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That Way Madness Lies

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Fifteen acclaimed YA writers put their modern spin on William Shakespeare’s celebrated classics!

West Side Story. 10 Things I Hate About You. Kiss Me, Kate. Contemporary audiences have always craved reimaginings of Shakespeare’s most beloved works. Now, some of today’s best writers for teens take on the Bard in these 15 whip-smart and original retellings!

Contributors include Dahlia Adler (reimagining The Merchant of Venice), Kayla Ancrum (The Taming of the Shrew), Lily Anderson (As You Like It), Patrice Caldwell (Hamlet), Melissa Bashardoust (A Winter’s Tale), Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (Much Ado About Nothing), Brittany Cavallaro (Sonnet 147), Joy McCullough (King Lear), Anna-Marie McLemore (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Samantha Mabry (Macbeth), Tochi Onyebuchi (Coriolanus), Mark Oshiro (Twelfth Night), Lindsay Smith (Julius Caesar), Kiersten White (Romeo and Juliet), and Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (The Tempest).

221 pages, Hardcover

First published March 16, 2021

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About the author

Dahlia Adler

18 books2,291 followers
Dahlia Adler is an editor by day, a freelance writer by night, and a writer of Contemporary YA and NA at every spare moment in between. She's the author of the Daylight Falls duology, Just Visiting, the Radleigh University series, Cool for the Summer, Home Field Advantage and the upcoming Going Bicoastal; a contributor to anthologies All Out, The Radical Element, and It's a Whole Spiel; the editor of the anthologies His Hideous Heart, That Way Madness Lies, At Midnight, and, with Jennifer Iacopelli, Out of Our League (2024); and crafter of over five billion tweets as @MissDahlELama. She lives in New York with her family and their overstuffed bookshelves.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 315 reviews
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,226 reviews2,934 followers
March 15, 2021
This anthology contains 15 retellings of Shakespeare's works. What's neat about the collection is it was created by YA authors. So most of the retellings have a modern contemporary feel to them and that's what made it a fun read for me. I'll admit I struggled a bit in school when reading Shakespeare, and I'm glad this book serves a purpose of presenting his works but with a modern spin. Some of the stories in this collection I enjoyed so much, I now want to check out the original version by Shakespeare.

The list of contributors: Dahlia Adler (reimagining The Merchant of Venice), Kayla Ancrum (The Taming of the Shrew), Lily Anderson (As You Like It), Patrice Caldwell (Hamlet), Melissa Bashardoust (A Winter’s Tale), Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (Much Ado About Nothing), Brittany Cavallaro (Sonnet 147), Joy McCullough (King Lear), Anna-Marie McLemore (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Samantha Mabry (Macbeth), Tochi Onyebuchi (Coriolanus), Mark Oshiro (Twelfth Night), Lindsay Smith (Julius Caesar), Kiersten White (Romeo and Juliet), and Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (The Tempest).

Keep in mind I possess the average American's knowledge when it comes to Shakespeare's works. I know the plot of Romeo & Juliet and a few random facts about other plays, but that's about it. So you will have to seek out other reviews if you are looking to find out how each retelling measures up to the original.

My favorites out of the bunch were Severe Weather Warning, Shipwrecked, I Bleed, Elsinore, and We Fail. The entire collection showed off the authors' creativity. I liked how some authors included a note at the end to give more insight into their writing process. (To be honest, I would have loved if all of them had done that as well.) Not every retelling had a traditional story format. There was an oral history format, a play/script, and in the case of the Romeo & Juliet retelling it was comprised of text messages. The stories on average were 20 pages.

Recommend for Shakespeare fans as well as people who enjoy YA fiction.

Thank you to Flatiron Books for sending me an advance copy! All thoughts expressed are my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Rachel.
550 reviews846 followers
February 18, 2021
I only requested this anthology so I could read the Lear story and move on with my life (in my quest to read every Lear retelling I can get my hands on), but what can I say, once I had it on my Kindle I couldn't resist. Even though I don't particularly like YA and didn't have the highest of hopes that these stories would engage with the plays in particularly interesting ways. Still, there were some pleasant surprises here.

That Way Madness Lies is a YA anthology by a handful of noted writers, each retelling a different Shakespeare play. The selection of plays itself is very good--there are the crowd pleasers as well as a couple of unexpected ones. The organization of this anthology bothered me on a couple of levels--first off, why is The Winter's Tale placed in the Late Romances category but not The Tempest? We're also frequently treated to 1-page author's notes after stories, all of the same tenor; "this is why the original play was problematic and here's how I decided to fix it". Which, aside from being jarring and downright annoying, showed such a blatant disregard for Shakespearean scholarship that I had to laugh--yes, of course this is a commercial anthology intended for a young audience but my god, patting yourself on the back for being brave enough to consider The Merchant of Venice through Shylock's perspective as if scholars, directors, actors, and audiences haven't been doing exactly that for centuries is solipsistic to the extreme. 

Anyway, as always with anthologies, it's a mixed bag. Some of these stories are unexpected and brilliant and others fall spectacularly flat. So, let's do this.

Comedies

"Severe Weather Warning" by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley (The Tempest) - 4 stars
A nice and melancholy snapshot into sibling rivalry as a storm rages outside, delaying Prosper's sister's flight to a prestigious internship that she effectively stole from her sister. Really enjoyed this one and felt that it was one of the most successful stories in accessing the original play's themes even as a nonliteral reimagining. 

"Shipwrecked" by Mark Oshiro (Twelfth Night) - 3 stars
Twelfth Night meets high school prom--we've got some love and heartbreak coupled with mistaken identity shenanigans as one twin has recently come out as nonbinary and has started to resemble their brother. It's a bit corny but mostly harmless. 

"King of the Fairies" by Anna-Marie McLemore (A Midsummer Night's Dream) - 1 star
Midsummer from the perspective of the "Indian" child abducted by Oberon and Titania. Hands down one of my least favorites from this collection; it couldn't be more heavy-handed and patronizing if it tried. If you like McLemore's writing you'll probably like this story; I simply do not.

"Taming of the Soulmate" by K. Ancrum (The Taming of the Shrew) - 3 stars
A soulmate AU where Katherine doesn't see color until she meets Petrucio at her sister Bianca's party; rather an inconvenience for her 5-year plan. I take umbrage at a modern retelling framing Petruchio as the Reasonable One, but I grudgingly ended up appreciating where this story arrived.

