Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











OthelloFrom Goodreads: Shakespeare’s work features some of the most memorable stories and characters ever created, yet for too many curious readers the combination of ultra-dense dialogue and unfamiliar historical settings make tackling the Bard’s work something between a tedious chore and a confusing mess of bird-bolts and quondam carpet-mongers.

While it’s nearly impossible to replicate or improve on these works, it is (thanks to their timeless nature) possible to make them more accessible to a wider audience.

In this Young Adult retelling of one of William Shakespeare’s most memorable plays, join C.E. Wilson as she breathes new life into Othello, the second book in her series Shakespeare for Everyone Else.

When Archer decides that he’s had enough of Orion and Devony running what he thought was going to be his school he takes desperate measures to ruin everything. Through lies and betrayal, deceit and deception, Archer will stop at nothing to get what he wants, and he doesn’t care whose lives he has to destroy in the process.

Can anyone stop one of William Shakespeare’s most villainous characters in this YA retelling of the epic tragedy of Othello?

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This retelling of Othello makes the bard’s play a bit easier to understand as it’s written in everyday English, but as a young adult novel taking place in a high school setting, well, it’s just not believable.  Neither the situations nor the characters lend themselves to a high school situation that I, personally, find feasible, and the fact that the characters speak in a manner that just isn’t natural made it almost comical in a sense. While in play format, it makes sense for the story to be a little clipped, but in novel format, it just didn’t sit well with me.  While Wilson does a great job staying true to the bards play, the conversations between the characters, and the asides, just did not translate in a manner that made the story believable for me as a reader, and I must say that overall, I personally didn’t really care for it.  Two stars.

2 stars

I received this novel from the author, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Star WarsFrom Goodreads: Inspired by one of the greatest creative minds in the English language-and William Shakespeare-here is an officially licensed retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations–William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

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William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is a read every Shakespeare enthusiast will love!  Likewise, it will make teaching Shakespeare to students that much more interesting.  To take a story like Star Wars, one the masses know, love, and understand, and to transition it into Shakespearean language is ingenious, and I am very excited to work with it in the classroom a bit as we gear up to read Hamlet.

The play begins with a sonnet that I can’t wait to show my students, and Doescher does a great job sticking to the Elizabethan form—it looks and sounds just like Shakespeare! I am highly impressed, and I’m so very glad I stumbled across this book.

Perhaps my favorite part was the humor of R2D2, especially his asides in which he actually speaks in sentences as opposed to beeps!  I’ve always wondered what a transcript of what R2 was saying would look like, and Doescher gives us some hilarious insights.  I also really enjoyed picking out the references to Shakespeare’s great classics throughout the novel.  There is one such scene in which Luke laments killing a starship trooper, and it actually mirror’s Hamlet’s famous “Poor Yorick” monologue quite well.

All in all, this is great fun and I highly suggest lovers (and teachers) of Shakespeare scoop it up. Four Stars.

4 starsThe novel was given to me for free during NCTE 2013.

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