I’m the kind of person that doesn’t really have a favorite author or a favorite book because that status is always changing. That being said, my current flavor of the month is Ian Doescher, an only recently published author, known for his bestselling debut novel, “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope.”
It’s pretty self-explanatory, but essentially the book (and its sequel, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: The Empire Striketh Back, which dropped March 18th) are retellings of the epic and well-loved Star Wars movies, but written in the blank verse style of Shakespeare, iambic pentameter sometimes aside.
Somewhat surprisingly, Star Wars and Shakespeare go together extremely well. The epic narrative style of Shakespeare suits the similarly grandiose story of Star Wars. The opening scrolling text becomes a Shakespearean chorus, R2’s uncanny shrewdness becomes soliloquy…and let’s be real, Star Wars shares a lot of the same themes that are prevalent in Shakespeare plays. There’s unlikely love, hubris (when Luke challenges Vader without being fully trained), and though it’s not Shakespeare, there’s something vaguely Oedipal about Luke losing his hand after Vader reveals he is his father.
Anyway, on a more technical note, I’m impressed with how well the lines of the different characters match up with their modern English lines while still maintaining their “Shakespearean authenticity.” Frankly, were I a middle school or high school English teacher, I might consider putting one of these books on the curriculum as a fun end-of-the-year book. The style is approximately Shakespeare’s, and references to Shakespeare’s actual works and tropes abound. It might even be easier for students to understand the verse since they’d probably already be familiar with the story.
All in all, I don’t really have much to criticize about this series. It reaches at times, but I think the sheer fun of the concept more than makes up for it if you’re as much a nerd about Star Wars and Shakespeare as I am.