"We Have Seen Better Days" by Lily Anderson (As You Like It) - 2 stars
I found this story perplexing. As You Like It, as far as I'm concerned, is fertile ground for a reimagining that focuses on gender identity (a topic otherwise omnipresent in this anthology)--and instead we get... a story about summer camp nostalgia and daddy issues? Anyway, I'd be happy to put my expectations aside about what this had the potential to be if it were any good at all, but it was objectively one of the weakest in the collection. 

"Some Other Metal" by Amy Rose Capetta and Cory McCarthy (Much Ado About Nothing) - 1 star
I kind of hate Much Ado so I was probably never going to like this very much but... yeah, it was bad. It follows two actors, Tegan and Taron, who play Beatrice and Benedick on stage, and off-stage have an antagonistic relationship, but they’re trying to be set up by their director. The meta narrative was painfully obvious and would be more fun if you enjoyed Beatrice and Benedick's dynamic in the slightest which I can't say I do. This story is also set in outer space for reasons that are of absolutely no consequence? 

"I Bleed" by Dahlia Adler (The Merchant of Venice) - 5 stars
Annoying author's note aside I honestly adored this. The Merchant of Venice + high school doesn't seem like a match made in heaven--right down to Antonio's occupation being declared in the title, this is an inarguably adult work. Part of the fun, then, becomes seeing how deftly Adler adapts this story's mature moving parts to a context which shouldn't work at all... but somehow does, brilliantly. It's a very literal adaptation which otherwise isn't my favorite approach in this collection, but I found this one very successful. 

A Sonnet

"His Invitation" by Brittany Cavallaro (Sonnet 147) - 4 stars
A couple take a road trip to California in the only story in this collection that tackles a sonnet. I have to say, this one didn't make a huge impression on me as I was reading (part of it due to being the shortest story in this collection), but interestingly it's really the only one I'm still thinking about after having finished. 

Tragedies

"Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow" by Kiersten White (Romeo and Juliet) - 4 stars 
Yes, the title is stupid, but let’s move on. White actually does a remarkable job at capturing the simultaneous foolishness and lovability of the titular protagonists. This story is told entirely in text speak which admittedly is not my favorite, but it makes for fast, feverish reading, which is probably the effect that White intended. This story I felt was one of the most successful at transporting the emotional landscape of Shakespeare to a much smaller and more modern setting, and hands down the most effective story in the tragedy section. 

"Dreaming of the Dark" by Lindsay Smith (Julius Caesar) - 2 stars
Julius Caesar meets a private girl’s school and dark magic. The context of this one was so utterly contrived (Briony and Cassie have just killed Julia as a sacrifice to a dark god; Annamaria wants revenge) I couldn’t really take it seriously.
 
"The Tragedy of Cory Lanez" by Tochi Onyebuchi (Coriolanus) - 2 stars 
This one is probably better than I'm giving it credit for. Cameron Marcus, known by stage name Cory Lanez, is a rapper who was recently stabbed to death; this story tackles family, sexuality, and LA gang violence. Unfortunately it's also told as an oral history, and it's that format that I couldn't really get past--I don't think it works at all in short story form; the author hasn't earned the reader's investment in the character that we're mourning and the result is tedium. Which is kind of fitting for Coriolanus to be fair.

"Elsinore" by Patrice Caldwell (Hamlet) - 3 stars 
Hamlet retold as a penny dreadful--we're in Victorian England, and Claudius is a vampire. Anne (Hamlet) and Camilla (Ophelia) team up to take him down. This will work for a lot of readers better than it worked for me, it simply wasn't to my taste.

"Out of the Storm" by Joy McCullough (King Lear) - 1 star
Oh boy, HERE WE GO. I was already approaching this with trepidation after despising McCullough's bestselling Blood Water Paint, but I think my mind was as open as it could have been under the circumstances. Anyway, I remain unconvinced that McCullough has read anything more than the wikipedia summary for Lear as this really failed to engage with it on... any level deeper than 'three sisters whose names start with G, R, C.' Written like a play script, it's a snapshot piece where we see Gabi and Cora at their dying father's bedside at the hospital; Rowan, the middle daughter, bursts in and we discover that she's absented herself from the family to get out from under their strict minister father's thumb. Arguments ensue; Rowan is accused of being selfish, she retaliates that she had the fortitude to escape, etc., that kind of thing. Look, I'm sympathetic to the fact that Lear is one of the hardest plays to retell and I'm happy for a reimagining to be nonliteral, as long as it accesses some of the original play's themes, which this just didn't, at all. Ample meditation on truth, power, aging, justice, human nature, and cosmic inevitability to draw from and you opt for... three sisters with an over-controlling father? (The play script format was insufferable as well; if this were a real play it would be peak 'family arguing at the dinner table' theatre.)

"We Fail" by Samantha Mabry (Macbeth) - 1 star 
Just dreadful. Drea, a high school senior, has recently suffered a miscarriage, and her fiancé, Mateo, has been passed over for a football scholarship. When the two get in a car crash and their friend Duncan is pinned beneath the car, Drea convinces Mateo to wait before calling for help, so Duncan will die and Mateo can take his scholarship; and also because she's still mourning the loss of her child and needs to take control of their future. I really despise Macbeth retellings that have a hyperfixation on Lady Macbeth's fertility, and for that narrative to be given to a high schooler made it all the more perplexing and oddly melodramatic in a way that didn't show a similar self-awareness as the Romeo and Juliet story. This was too rushed as well; maybe it could have done something interesting as a longer story, but hurtling through the events of Macbeth at breakneck speed just didn't work.

Late Romance

"Lost Girl" by Melissa Bashardoust (The Winter's Tale) - 4 stars 
This was a lovely story about Perdita who recently discovered the identity of her absent father, trying to cope with that as her new relationship with classics student Zal blossoms. It's short and sweet and a nice note to end on.

Thank you to Netgalley and Flatiron for the advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone.
1,460 reviews182 followers
June 18, 2021
3.5 Stars

Well, the Bard has been given a contemporary short story makeover with mixed results!

