Saturday, 27 September 2014

Review: William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher

The title alone was enough to make my reading list come to a grinding halt. I had to have this book. I don't consider myself a big Star Wars fan, but throw William Shakespeare into the mix, and this book becomes a must-read. And no surprise, I loved it! 

Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope is reimagined in the language of the bard, incorporating key passages from some of Shakespeare's most well-known plays including HamletMacbeth, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, As You Like It, Richard III, Julius Caesar, and various sonnets.

Summary: Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime 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.

What I love most about this book is its potential to help young adult readers with Shakespeare. The Shakespearean unit has garnered a reputation as being extremely difficult, so much so that it's become a type of mental block for students; I was the same way! Even the name Shakespeare was intimidating at that age.

But most kids have seen, or at least heard of, Star Wars. They know about the Force. They know Darth Vader. Heck, they may have even heard iconic lines such as "These aren't the droids you're looking for" and "Han shot first!" If kids understand, are amused by, and are interested in the plot, they aren't held back by language. This novel is an extraordinary tool for teachers and parents to help students with the Shakespearean unit by providing a fun and well-written introduction to the language, iambic pentameter, and to several plays and sonnets! 

Star Wars in Shakespearean language is witty, fun, and fantastic. Elizabethan-style drawings of key scenes are an added bonus throughout the text. My favourite moment was a little joke for Star Wars fans after Han shoots Greedo: "[Aside] And whether I shot first, I'll ne'er confess!"

William Shakespeare's Star Wars is a must-have for home and classroom libraries! Ian Doescher has done something extraordinary and his bridging of two timeless properties is certainly something to be celebrated!

This book was published by Quirk Books in July 2013, and is available wherever books are sold. You can check out the hilarious book trailer below!

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