Friday, May 16, 2014

Romeo and Hamlet's Excellent Adventure

Published:  February 4th, 2014
Such Sweet Sorrow
By: Jenny Trout
Entangled Teen
ISBN-13:  9781622661589

Never was there a tale of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo...  But true love never dies.  Though they're parted by the veil between the world of mortals and the land of the dead, Romeo believes he can restore Juliet to life, but he'll have to travel to the underworld with a thoroughly infuriating guide.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, may not have inherited his father's crown, but the murdered king left his son a much more important responsibility -- a portal to the Afterjord, where the souls of the dead reside.  When the determined Romeo asks for help traversing the treacherous Afterjord, Hamlet sees an opportunity for adventure, and the chance to avenge his father's death.

In an underworld filled with leviathan monsters, ghoulish shades, fire giants and fierce Valkyrie warriors, Hamlet and Romeo must battle their way through jealousy, despair, and their darkest fears to rescue the fair damsel.  Yet finding Juliet is only the beginning, and the Afterjord doesn't surrender souls without a price.....


     Romeo's poison didn't work quite the way it should have, and now he's alone dealing with the aftermath of Juliet's death.  He enlists Friar Laurence to help him find a witch who can tell him how to bring Juliet back from the dead.  The witch tells Romeo that he has to go North to a kingdom whose King has just been murdered.  By the time he reaches Denmark, Romeo meets Hamlet for the first time in a tavern.  And of course they pretty much hate each other on sight, which almost ends in a duel.  Then Romeo and Hamlet each learn about the other, resulting in them agreeing to work together.  Hamlet will let Romeo into the Afterjord, if he agrees to help along his quest to avenge his father's death, by telling Hamlet what he finds there.  Romeo of course, pulls Hamlet in after him and they are both thrown headfirst into battling mythical creatures and overcoming harsh tests, to prove themselves worthy of re-entering the world.  Can they save Juliet and make their way back aboveground, or will they be trapped in the underworld forever?
     So, the synopsis of this book led me to believe it would be one of two things: a hot mess, or an awesome retelling.  While a little bit of both, it was more of the first by a landslide.  This book just has way too much going on in it!  It not only tries to incorporate Hamlet AND Romeo and Juliet, but tries to bring in multiple types of mythology such as Greek, Norse, Celtic, etc.  I appreciate what she's trying to do, but it gets overwhelming in the scope.  I never really felt like the characters or the plot were fleshed out enough to give a new persepective to some old stories.  While reading, I just had such an odd feeling towards the entire book.  Juliet was nothing like her Shakespearian self and as other readers have pointed out, it was nice to see her be an ass-kicking, sword-wielding warrior girl.  But how exactly (and when) did that happen, when she's spent her whole time alive as a pampered noblewoman and her whole death chained up and unawares?       Romeo spent most of the book as a complete douchebag, with a hair-trigger temper and a serious problem listening to directions.  Hamlet was a jerk too, but at least him being the original emo, loner dude made that somewhat believable.  Also, how in the Hell did Friar Laurence and Romeo get all the way from Italy to Denmark?  Isn't this supposed to be somewhat medieval?  It's not like Romeo could just book a flight to Denmark and how did he find out where he was supposed to go?  The witch didn't even tell him an exact location, just told him to go to a kingdom with a murdered king!  All in all, especially with a cliffhanger ending that hints towards this being a series, this just wasn't the book for me.  Maybe if there had been more focus on building the plot, and less jumping from myth to myth I could have connected to it more.

VERDICT:  2.5/5 Stars

*I received this book from Entangled Teen, on NetGalley.  No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book was published February 4th, 2014.*

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