A Wounded Name is a debut novel by Dot Hutchison releasing this September. The book is a contemporary retelling of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. I'm g
A Wounded Name is a debut novel by Dot Hutchison releasing this September. The book is a contemporary retelling of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. I'm going to presume that many of you know the original story so I will not completely rehash it. I prefer instead to talk about Hutchison's brilliant take on it. The book is told in first person from Ophelia's point of view as she shares the events leading up to the tragic end of the Prince of Denmark. It is a title that I expect to hear more about, particularly since the early responses have been so favorable. I'm not even going to tease on this one - I loved it... every word. I thought it was fantastic.
This book... wow... this book.
Ophelia Castellan has always feared that she would succumb to her dead Mother's legacy, a grim future of madness and promiscuity. The fears are not isolated to her alone. Her Father, Polonius, and older brother, Laertes, maintain an ever-watchful vigilance over both Ophelia's virtue and sanity. But they never factored Hamlet Danemark VI, known as Dane to his friends, into the equation.
Dane's father, the head of the illustrious Elsinore Academy, has died suddenly. This sends Elsinore into an uproar, but none are as shattered as Dane. Dane is stricken by this and in his grief he turns to Ophelia for comfort. This single act sets off a series of events that will draw them both to the brink of madness and beyond, particularly when Dane comes to learn that his father's death may have been prevented.
I was immediately drawn into the world that Hutchison was painstakingly recreating. Within a page I knew that I was going to like her style. Her writing is solid, beautiful, and rife with deliciously quotable passages. Her use of metaphor and word-play is perfect. I found myself rereading lines and sharing them aloud to others amazed that this was her first novel. The level of craftsmanship that went into this is unbelievable. It's obvious that this book has been a labour of love for her. It shows with every nuance in characterization, with the attention to thematic elements, and, most importantly, in the wild, runaway chemistry between Ophelia and Dane.
Here Ophelia is gorgeously rendered; the dynamic woman of myth and fantasy that Shakespeare only hinted at. Hutchison gives her so many new levels - she's troubled, she's sneaky, she's loyal and she's kind. She's also devoted and strong and weak and knows her limitations. She is the heart and soul of the play and in this book she finally gets the spotlight that she has deserved for the last four centuries. One feels every emotion as if they were there with her, holding her hand and spurning her into the water yourself. My heart broke repeatedly for her with every foreshadowed allusion to her end and then broke again... and again... and again.
There's a chaotic beauty to her relationship with Dane. Dane himself is a masterpiece of characterization, a wondrous glitch. Dane is the kind of man that a reader sympathizes with despite his obvious and distasteful flaws. Dane is self-absorbed, he's singularly minded, and he's manipulative without realizing that he is. He's the ultimate user and Ophelia is merely the drug that he abuses... and abuses her he does, both mentally and physically. There are some haunting, brutal, painful scenes in this book. And yet the reader forgives him just as Ophelia does, accepts that he has his problems, and let's him get away with his callous whims. It's not that he's a particularly good boyfriend or anything, far from it. He's gets away with murder... until he doesn't. And he drags Ophelia along for the ride, every tragic turn of it.
This is the love story that I love to read; a doomed one. I'm a sucker for torturous beauty and impossibilities when it comes to romantic plot lines. To me there is no better romantic ending than two lovers who don't live happily ever after. This play has always fulfilled that element for me in multiple ways. Hutchison's execution of this tragedy goes beyond my expectations. I gritted my teeth for the entire book but my lips were still smiling. It's such a rough ride but it's worth every heart-wrenching, aching second. I'm not sure who Hutchison was writing this book for but I swear she was directing it at my kind. I'm so in love with her words.
I encourage fans of Laini Taylor, April Lindner, and Tessa Gratton to go immediately and pre-order this book. I think you won't be disappointed. This is a definite favourite of the year. It's going on my shelves and never leaving them.
The Undead Pool is the twelfth book in the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. It is the penultimate book in the series (supposedly). I’ve been reading th The Undead Pool is the twelfth book in the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. It is the penultimate book in the series (supposedly). I’ve been reading these the last few years and I am at the point where I am ready to let the series go. And, with this book, even more so. This was not my favourite of the series. Not even close.
On an otherwise ordinary security outing with Trent, Rachel’s magic misfires. This starts a chain of events of other magical mishaps throughout Cincinnati. Before Rachel knows it there is chaos and mistrust everywhere. A separatist group of Inderlanders known as the Free Vampires start attacking human citizens and things quickly devolve. Tensions run high between the non-magic and the supernatural and the possibility of unrest is high. Can Rachel get tot he bottom of this before all of the Hollows is compromised?
The last few Hollows book have been going downhill for me. There’s a specific character arc that Harrison has been aiming Rachel and company at in this series and it was finally realized in this novel. I have never been a fan of this direction and it’s frustrating to see it occur. This one thing severely hampered my ability to enjoy this novel. Even when there was a brief implication that it might go another way I began to perk up only to have my hopes dashed utterly. I read the whole book in a pique, irritated with Rachel, irritated with myself, and irritated with Harrison in general. I cannot imagine a more frustrating direction for Rachel. As a result I skim read the latter hundred pages of the book.
Beyond the annoying character arc this book drove me a little insane. I wanted to enjoy the Free Vampire plot but I found it boring and predictable. So, overall, this was a very weak book.
That said, there’s only supposed to be one more book and I have to know how Harrison ends it all. So, I will be reading book thirteen and hoping that Harpercollins does not extend this series beyond that. I’ve gotten through that many books I have to know how this one ends. But I am not happy going into it. That much is certain.
Crown of Midnight is the second book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, an eagerly anticipated sequel. I enjoyed this book far more than Crown of Midnight is the second book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, an eagerly anticipated sequel. I enjoyed this book far more than the first one, though it is still far from perfect in my eyes. It is a book that will please Maas’s ardent fans and I know that I will be reading the sequel.
* Spoilers ahead for those who have not read the first book Throne of Glass *
In the last book Celaena triumphed over adversity. She is now the official royal assassin of Adarlan. Though the job has its downfalls she is thoroughly enjoying the life of luxury such a position warrants. Once a prisoner in the salt mines of Endovier Celaena now enjoys a life of fabulous food and new clothes, a wealth of books and the quiet of the palace… until duty forces her hand to kill. Defiant and angry, Celaena abuses the orders of the King to her own end, a direction that could forfeit her life if he became aware of her actions. But things are stirring in the world. Old grudges are reborn and no matter who Celaena has become she cannot turn her back on who, or what, she really is.
Despite my enjoyment I still have mixed feelings about these books. On the one hand I find some of the action sequences tedious and overdone. In this book there is quite a lot of sneaking about and trying to investigate new plot paths. I wasn’t a fan of those passages and grew a little weary in the midst of them. What I do love about these books are the intimate moments between the characters, the threads of humanity that weaves all of them together. I adore the bonding moments between them all. It’s good to see them get some down time considering the story surrounding them.
As I said before Maas’s writing improved significantly just in book one alone. In this book she has definitely solidified her skill. The writing is sharper and the dialogue crisper. I found this to be an infinitely more entertaining read than book one which is clunkier overall. Were it not for the drag I felt during the scenes that were supposed to be high intensity this would have been a wow for me.
As is, it’s a 4 out of 5, but I do look forward to seeing where Maas goes with it. Particularly after the cliffhanger ending.
…Yes, you read that right. Cliffhanger. Which means that fans will be desperately awaiting book three. Which will please both the fandom and the publisher, I am sure. The theories are going to run rampant about the next book. I know I can’t wait to see where it goes next.