I love reimaginings so this was always going to be a must read for me. Some of the stories were way more engaging than others. I really enjoyed 'Severe Weather Warning', 'Taming of the Soulmate', 'Partying is such sweet sorrow', 'I bleed', and 'Lost Girl'. I am ordering a copy for the library as I think these short texts are good for the unfamiliar text assessments, and also for comparative studies of contemporary retellings and classics.
Profile Image for Eva B..
1,087 reviews305 followers
February 7, 2022
I loved most of the comedies, but the tragedies tended to not be as good. I'd absolutely recommend this to any Shakespeare fan, but the stories range from bland to amazing. My favorite stories of the collection are King of the Fairies, I Bleed, Some Other Metal, Elsinore, and Shipwrecked.

Severe Weather Warning: 1/5 stars. Cute I guess, but not too interesting and horrible as a retelling of The Tempest. I want to read their Taming of the Shrew retelling though.

Shipwrecked: 5/5. This was so cute and so effortlessly queer! I want an entire book of this!!

The Taming of the Soul Mate: 5/5. I usually hate soul mate stuff but I actually really liked this! I love Kate Minola though so I’m probably biased.

King of the Fairies: 5/5. Beautiful writing, but more of a sequel than a retelling. That being said, if Anna-Marie McLemore wrote a full-length Midsummer retelling with the ideas they included in their author’s note, I would absolutely buy it.

We Have Seen Better Days: 4/5
Realistically this is a 3 based on the plot, but I really liked the characters sooooo....

Some Other Metal: 5/5
Much Ado is my second favorite comedy so obviously I’m biased but I loved this one! I’ll always love all the takes on Beatrice and Benedick!

I Bleed: 5/5 stars.
Hard to read at times due to all of the anti-Semitism but incredibly powerful. As much as I loved this one, it does point out a flaw in the anthology: some stories are retelling entire plays, some are doing just a scene or two, some are set just after them, etc. Good variety, but jarring.

His Invention: 5/5
I’m confused, but in a good way. Creepy as hell and I want a whole book of this. What the fuck was this?

Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow: 4/5
Not the best R&J retelling I’ve read this year but still good. It was a slow start but I was fully hooked by the end. Not a fan of the open ending though. As a modern adaptation it worked really well, and the formatting helped!

Dreaming of the Dark: 3.5/5
I really liked the ending, but not much else. It had similar vibes to Hatchetfield stuff, which I really liked, but the characters were pretty boring and I didn’t care about any of them besides Anamaria. Cool concept though, I’d read a book of it.

The Tragedy of Cory Lanez: An Oral History: 3/5
I’m not very familiar with Coriolanus and I’m not a huge fan of oral histories, but this was okay. I liked the concept more than the execution.

Out of the Storm: 2/5
Written in play format and with interesting characters, but it just didn't feel like a King Lear retelling besides there being what, three sisters and an abusive father? Disappointing. There could have been way more done.

Elsinore: 5/5
I want an entire book of this!! I was a bit disappointed that this wasn't f/f (since it had a genderbent Hamlet) but I also like the choice to turn Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship to a friendship. Guys it's Hamlet but with vampires, what more can you want?

We Fail: 1/5
I found nothing in this that I enjoyed. I hated the writing style and it really did nothing too interesting with the story besides what, setting it in high school? None of the characters had depth, and it was just incredibly disappointing. I love Macbeth, but this wasn't a good retelling.

Lost Girl: 4/5
I really loved the writing in this one, such a good take on The Winter's Tale!
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,290 followers
Read
September 25, 2020
So excited to have another anthology coming, and now that eARCs are available, I wanted to do the same thing I did with His Hideous Heart and put CWs in my review in spoiler tags. (Assume "Death and/or Murder" for all of the Tragedies.)

Ableism:
Anti-Semitism:
Child Abuse/Neglect (primarily off-page):
Emotional Abuse/Grooming:
Homophobia:
Miscarriage:
Parental Death:
Racism (including Microaggressions, Police Violence, White Supremacy, and Colonialism):
Self-Harm:
Threats of Torture:
Profile Image for max theodore.
418 reviews105 followers
December 6, 2022
(5/28 off the 2022-specific TBR)

two things before i start:
1. i like shakespeare so, so much.
2. i can be occasionally coaxed into the classic american pastime of "being a hater."

i have felt, as of late, wherefore i know not, that i might be growing out of YA—not in the sense that one can ever be too old to enjoy a genre, but in the sense that i, personally, have found that i get the most enjoyment from... how do i say "books written in subtle prose that are about really shitty people" without making myself sound like a complete lunatic or like i'm shitting on YA (which CAN be subtle and intense and involve shitty people i know i know i know i know). whatever. the POINT is that YA hasn't been doing it for me as much lately, which makes sense because i'm not in high school anymore, and this is a YA collection, and i understand that & the fact that i'm not entirely the target audience! that said, i am at least partially the target audience in that i fucking love shakespeare and i fucking love shakespeare retellings, especially retellings that include gay people (as a great many of these did), and so i was pretty sure going in that i was going to enjoy this. and i did. i'm rating this collection 3 stars overall because these individual stories were REALLY hit or miss, but on a holistic level, i had so much fun regardless of all the hater things i am about to say.

without further/much ado: the stories.

severe weather warning (the tempest): 2/5
The weather worsens with every minute. In the neighbors' yard, the wind knocks over the plastic play structure, pushing it into the fence. The rain is incessant, and new clouds have gathered on the horizon. I know one thing for certain. We're all trapped here—together—for a while.

this is a rough start to this collection because it is, to put it plainly, not very good. i mean, the writing is fine, but a storm, a cat named ariel, and a sibling rivalry does not a tempest retelling make. the bulk of this story is 1. prosper being bitter about her sister (sure, cool, let’s get into that more!) and 2. Another Bland Ass YA Romance. and i get it. people like romance. i like romance sometimes! but the tempest specifically is SUCH a cool play, & then this story is like.
I never figured he wanted me, with my face full of freckles, frizzy red hair, and overly large soccer sweatshirts.

