In time so long ago begins our play/ In star-crossed galaxy far, far away… From the very first lines, author Ian Doescher’s careful crafting of language raises Shakespeare’s Star Wars from an act of fandom to a work of art.
Set in beautifully rhythmic iambic pentameter, the movie masterpiece is transformed into a dramatic play.
It seems so natural for the space opera, you almost wonder why you aren’t already quoting lines from the impressive monologues (hmm.. I remember the line about bullseyeing womp rats in a T-16, but the rest of the rousing speech?)
Why is this on our bookshelf?
I’ve always loved Shakespeare and to see it beautifully combined with a story that has had such a major impact on geek culture, the reason it lands on our geeky bookshelves seems obvious. I was dying to get my hands on this one.
Full disclosure– We received this review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Rating (5 stars)
I’m always worried about books that borrow so much from previous storytellers. I mean, Star Wars is so iconic, so well-known, would a re-hashing of the story, even told in a different way, really feel fresh?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Shakespeare’s Star Wars is a new work of art.
I once had to write a single stanza in iambic pentameter and remember it being freakishly hard. Maybe I’m in a better position to appreciate a whole book in iambic pentameter that not only converts dialogue from a movie, references famous Shakespearean works and still sounds natural.
So the story line belongs to George Lucas and the inspiration belongs to Shakespeare. But not only did author Ian Doescher wordsmith his way through New Hope, he also created whole swaths of new dialogue and monologue to make a Star Wars movie match the style of a Shakespearean play.
Even if you’ve always hated Shakespeare, if you are at all familiar with the story, you will enjoy this version that feels like it came straight out of the Elizabethan Era. If you love Shakespeare, then you will appreciate all the nods to the Bard’s work tucked into the science fiction saga.
Either way, it’s a win-win.
Read this book:
Out loud. Or at least, just pieces of it. After all, it is a play!
Don't Read this book:
If you love Star Trek to the point that it has blinded you into despising anything to do with “that other space series.” But hey, maybe someday Wrath of Khan will be wrought in perfect prose.
Once you're done, do this:
Put the release dates for Empire Striketh Back and The Jedi Doth Return on your calendar.