Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: The Infernal Devices Manga #1

CLOCKWORK ANGEL
The Infernal Devices Manga #1
Cassandra Clare
Artwork: HyeKyung Baek
240 pages
Yen Press
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
A manga-adaption to the prequel of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices is the story of Tessa Gray, a sixteen-year-old American girl traveling alone to Victorian London who runs afoul of the city's sordid supernatural underworld. Rescued by the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, Tessa quickly finds herself caught up in an intrigue that may very well destroy her new friends - including the two enigmatic young men, Jem and Will, who have taken her under their wing...

MY THOUGHTS
This review is going to be a small departure from my typical reviews as The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel is my first foray into manga, and the experience was such an intriguingly distinctive one from simply reading black and white text on a page that it seemed necessary to present my thoughts in a slightly different way. First and foremost, it took a bit of time for me to settle into a format where what is drawn is every bit as important and carries as much weight as what is actually written, the expressions on the faces of Will, Jem and Tessa communicating the emotional element of the story and proving the old adage of pictures being worth a thousand words to be in many ways true.

The artwork by Hyekyung Baek is beautiful, the exaggerated size of the eyes often drawing my gaze and holding it captive, my mind churning out possibility after possibility of all that’s being said through their expressiveness that’s not actually written in the dialog box next to them. My one wish for the illustrations is with regard to Will (pictured on the cover), I’d hoped his trademark sarcasm and wit might play out a little more in the features of his face – the lift of a sardonic brow here or a smirk there in the delivery of his infamous one-liners – but to my slight disappointment his face remained rather stoic throughout aside from the aforementioned ocular embellishment.

I had worried going into this graphic novel that it would be difficult to keep track of who was talking given the facial features of the characters themselves are fairly similar across the board – large eyes, small pixie noses, and an abundance of hair on their heads – but I quickly found there to be little issue in this department, each individual easily distinguishable and recognizable throughout. The only confusion for me came during action sequences, many times the telltale sound effects like “thwack”, “swoosh” and “bam” not providing all that much clarity as to what exactly was taking place. Was someone being punched? Is something on fire? Did someone just die? Without any specific descriptions, the fight scenes often left me blinking, struggling to remember the details of the novel itself to help guide me through.

Though I prefer the character depth and intimacy created in the novel to the more superficial relaying of key events in the manga, it was still a joy to read and certainly a new and entertaining way to spend time in an utterly fascinating world. I certainly look forward to continuing with this series, as there’s something mesmerizing about seeing beloved characters presented in another dimension – their illustrated faces as much fun to study as Cassandra Clare’s words are to imagine.

Rating: 4/5


*It should be noted that I have absolutely no basis for comparison with this rating as this is my first manga, so I went with a 4/5 strictly based on entertainment value alone:)

29 comments:

  1. That's cool, a manga Clare. Now this I could read

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    1. Yay! It was fun to see the story presented in a different way:)

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  2. Great review! I am ashamed to say I still have not read any of Cassandra Clare's books, though I know they are great. I have only read one graphic novel, and it was challenging to get used to, but fun. I am making it one of my 2013 goals to begin reading this series.

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    1. YAY!!! I hope you give them a try Ellen, I adore both series:)

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  3. Ooh, going manga! Has Allison been an influence on you? I think it takes a bit to get used to the manga/graphic novel writing style because it's so different from the classic novel style. But I know my teens LOVE 'em. Good that this one entertained you!

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    1. Hahaha I enjoy both Alison and Rummanah's Manga Mondays, but alas, I just gave this one a try because it was pitched to me and I happen to love the Infernal Devices books. I thought it would be fun to try it out, and it was:) I'm not sure manga series in general will be something I seek out, but it was a nice break from standard novels:)

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  4. Hmm. I have never picked up managa before, but... if you did and liked it, I may have no choice but to follow you. ;)

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    1. Just call me the Pied Piper of manga.

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  5. I get that Manga is a beautiful art form and takes so much work, but there's something about I just can't get into. I think because, like you said, you lose the intimacy a novel provides.

    But, I know a lot of people who like Manga and won't read novels, so this is a good alternative to getting them into a series I love. :)

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    1. Having read the novels, it was glaringly apparent of how absent the emotional connection was when the story was presented this way, but it was definitely entertaining to read this almost as a companion to the novels themselves. It highlighted the main events of the story which was great because I'd forgotten so much and now I feel like I'm ready to read book 2 and I won't be lost:)

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  6. I am always over at Rummanaha's blog and reading her Manga feature and I swear I am going to try it but I just haven't gotten around to it. Now this would be an interesting one to check out. Have a wonderful weekend, Jenny!