(and not even for a miranda/ferdinand dynamic, which would maybe have been apter; the main character is a prospero figure and the "he" here is just some random guy.) i mean, each to their own. do what you will. but i came here to read fun shakespeare retellings, not high school romance #32: The Boy Has Abs.

shipwrecked (twelfth night): 3/5
Vi entered the gymnasium through the eastern door. They smoothed down the lapels of their red velvet suit. Over and over and over. A nervous reaction born of the cliff that seemed to open at their feet.Be you. Tell everyone. Suffer the consequences.

loses points for the clunky prose (i think i just don't love mark oshiro's style. why is it so choppy), the cheesiness of it all, and the sense that it needed a bit more resolution (felt like a lot of buildup and then it all just sort of worked out; a story with this many characters really deserved more page time). wins points for nonbinary viola (YESSSSSSSS FUCK YES), viola/olivia (RE: YESSSS FUCK YES), putting all the gayest parts of twelfth night on-page, and being generally fun. not sure how i feel about this malvolio interpretation, but i’ll let it stand [tossing aside my large rock].

taming of the soul mate (taming of the shrew): 2.5/5
"My name is Petrucio," he said firmly. "And I'm your fucking soul mate."

folks. folks, i am not gonna lie to you. i really do not love making petruchio the polite reasonable character and katherine the antagonistic irrational character in a retelling of a play about a woman being gaslit and abused by her husband. otherwise, i like the concept, and i think the ending was effective even if the writing didn't always hold up (yes. i got emotional at the end), but i think this one is hobbled by its source material being what it is and the story not really pushing back on any of it.

king of the fairies (midsummer): 4/5
Titania tells me that my mother would have wanted her to have me.

LOVE the whimsical gorgeous writing LOVE the reckoning with colonialism in general and in this play (the story is from the perspective of the changeling child oberon and titania fought over) LOVE the way it makes midsummer somehow gayer LOVE the fact that trans people are real because dear god no one ever puts us in anything. and i LOVE that stupid line about nick bottom. only 4 stars because it never made the nebulous jump to 5 in my head, but it did make me think that god, i need to read more mclemore.

we have seen better days (as you like it): 4/5
Dad swore Camp Arden used to be paradise, but every year that I was there, it got a little bit worse.

i wish this one had been longer; i love how well it captures the spirit of the original play and the characterizations of celia, orlando, and ESPECIALLY rosalind. i agree with rachel in that i was somewhat startled the story didn't take the chance to play with gender, but i'm willing to accept that it had a different focus: rosie's disenchantment, particularly with her father and the camp she used to love. (summer camp AYLI... fucking inspired.)

some other metal (much ado about nothing): 3.5/5
"They set us up... to live out the story of Benedick and Beatrice. To fall for one another or some such nonsense."

TRAAAAAAANS PEOPLEEEEE. but also head-hopping? also, the main characters in this story did not need to be named tegan and taron. this story is set in space, which isn't really relevant but does allow for what i find a very clever title (the quote being that beatrice won't marry until god makes men "of some other metal than earth"); i wish it had done more with that setting, and i think all of these characters talk too stiffly for a story presumably set in the future, but i'm forgiving it because i like when trans people exist and are t4t.

i bleed (merchant of venice): 5/5
"So if you don't pay the money back in a month..."
"I get to cut that 1488 out of his skin."

yeah this is the one. this is the one. standout story in this anthology, reason to read it, well-written, all i could ask from a merchant of venice retelling, etc etc etc. i'm a gentile, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but god this story is so fucking good.

his invention (sonnet 147): 5/5
All at once, she felt a welling in her mouth, the sudden desire to spit. She parted her lips and let a long bloom of blood spread down her chin and to the floor. Sophie touched her face with both hands and took them away warm and stringed with red. Outside, she heard Michael singing along to the radio. She stood with her mouth open.

this is a really really good short story. probably the best in the book on a technical level. i have no fucking idea what it has to do with shakespeare. it’s not based on a play, it’s based on a sonnet and has, like, a thematic connection? tangentially? love as frantic and corroding i GUESS? am i just too dumb to get how this relates? enjoyed it but confused about its inclusion.

partying is such sweet sorrow (romeo and juliet): 1.5/5
I love you
I'm sorry tonight got so out of control
You're the most important thing in the world
And I swear I'm going to protect you

man, come on. this reads like every archive of our own fanfiction written by high schoolers who were forced to read shakespeare in english class and wanted to make it funny. i'm biased against any r&j interpretation where romeo is a creep (i am emphatically of the belief that he is just some guy who is sad a lot and feels too much), but even disregarding that, this did very little for me. i didn’t love the characterizations or the style (despite the texting thing, none of these people sound like teenagers) and i especially didn’t love the shoehorned-in quotes. i did like this juliet a lot, though ;__; which is preventing me from giving this a flat 1-star.

dreaming of the dark (julius caesar): 5/5
The thing about the gift is, it doesn't matter how you call on it, not really. What matters is believing. What matters is knowing yourself and what you have to bargain with. And Julia—there is nothing she wouldn't give.

first line is the brutus and cassius characters being heterosexual. huge L. however. i fucking love julius caesar and i fucking love the conceit of “group of high school girls [and one they/them iirc] who have summoned a dark spirit” and god the characterizations in this are SO good. and line references! caesar as literal sacrifice! if a retelling of something i love can entertain me while also making me think "god [source material] is so good" then it wins in my mind and this wins. the only genuine issue i have is that the story keeps hinting at something that happened to briony and i don’t think it ever tells us? which felt very anticlimactic. my other complaint is that brutus and cassius should be lesbians. however. caesar and antony WERE lesbians so i’ll allow it.

the tragedy of cory lanez: an oral history (coriolanus): 4/5
There are no monuments to Cory Lanez in the Rose Park neighborhood of Long Beach, California. Briefly, on Ohio Avenue, a poster of the rapper/singer had been taped to a palm tree and, over the course of a few days, several bouquets of goldenrod and roses had been laid at the makeshift memorial. Within the week, the whole thing had been dismantled, but not before the poster had been vandalized, a red X spray-painted across the seventeen-year-old boy's face.

this is a REALLY interesting spin on coriolanus (coriolanus and aufidius are rival rappers; coriolanus's postmortem story is told by his friends and family in interview format). my first thought upon finishing it was “this could have been longer; i would read a whole novel of this” and honestly, i would, but upon reflection i think the length suits the formatting of an oral history. 3.5 for content + .5 for said formatting because i LOVE innovative formatting.

out of the storm (king lear): 3/5
CORA: Please. Don't do this here, with him there. Still breathing, still sucking the oxygen out of the room. Still tearing us apart.

i love to paint the titular king lear as the villain i LOVE to focus on his daughters over that shitty old man (and i do think lear is a fascinating and multifaceted character who merits exploration, but i also understand why this story used him mostly as a setpiece, for length and thematic reasons). that said, this one fell flat for me, which sucks because i love both this play and—i'm gonna say it again—weird formatting.

