nymeth


Melody said...

Love the artwork! I've got to check out this series!

Alyce said...

I'm glad you liked them! I thought about reviewing them as a group instead of individually, but I've been moving through them slowly and didn't want to forget what I thought of each volume. I hope to read the rest of them soon!

Rhinoa said...

EVERYONE is raving about this series and I still haven't seen it in any shops to have a flick through. Must go into central London at some point and check the main manga stores.

Nymeth said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it too, Kim! My introduction to manga was Death Note, which was completely different but also good. Emma definitely made more of an impression on me, though.

Oh said...

I spent quite some time at B&N looking for this book. And gave up. I know, I know. I should hunt for it on Amazon.
Oh yes! I want to read it. And I would never ever have thought of looking in this "genre" (manga) before.
Thanks for opening yet another door!