Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Recommended Reading: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher

17262540Book Description:

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 fearsome 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.

A surprisingly great book! It's not just a bunch of "thous" and cheap jokes -- it really is a Shakespearian Star Wars. It's in full-on iambic pentameter, and Shakespearian style come through in the characters and structure. It works remarkably well. The plot sticks along closely with the movie, but the characters can stop and monologue, bringing something new to the story without changing the plot. It's full of Shakespeare references and Star Wars jokes, but all very gentle, not parodic. For instance, at one point Luke says something like "I couldn't be more invested in this rescue if Leia was my own SISTER!" My favorite part in the whole book is that R2-D2 can talk, but decides (Hamlet-style) to act like he can't.

My one criticism is that I'd actually like to see it diverge more from the movie plot, to make it function more as a play. In a movie, you can have a little two-minute scene with the villains and then go back to the main story. In a play, that many rapid scene changes would be cumbersome and impractical. I didn't affect my enjoyment of the book, but I would've liked to see how things might change to make it more stage-friendly. 

Check your local library for location -- it may be in juvenile, adult fiction, or classics.

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