elsinore (hamlet): 1.5/5
When she looks at me, she wears the wickedest smile. Camilla faces me, the near product of the monster we face. Now I know, now I am certain: my father was killed by a vampire.

speaking of plays i love and stories that didn't work for me. i had this one down for 2 stars in my notes app but the more i think about it the more it annoys me. vampire hamlet is a banger fucking concept, but this was just... not all that well-executed. it was set in the 1890s, but none of the character voices read that way, nor did the journal entries read like journal entries. the dialogue was fake-deep. the prose in general was mediocre. we did not need a straight-up "alas poor [name]" reference. i did like the dracula references, but the journaling thing didn’t work here; the story seemed crunched into the length allotted. also, L + no horatio + your hamlet and ophelia are both girls but they’re not even lesbians

we fail (macbeth): 2/5
It wasn't like I was going to graduate at that point anyway. I refused to go to class, and the counselors had urged my teachers and principal to let me take "as long as needed" to heal from my "traumatic incidents," the first of which was losing the baby. The second was the wreck.

another one where i love the concept and am getting increasingly irritated that the execution fell through. the writing was fine, i guess, but the story suffered from constriction to such a short space, and honestly it doesn't really tangle with any of the themes of macbeth at all. the ending was clearly meant to be ambiguous and imply further things, but it just left me unsatisfied.

lost girl (winter's tale): 4/5
"The story can end however you want it to end. Even if it doesn't make sense. Even if it doesn't seem likely. The Greeks loved a deus ex machina."

this is one of the best stories in terms of how it works as a retelling, and also, honestly, in how much i liked it. a lot of these stories try to tackle everything happening in their play at once, and rarely succeed, but this story balances its narrower focus with a clear consciousness of its self-referential status to the overarching plot of the winter's tale. the way the storytelling thing and the classics thing and the tree thing all weave together as motifs... the way i love this straight couple i saw less than 20 pages of... really well-executed & a good ending note.

and a final ranking, because i fucking love sorting shit:
1. i bleed
2. dreaming of the dark
3. his invention
4. lost girl
5. king of the fairies
6. we have seen better days
7. the tragedy of cory lanez
8. some other metal
9. out of the storm
10. shipwrecked
11. taming of the soul mate
12. severe weather warning
13. we fail
14. elsinore
15. partying is such sweet sorrow
Profile Image for Emma.
Author 1 book73 followers
February 24, 2021
This is everything I've ever wanted out of an anthology.
Profile Image for talia ♡.
829 reviews154 followers
March 26, 2021
SEVERE WEATHER WARNING - 4/5 okay this was cute as hell...

SHIPWRECKED - 3/5 Twelfth Night is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, but this was not one of my favourite retellings.

TAMING OF THE SOUL-MATE - 5/5 enemies to lovers soulmate verse is not the Taming of the Shrew retelling that i was expecting, but it's the one i deserve. Kayla Ancrum saw the chance and she fucking murdered it. i would literally read her grocery lists...

KING OF THE FAIRIES - 4/5 a retelling of A Midsummer's Night's Dream with TRANS faeries and queer Titania and Oberon (and Hermia, Helena, Lysander, & Dimitrius) ?? HELLOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

WE HAVE SEEN BETTER DAYS - 2.5/5 this was nice and sweet, but pretty underwhelming for me.

SOME OTHER METAL - 4.5/5 i am so happy with the genderfluid/trans/non-binary representation on this anthology. THIS is how you pay tribute to Shakespeare!!!

I BLEED - 4/5 a super powerful (and quite emotional for me) retelling that uses and focuses on a modernized version of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice. cw: antisemitism

A SONNET; HIS INVENTION - 4.5/5 this was hella dark and hella cool...

PARTYING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW - 2/5 this wasn't necessarily bad or anything, i just feel like R&J has been milked completely into any and every possible retelling, and this one had nothing particularly special or memorable about it. it really was not my thing.

DREAMING OF THE DARK - 3.5/5 very cool, very cult-like, filled with codependent bad girls. it's a yes from me.

THE TRAGEDY OF CORY LANEZ: AN ORAL HISTORY - 3.5/5 i'm a sucker for stories written as oral histories/interviews

OUT OF THE STORM - 2.5/5 ehhhhh

ELSINORE -2.5/5 i'm like,,,,a Huge sucker for Hamlet, and while i love vampires and think they're cool and sexy, i wasn't too keen reading a (literal) vamped up version of the OG emo boi.

WE FAIL - 3/5 i just didn't really feel anything with this one :/

LOST GIRL - 4/5 i've actually never read A Winter's Tale, so i can't really speak on how well this retelling was adapted, but i found it beautifully written and touching. definitely a strong closing story!! also the main character is Persian, and like, i am too,,,,so that was cool!
Profile Image for Elle.
413 reviews106 followers
March 20, 2021
As a Shakespeare nerd and fan of transformative works, I really wanted to like this anthology. That Way Madness Lies had potential and the motivation behind the anthology was a good one. In her introduction, Adler emphasises the intent to deconstruct the harmful and outdated bigotry in Shakespeare’s works and give greater agency to marginalised characters. In that aspect, this anthology was successful. However, the problem with writing a series of short stories based on the writings of one of the greatest wordsmiths to ever live is that very few of the stories are going to measure up.

A huge part of what made Shakespeare so successful was his way with rhythm and pacing... which work very differently in the medium of the short story than they do on-stage. Condensing Shakespeare’s works - some of the best-loved stories of all time - into a series of ten-minute reads also ultimately means that each story in this anthology feels like a diluted, over-simplified version of the story it was inspired by. The nuanced characters, relationships and themes of Shakespeare’s works aren’t easily translated. Many of the featured authors chose to get around this by focusing on one aspect of a character, or one theme... which only made their stories feel like pale imitations of the originals. Several of the stories in this anthology just left me feeling empty, like the author didn’t really get what made the original stories so special.

The stories in this anthology that were successful were the ones that didn’t attempt to retell an entire Shakespeare play in a few pages, but used Shakespeare’s works as a jumping-off point for something new. One notable story worth mentioning is Anna-Marie McLemore’s gorgeous sequel to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, told from the perspective of the now-grown-up changeling child Oberon and Titania fought over in the play. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like McLemore’s story so much, because A Midsummer Night’s Dream has always been my least favourite Shakespeare play, but their spin on the fairy court was an unexpected delight.

Overall, this collection was a bit of a disappointment, though a few of the stories were worth reading.

