Reading Level: All Ages
Genre: Science Fiction
Size: 176 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: July 2nd, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Review copy from Publisher
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review from the Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review. When I saw this book was releasing I really wanted to read it, I love Shakespeare and Star Wars and was eager to see what would happen when the two are put together. The result was very pleasant; I enjoyed the dramatic way Star Wars is done in play form and the wonderful illustrations throughout. I really enjoyed reading this.
This book covers Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in a very Shakespearean format. The book is broken down into Acts and Scenes. Each line is prefaced by who is speaking it (just like in a play). There is a Chorus that covers action scenes too. The whole thing is written in very Shakespeare like language. The book is also interspersed with some wonderful drawings of our heros in their Shakespeare-modified gear.
The only bad part about this book is that I already know how the story goes and ends. So given that, there weren’t a lot of surprises here…but there were some. One of my favorite additions were R2D2’s soliloquies. Sure he may speak in squeaks and beeps when others are on stage with him, but as soon as he is alone then the soliloquies start. R2D2 does elaborate asides on C3PO’s annoying personality and on his own sneaky plans. These are hilarious, add a lot of depth to R2D2, and are just perfect for him.
There are some other additions to the story as well. For example in an aside Obi-Wan debates what and what not to tell Luke about his father. These little asides actually add a lot of humor and thoughtfulness to the story. I thought they actually even improved the story some and made it more complex and interesting.
The language is very Shakespearean, but I still found it easy to read. I absolutely love reading Shakespeare and love the way it sounds. As with all Shakespeare it is best if read out loud, or at least out loud in your head. The banter between Han Solo and Princess Leia in this Shakespearean style is especially amusing. The only thing I would caution is that if you have historically really disliked or had trouble reading Shakespeare then you may not enjoy reading this.
The illustrations throughout added a lot to the story too. Some of them are pretty funny, for example Jabba the Hut in an Elizabethan Collar…or the picture on the back of the book where Vader realizes the Death Star has been blown up. I enjoyed the etch-like quality to them and thought they matched the tone of the story well.
Overall I approached this genre mish-mash with skepticism and a bit of tentative excitement and ended up very pleasantly surprised. I loved the way this was put together and thought it was incredibly well done. Doescher does an excellent job of blending the drama and wonder of Star Wars with the dramatic qualities of a good Shakespearean play. In fact Star Wars kind of lends itself to this type of reinvention. The additions Doescher have made (such as R2D2’s asides) have added a lot of depth and interest to the story as well. Highly recommended to Star Wars fans…and especially Star Wars fans who love Shakespeare.
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