Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Can You Paint with All the Colors of the Earth?

A review of Kim Dong Hwa's classic manhwa, The Color of Earth.

Can You Paint with All the Colors of the Earth?

BOOK REPORT for The Color of Earth (Color Trilogy Book 1) by Kim Dong Hwa

Cover Story: Pretty Simple
BFF Charm: Sure
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Arty Art: Top Shelf
Bonus Factor: Korea
Relationship Status: Let's Get Together Again

Cover Story: Pretty Simple

This cover is simple and pretty and I really like it. To be honest, I tend to like most graphic novels covers because they have beautiful drawings on them as opposed to scary, photo-shopped monstrosities.

The Deal:

In this graphic novel (or manhwa, which is like the Korean version of manga), young Ehwa is growing up with her widowed mother in rural, old-timey Korea. We begin with Ehwa as a child, who finds herself nave of the world of grown-ups and love. As Ehwa grows older, she beings to mature, experience her first crushes and even watches her mother find love again. This first of three books is a coming of age story about love and sexuality with beautifully illustrated drawings to boot.

BFF Charm: Sure

Ehwa can be shy and innocent, but she's definitely a sweet girl. The way she teases her mother and her friends makes me think she would be fun to be around. I like her, and want to read more about her and she her come into her own in the follow-up novels

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Ehwa harbors two secret crushes in the course of this book. The first is to a monk in training she meets on a bridge. The second is to a handsome student. She is still fairly young, so both are very innocent. Mostly they involve her secretly mooning and coming up with excuses to visit where they live. But I have a feeling one of those two relationships might develop into something more over the course of this three book series.

Arty Art: Top Shelf

Ahhh, here we go! The art! Here is where this graphic novel really shines! The artwork is gorgeous. I'm blown away by all lovely, intricate details, especially in the landscapes, buildings and flowers. Despite the realistic setting and story line, there is an almost magical quality to some of the drawings. This is as beautiful as it gets, ladies and gents. Take a look for yourself.

Bonus Factor: Korea

The time and setting of this story are a bit ambiguous, but it appears to be set sometime around the turn of the twentieth century, decades before there was a "North" or a "South." Korea is on the long list of countries whose history and culture I love learning more about.

Casting Call:

With so many Korean teen dramas to choose from, there are plenty of young Korean actors to cast from.

Kim So-Eun as Ehwa

Relationship Status: Let's Get Together Again

I enjoyed my time enough with this book that I am hoping to drop in on it twice more for its follow-ups. It was fun swapping tales and funny stories with each other about what it was like growing up. But it's the artwork that especially attracted me to this book and that is what is going to keep me coming back.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from First Second/Macmillan. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (dammit!). The Color of Earth is available now.

Megan Crane's photo About the Author: Megan is an unabashed fangirl who is often in a state of panic about her inability to watch, read and play all the things.