Many thanks to Flatiron Books for providing a copy of That Way Madness Lies. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Rating: 2 stars | ★★✰✰✰
Review cross-posted to Paperback'd Reviews
Profile Image for Caitlyn DeRouin.
301 reviews37 followers
March 17, 2021
you can read my full review here: https://teatimelit.com/2021/03/17/rev...

As we have established, I love retellings and I will obsessively read anything that involves Shakespeare in any way. That Way Madness Lies had been on my most anticipated reads list for quite some time and it did not disappoint! I don’t read many short story collections, and I think this was the perfect introduction to short story collections for me. I’ve read many Shakespeare retellings over the years, and the works in this anthology are some of the best. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I thought that all of the authors did a really great job of capturing the feeling of the original stories while keeping them new and relevant.

There really aren’t any weak links in this collection, and while I enjoyed them all it’s not really surprising that my favorite stories in this collection are the stories based on some of my favorite Shakespeare works. My favorites were: Shipwrecked (Inspired by Twelfth Night) by Mark Oshiro, Taming of the Soul Mate (Inspired by The Taming of the Shrew) by K. Ancurm, Some Other Metal (Inspired by Much Ado About Nothing) by Amy Rose Capette and Cory McCarthy, and Dreaming of the Dark (Inspired by Julius Caesar) by Lindsay Smith. I thought that all of those stories were masterfully done and perfectly took inspiration from the original works. Those stories really left me wanting more and I would love to see them turned into full-length stories.

This collection of short stories is full of complex characters and imaginative storytelling. I would highly recommend That Way Madness Lies to any avid Shakespeare reader, as well as anyone who is interested in Shakespeare’s works but is maybe turned off by the classical language. I know that this is a collection that I will be returning to many many times.
Profile Image for Liesl.
236 reviews3 followers
May 19, 2021
I need to stop reading YA short story anthologies, because I always come into them with high hopes, and then I am let down; it's as if I am dropped from the top of the Grand Canyon into the abyss below.

I saw this one at the library in the new books section, and being a Shakespeare fanatic, I excitedly picked it up. But now I wish I wouldn't have seen it. I enjoyed one story, thought a few were ok, and then the rest were either terrible or I couldn't even get past the first few pages.

Read: Severe Weather Warning (2.5/5 - meh), Taming of the Soul Mate (3/5 - cool b/w to color idea), We Have Seen Better Days (2/5 - blah), His Invention (1/5 - what even was that?!), Elsinore (2/5 - creative idea but fell flat, might need told in a longer format), We Fail (2.5/5 - interesting perspective of Macbeth - but might need longer format), Lost Girl (4/5 - actually enjoyed this one - end on a positive note!)

DNF/Skipped: Shipwrecked, King of the Fairies, Some Other Metal, I Bleed, Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow (couldn't get past the text format, otherwise I might've been able to finish it and enjoy it), Dreaming of the Dark, The Tragedy of Cory Lanez: An Oral History, Out of the Storm

I just think these anthologies - this one especially - end up being too "woke" for me - maybe I'm just too old for them, or maybe I'm just over having worldviews shoved down my throat rather than just letting me enjoy a good story that happens to include a diverse cast. I'm actually a little mad that so many of these authors took such great source material and ruined it. I've already apologized to Shakespeare on behalf of 2020s humankind. Do yourself a favor and skip this one.
Profile Image for clara ☾*✲⋆.
87 reviews35 followers
October 23, 2021
⭑⭑⭑⭑⭐︎ | four and a half stars

stories, ranked.

#1 i bleed
the merchant of venice
wow!!! 😦😦very cool variations on the original. really makes you realize what jerrrrks bassanio and antonio are

#2 lost girl
a winter's tale
very well written and i liked perdita and florizel's energy ✨very much how i imagine them interacting

#3 we fail
macbeth
!!!!!

#4 we have seen better days
as you like it
ending felt a lil abrupt but overall? vibes. and the title is- 💕aaA 💕

#5 out of the storm
king lear
liked the play format and the sister's dynamic slapped- though i was a little confused on some stuff, i have to admit.

#6 shipwrecked
aaaaa yess! ✨i liked everything (esp the maria character!! she was on point) EXCEPT the spin on malvolio. didn't think that worked quite right

#7 his invention
sonnet 147
very interesting... makes u wonder. 🤔(we love to see it)

#8 partying is such sweet sorrow
romeo and juliet
despite the PAINFULLY cheesy title, overall pretty good

#9 the tragedy of cory lanez: an oral history
coriolanus
intriguing!!! i want there to be a full book of this

#10 taming of the soul mate
taming of the shrew
another interesting one that seems like there should be a full book... the concept was v cool 😎😎

#11 some other metal
much ado about nothing
this was ok, but i love much ado SO much, it was a little disappointing.

#12 elsinore
hamlet
another one that was underwhelming compared to the awesomeness of the play. the idea seemed interesting, but it was choppy

#13 king of the fairies
cool idea but like... it made no sense 😕

#14 severe weather warning
the tempest
so umm... are u saying that having the name "prosper" makes it a tempest retelling? sorry but like bRuH

#15 dreaming of the dark
julius caesar
this is what u do to my lit favorite shakespeare play? 😫it made absolutely no sense. did u seriously turn julius caesar into a middle schooler's cult? i have no words
Profile Image for Andy.
2,354 reviews176 followers
April 18, 2021
Thank you to Macmillan Audio for an ALC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I really enjoyed this anthology, though I wasn't as invested in the stories that came after Dahlia's reimagining of The Merchant of Venice. I blame it on my sleep deprivation. There were 4 stories that stuck out to me and that struck me on a visceral level:

Much Ado About Nothing by AR Capetta & Cory McCarthy: This story was the reason I was interested in the anthology to begin with. AR & Cory wrote one of my favorite duologies ever: Once & Future, ever since that I am on a quest to read all their books. I loved everything about this story and the fact that it's based on their real life romance makes it even sweeter. SWOON.

A Midsummer Night's Dream by Anna-Marie McLemore: AM is quickly becoming a favorite author. I love how they mix whimsical elements into their storytelling effortlessly. In this we see the changeling daughter of Titania and Oberon deal with her feelings of insecurity and what her world is. I love the trans character in this. Everything about this was beautiful and I love that AM points out the colonizer roots of this story.

