Monday, May 19, 2014

William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back (William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy)

Title:  William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back (William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy)
Author:  Ian Doescher
Publication Information:  Quirk Books. 2014. 176 pages.
ISBN:  1594747156 / 978-1594747151

Book Source:  I read this book based on how much I enjoyed William Shakespeare's Star Wars, the first book in this series.

Favorite Quote:
"But truly, what man doth not wear a mask?
For all of are mask├ęd in some way - 
Some choose sharp cruelty as their outward face,
Some put themselves behind a king's facade,
Some hide behind the mask of bravery,
Some put on the disguise of arrogance.
But underneath our masks, are we not one?
Do not all wish for love, and joy, and peace?
And whether rebel or Imperial,
Do not our hearts all beat in time to make the pounding rhythm of the galaxy?
So while Darth Vader's mask keeps him alive,
And sits upon his face for all to see,
'Tis possible he is more honest than a man who wears no mask, but hides his self."

This book is the second in the series to rewrite the story of the Star Wars original trilogy in Shakespearean English. The first, William Shakespeare's Star Wars, was a delightful book. This one is almost as good.

If Star Wars is not for you or you are not familiar with it, then this is not the book for you. If, however, you are a Star Wars fan, then this is a fun addition to the collection. The book stays true to the story, which I really appreciate as a Star Wars fan.

This book, like the first, is one I can happily share with my children - even the somewhat grown up ones. Having all seen the movies several times and studied Shakespeare, we each find things to enjoy about the book and to have a lively discussion.

Ian Doescher's website provides a study guide to accompany the book which explains iambic pentameter and the use of Shakespeare's plays in creating this story.

In fact, the online resources for this book include a study guide designed for high school or college classes. The study guide outlines the way in which this book references or uses dialogue from Shakespearean plays such as Henry V, Hamlet, and Macbeth.

The end of the book had a note by the author on some of his challenges in converting the story and dialogue into Shakespearean English. For example, how should Yoda speak in that time period? How should the developing relationship between Han Solo and Leia be expressed? The author also presents the creative solutions he came up. Reading that at the end made me want to re-read the book to better appreciate the writing. I would recommend reading that first even though it is at the end.

This book does not include as many asides as the first ones. The asides, especially those from R2-D2 made the first book very humorous. This one is less so for that reason and also because the story itself gets more serious as things go against the rebellion.

Finally, this book being the second in a series does not have the novelty value that the first one did. It did not surprise me in the way the first one did, but it is still a fun book to read and to share with kids. I look forward to reading the next installment.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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