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  7. I'm so glad you enjoyed your first manga experience so much, Jenny! I've only ever read one manga book and I greatly admired the drawings and appreciated how much time must have gone into them. It's interesting to hear that you were so captivated by the art and that you enjoyed it more for entertainment value.

    Must check this out once I've read the actual book. (Would you recommend reading the actual book first?) Fab review, Jenny <3

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  8. Sounds like fun but fails in the action. I think my only real foray into manga was with Inuyasha. I enjoyed it, but enjoyed the anime better. :) I do want to try these as several bloggers keep recommending manga.

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  9. I've actually never read a manga! Like you, I prefer knowing the in depth story of the actual book. But I always love seeing fanart of my favorite characters, so maybe manga is something I should take a look at. I'm glad you enjoyed your first manga, Jenny! :) This sounds great, though I probably would want to see more of Will's sarcastic/smirk-y side as well.

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  10. I'm more likely to pick novels up too compared to manga/graphic novels, but when it has to be done e.g Fever Moon because of a certain Mr. Barrons then it has to be done ;) I'm glad you still had fin with this Jenny, even though it's not normally your turn to kind of book!

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  11. I have tried to read a manga in the past and it just wasn't my thing. I'm glad you were able to enjoy this though! I do have to say that I'm drawn to the illustrations, but story wise I feel like I'm working for my story, it wasn't as easy for me to enjoy I guess.

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  12. I am not a manga gurl, but I am quite interested in reading this one.
    I like certain comics. I bet I would appreciate manga too.
    I lived across from a comic store and I was over there daily for something to do and it was closer than the library..lolz..
    There were some awesome stories I collected (lost ALL of them in a move. so mad)
    Thanks for this :)

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  13. Yes I think it has been updated also, its a great way to write blog posts and it makes it much easier to write posts now and change the look of the fonts.
    Septorinoplasti

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  14. I just finished reading Clockwork Angel a month ago and, unexpectedly, I really liked it, so I'd be curious to read this as well. I bet the fight scenes were a bit confusing - I don't have much experience with manga, but I can totally picture that.
    Thanks for the review, Jenny.

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  15. Love your review. I just put the book on hold at my local library. I love the cover. ;) I really enjoy Manga so when I heard about this one I was super excited.

    - Beckie
    http://www.bittersweet-enchantment.com/

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  16. My sister adores reading manga. I've tried reading one, but I was so confused because you have to read it from right to left (or something like that).
    Anyways, I'm really glad that you're first foray into manga was a positive experience. I love the drawings and like you mentioned the enlarged eyes.
    I hope you'll try more mangas in the future! :)
    Lovely review, Jenni! :)

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  17. I have yet to read these books and I've never read a Manga...so...my opinion is worth nothing...lol But it sounds like if nothing else the illustrations would make an interesting companion to the books!

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  18. Wonderful review, Jenny! I have a lot of friends who love and read manga, but I've never been one of those people. Perhaps I should start with this, though, especially since it's a story I already like. Fantastic review, dear! :)

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  19. I should really start to expand my reading tastes and read some magna. I feel so unadventurous! Not a big Cassandra Clare fan but this sounds quite good. :) Wonderful review as always, Jenny. :)

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  20. I haven't actually read the series as I heard there is a love triangle and I'm not a fan of those, but the cover for this manga is so pretty! I really want to pick up a manga at some point the drawings are always so beautiful, and of course like you said it doesn't measure up to reading a book but it's equally as fun!

    Merry Christmas, Jenny! <3

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  21. Woah this is such a cool and different review, Jenny! I never even knew there was a manga version of Clockwork Angel, so thanks for putting this on my radar. :) OMG I LOVE the big, exaggerated eyes that come with Manga!!!! They're so gorgeous and just uh I love them. Living in Asia, manga is everywhere for me so at times it can get a tad annoying but I tolerate it. :P I can understand how you would miss the depth of the original story, I'd probably prefer the book as well, being a wordy person myself, but I love artwork so I might just look for this to see the pictures. :D Great review, Jenny!!!

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  22. I need to try a manga someday so I think a YA book that has been converted into one is a good way to do that. I've also never felt the urge to read any of Clare's series for some reason so this could easily be a way to find out more about her world and characters without actually having to read her novels.

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  23. I've only read a few manga myself, but your description of the characters - "large eyes, small pixie noses, and an abundance of hair on their heads" - is absolutely perfect and apt. The hair is definitely the most distinguishing feature for the characters, but even then it can be difficult. It's too bad that Will's expression didn't really change much throughout the manga - they missed a great opportunity to have him be all snarky like he is in the novels! I think manga does get a bit of getting used to and it gets easier to figure out characters and scenes the more you read them. Maybe your next experience will go a bit smoother!

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  24. My son adores Manga..so i will share your delightful review with him!

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