Twelfth Night by Mark Oshiro: Twelfth Night is one of the original Shakespeare tales I do enjoy, probably because I refuse to believe they're all straight lol. This story was filled with some drama, but mostly just wholesome content. I enjoyed of every sentence.

The Merchant of Venice by Dahlia Adler: Adler gives agency to the Jewish character in this retelling. I didn't know there was a Jewish character in the original, but I loved how this was a story of destroying stereotypes. I loved the ending message about how you can practice Judaism as visibly or non-visibly as is comfortable for you. Your faith is always your own personal journey.
Profile Image for Alexa.
2,095 reviews10.9k followers
April 10, 2021
3.5 stars for this short story collection! I did quite enjoy seeing all these diverse & different takes on Shakespeare’s work.
Profile Image for Emma.
892 reviews873 followers
April 26, 2021
That Way Madness Lies is an anthology that contains 15 retellings of some of Shakespeare's works.
The editor, Dahlia Adler, has written down all the trigger warnings for this short story collection and if you're interested you can find them here

And here are my very short reviews for each story:

Sever Weather Warning 3.5/5
I would have liked to see some closure between Prosper and Patience, but I was a fan of Prosper and Sam, they were cute together.

Shipwrecked 4/5
I loved reading from all the different POVs. Also, I really enjoyed the diverse cast of characters that was included in this story

The taming of the soul mate 5/5
Ancrum does it again! This story was great, the author managed to capture so much in just a few pages.

King of the fairies 3.5/5
This story has queer elements and it also tackles colonialism. I definitely appreciated this innovative take on A midsummer night’s dream.

We have seen better days 1.5/5
I think there are only a few things in life that are worse than a summer camp for adults lol

Some other metal 3/5
I liked this one, but I didn’t love the fact that the play was actually included in the story.

I bleed 4/5
I really liked this story inspired by the Merchant of Venice. The author showed how anti-Semitic the whole episode is and also the deep hurt and pain that Shai (Shylock) feels because of the racism against him.

His invention 1.5/5
I didn't really like this one

Partying is such a sweet sorrow 3/5
This story is mostly told through text messages which kind of felt appropriate for this play considering that Romeo and Juliet are teenagers and so it was fitting for them to communicate like teenagers do today.

Dreaming of the dark 2/5
I didn’t like the magic metaphor in this story.

The tragedy of Cory Lanez 5/5
I liked this story so much and I also really liked how every person in Cory’s life said a little something about him in order to tell his story.

Out of the storm 2.5/5
This story was narrated like it was a play and I’m not really sure that it was the best choice for it.

Elsinore 3.5/5
Including vampires and making a few changes to the original play were definitely interesting twists.

We Fail 3.5/5
This story offers different and very real deceptions of grief, it was definitely interesting to read about this theme from different perspectives.

Lost Girl 4/5
I really enjoyed reading about Zal and Perdita
Profile Image for Ramakrishna.
259 reviews31 followers
March 25, 2021
4.5/5
I love the Bard and I loved this anthology. Not all of them were brilliant but a majority of them were and boy were they BRILLIANT.
This was one of my most anticipated books of 2021 and it did not disappoint.
This is my comfort read queer YA anthology collection. Dahlia Adler is killing it with these (Her previous anthology was on Poe and that was brilliant as well).
Profile Image for Selene.
572 reviews133 followers
August 5, 2021
Comedies

Severe Weather Warning by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Reimagining of The Tempest
5 Stars

Shipwrecked by Mark Oshiro
Reimagining of Twelfth Night
4 Stars

Taming of the Soul Mate by K. Ancrum
Reimagining of The Taming of the Shrew
5 Stars

King of the Fairies by Anna-Marie McLemore
Reimagining of A Midsummers Night’s Dream
3 Stars

We Have Seen Better Days by Lily Anderson
Reimagining of As You Like It
2 Stars

Some Other Metal by A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy
Reimagining of Much Ado About Nothing
2 Stars

I Bleed by Dahlia Adler
Reimagining of The Merchant of Venice
4 Stars

A Sonnet

His Invention by Brittany Cavallaro
Reimagining of Sonnet 147
2 Stars

Tragedies

Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow by Kiersten White
Reimagining of Romeo and Juliet
4 Stars

Dreaming of the Dark by Lindsay Smith
Reimagining of Julius Caesar
4 Stars

The Tragedy of Cory Lanez: An Oral History by Tochi Onyebuchi
Reimagining of Coriolanus
5 Stars

Out of the Storm by Joy McCullough
Reimagining of King Lear
2 Stars

Elsinore by Patrice Caldwell
Reimagining of Hamlet
5 Stars

We Fail by Samantha Mabry
Reimagining of Macbeth
4 Stars

Late Romance

Lost Girl by Melissa Bashardoust
Reimagining of The Winter’s Tale
5 Stars
Profile Image for alannafish.
178 reviews
March 20, 2021
Overall Rating: 4/5

Individual Ratings + Thoughts

Comedies

Severe Weather Warning by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka - The Tempest retelling - 3/5
This wasn’t a terrible story, but it felt too short to tell the story it was supposed to. The romance also felt weird because the characters didn’t have much chemistry.

Shipwrecked by Mark Oshiro - Twelfth Night retelling - 5/5
This story was kinda insta-lovey, which I’m not a huge fan of, but I still enjoyed it. The characters had so much detail in the short page count, and I wish this was a full book. This was a little predictable, but I didn’t mind because I was still excited to find out how the characters would interact with each other. Even though this is a Twelfth Night retelling, and I haven’t read Twelfth Night, I didn’t need to rely on the knowledge of that play in order to follow the plot.

Taming of the Soul Mate by K. Ancrum - The Taming of the Shrew retelling - 3/5
This was kind of a repeat of the first one: I liked the characters, but the plot wasn’t very well developed. The idea was great, but it wasn’t executed very well.
TW: brief mention of rape

King of the Fairies by Anna-Marie McLemore - A Midsummer Night’s Dream retelling - 5/5
No surprise here, this is my favorite short story in the book. The writing was beautiful, as usual, and the characters were so unique.
TW: colorism

We Have Seen Better Days by Lily Anderson - As You Like It retelling - 3.5/5
This story was a little confusing, but I enjoyed reading about the characters.

Some Other Metal by A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy - Much Ado About Nothing retelling - 4.5/5
This story was so cute! My only complaint is that the retelling element wasn’t that great.

