Review: The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel by Paulo Coelho

December 15, 2010 graphic novel, Literary Fiction, Review 4


  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (November 23, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0062024329
  • Source: Publisher
  • Santiago is a Spanish shepherd boy who sells his herd of sheep to pursue a dream of discovering treasure in the pyramids of Egypt. He leaves everything he knows behind in order to pursue his dream.  He meets several people on his trek including a gypsy, a king, & an alchemist.  Each give him a “message” to aid him in his journey. Throughout this journey, Santiago comes across various obstacles.  Just when he’s about to give up and his spirit wanes, the messages of these individuals gives him the strength to strive forward. He eventually learns that the treasure he is seeking isn’t in a pyramid in Egypt, but within his own soul.

    I read the original version of The Alchemist several years ago and it remains one of my most treasured books.  The message it relays is simple and on the surface; the reader doesn’t have to delve far into the text to find it.

    When I learned a graphic novel of The Alchemist was to be released, I can’t deny that I was skeptical.  How would it be possible to transfer the message from a novel to a graphic format? 

    Daniel Sampere is the artist who rendered the graphic novel.  He quite literally brought the characters to life in his drawings. I was concerned that they would be misrepresented in this format, but he has picked up the very essence of the characters.

    My only complaint about the illustrations is how women are portrayed as having large busts and tiny waists.  While this is a common look of women in graphic novels, I think it took away from the feel & the character of the book itself. 

     I don’t believe the graphic novel should be read in place of the original.  While it does portray and represent the novel accurately, I believe there are key parts that the reader must invision and put to image on their own.

    Ultimately, I highly recommend the graphic novel version to anyone who has read the original novel.  Reading it reawakened my love of the novel and added a new perspective.

    Thank you to TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to review this book.  Please be sure to check out the other stops on this tour:

    Thursday, December 16th: In the Next Room

    Monday, December 20th: Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity

    Wednesday, December 22nd: nomadreader

    Thursday, December 23rd: she reads and reads

    Learn more about Paulo Coelho by connecting with him:

    4 Responses to “Review: The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel by Paulo Coelho”

    1. Rebecca Rasmussen

      That big bust, small waist thing is a huge complaint for me in graphic novels — hmm…will it deter me is the question? :)

    2. Jemima Valentino
      Twitter: jemimavalention

      I also love the Alchemist and alongside 2 or 3 others by Coelho, it belongs in my top 10 all time favourites. However, I’m not sure I would like the graphic novel. I certainly have the same reservations – does it really capture the meaning behind the novel? That being said, I guess I will have to go in search of it and find out….

      Great post.

    3. Trish
      Twitter: TriniCapini

      I think I might be the lone ranger on this tour who hasn’t read the original and I’m actually OK with that! 😉 Reading the graphic novel satisfied my curiosity completely. And I absolutely agree about the women and those itty bitty waists.