Tuesday 30 January 2024

Book Review: Seoul Before Sunrise by Samir Dahmani (Contemporary Manga)

Title: Seoul Before Sunrise
Author: Samir Dahmani
Publisher: Life Drawn
Publication Date: 21 May 2024
Pages: 144
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Contemporary Manga
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Haunted by a lost friendship, Seong-Ji (re)discovers herself during nocturnal exploration of a dreamlike Seoul.

Longtime friends Seong-ji and Ji-won are excited to begin university in Seoul, swearing to stay close in the big city, but from the moment they arrive, they begin to drift apart.

Her focus split between her rigorous accounting program and her overnight job at a grocery store, Seong-ji tries to make peace with the loss. It’s during her overnight shifts that she encounters an enigmatic young woman who spends her nights entering the empty homes of other people to paint and photograph these places. Now, the normally rational Seong-ji finds herself swept up in a dreamlike otherworld, made up of freedom and creativity. As she explores these quiet places, she uncovers not only an intimate portrait of strangers, but perhaps even herself.

But as the nocturnal walks reveal the possibilities of the future, they also force her to relive the pain of her lost friendship with Ji-won…


Seoul Before Sunrise is a quick (20-30 min) read, but it still has a lot of depth. The story considers themes such as friendship, love, and growing apart, as well as discovering yourself on the cusp of adulthood. Towards the middle of the story I wondered where things were going, but by the end all before clear, even if that ending was a little bit bittersweet. The art style was engaging and pleasing throughout. I really liked the atmosphere captured in each image. Overall, I am giving this book four stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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