I Bleed by Dahlia Adler - The Merchant of Venice retelling - 5/5
This is such an important story about anti-Semitism in a school setting. After I finished this, I just sat there staring at the page, shocked at how amazing this was.
TW: anti-Semitism, bullying

A Sonnet

His Invention by Brittany Cavallaro - Sonnet 147 retelling - 4.5/5
This was amazingly haunting, and I liked the mysteriousness (is that a word??) of it.

Tragedies

Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow by Kiersten White - Romeo and Juliet retelling - 5/5
Oh. My. Gosh. Kiersten White you can’t do this to me. This was absolutely heartbreaking and I need to take a break from reading this because MY HEART
TW: abuse, brief homophobia, violence

Dreaming of the Dark by Lindsay Smith - Julius Caesar retelling - 4/5
This was sad, and I wish I knew more about the Dark, but the characters had a surprising amount of depth for such a short story.

The Tragedy of Cory Lanez: An Oral History by Tochi Onyebuchi - Coriolanus retelling - 4.5/5
The writing style of this was very simple, but enjoyed the way it was written more than I thought I would.
TW: n slur, brief mention of homophobia

Out of the Storm by Joy McCullough - King Lear retelling - 5/5
I like how this was written like a scene from the play, and King Lear is one of my favorite classics, so I definitely enjoyed this.
TW: absent parent, dying parent, abuse

Elsinore by Patrice Caldwell - Hamlet retelling- 4/5
I loved the vampire addition to Hamlet, but like most of these, I didn’t know as much about the characters as I wanted to. I did like that the characters’ roles were pretty accurate to their roles in the play.

We Fall by Samantha Mabry - Macbeth retelling - 3.5/5
This one made me really sad, especially since Macbeth is one of my favorite works of Shakespeare.
TW: miscarriage, death of a friend

Late Romance

Lost Girl by Melissa Bashardoust - The Winter’s Tale retelling - 4.5/5
I recently finished Girl, Serpent, Thorn and I liked the writing style, so I was excited to read this, and am glad it didn’t disappoint.
TW: absent parents

Overall, I definitely liked the retellings of plays I’ve already read more, so I’m curious if I might enjoy the other retellings once I’ve read the play they’re based on. My favorite stories were:
Shipwrecked
King of the Fairies
I Bleed
Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow
Out of the Storm
Profile Image for delilah ☾*.
90 reviews7 followers
March 26, 2021
"To be or not to be, that is the question." Joking...Whether you're a fan of Shakespeare or not, this is a lovely read. I love the idea of having a lot of different authors reimagine their favorite Shakespeare plays. I can only do this review justice if I talk about every story so prepare for a long review. Overall, this has it's high and lows. I am a sucker for a nice cover so bonus points there. I also like Shakespeare...hints why I'm taking a university course about it. :)

"Severe Weather Warning"
by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
reimagining The Tempest:
4/5- It's the first story which means it has to draw the reader in and it does a good job of doing so. I liked the story and found it easy to get into even though I have never read The Tempest. The characters were great, maybe a bit cliche. I loved the cute romance between Prosper and Sam. Even though Benjamin wasn't suppose to be funny, I was laughing.

"Shipwrecked"
by Mark Oshiro
Twelfth Night:
3.5/5 - I've never read Twelfth Night but I have seen She's The Man (2006) which is based on the play. I think the story is a great reimagine based on Vi and Seb where they are both hiding there feelings for the person they like. However, this story was lacking some excitement. I expected someone to confuse Vi and Seb for one another or maybe they swap places but that didn't happen. Olivia did mistake Vi for Seb but not for long since she knew it was Vi shortly after. It was cute though so bonus for that.

"Taming of the Soul Mate"
by K. Ancrum
The Taming of the Shrew:
5/5 - I don't like the Shakespeare play of The Taming of the Shrew but I love this reimagining so much. I wish it a full novel because I love the concept of soul mates. This version of Kate and Petruchio was similar to Kate and Patrick from 10 Things I Hate About You and I was living for it. Ancrum did a great job of adapting the play into a modern setting. I need more!!!

"King of the Fairies"
by Anna-Marie McLemore
A Midsummer Night's Dream:
4.5/5 - Definitely have to read A Midsummer Night's Dream after reading this because I am intrigued. All of the characters were interesting and like most of the past stories, they included LGBTQ+ representation and I feel this story did a good job of mixing fantasy of fairies with serious issues modern society struggles with.

"We Have Seen Better Days"
by Lily Anderson
As You Like It:
2.5/5 - When writing this review I had to go back to even remember what this one was about. It follows Rosalinda as she tries to find her dad at the camp she use to visit when she was a kid. It started off strong but ended with a disappointing conclusion. For a book like this, the stories are all short meaning every sentence counts. I wish there was more to this story because it laid out the ground work to do explore more but didn't.

"Some Other Metal"
by A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy
Much Ado About Nothing:
4/5
- I LOVE Much Ado About Nothing
, it's my favorite Shakespeare play! This was everything I needed for a Benedick and Beatrice enemy to lovers story with a modern re-telling. Taron and Tegan play the two on a theatre production and have a similar relationship like the characters off the stage. So adorable.

"I Bleed"
by Dahlia Adler
The Merchant of Venice:
5/5 - SHOOK. The story follows racist white kid, Tony who bullies a jewish kid, Shai. I wasn't sure what to expect but Shai getting revenge was so satisfying to read about. One of the better serious stories in the book that handles serious subjects well.

"His Invention"
by Brittany Cavallaro
Sonnet 147:
3.5/5 - I'm still not sure how to feel about this one. It's suppose to be disturbing since Michael thinks of Sophie as his invention and she appears to have limited freedom. When Sophie starts to bleed from her mouth, Michael doesn't see it or maybe he doesn't care? I don't know maybe I'm confused? I enjoyed the writing style a lot though.

"Partying Is Such A Sweet Sorrow"
by Kiersten White
Romeo and Juliet:
5/5 - I go back and forth with loving and hating Romeo and Juliet but I liked this reimagining a lot. It stayed true to the play and the different format of writing, White (the author) used texting, was unique and fun to read.

"Dreaming of the Dark"
by Lindsay Smith
Julius Caesar:
3.5/5 - The story is if Heathers and The Craft met Julius Caesar. Crazy combination. I didn't like the going back and forth between times of when Julia was alive and then she wasn't. It would have been better to stick to one time since it's a short story. I did like the witchy vibes it gave. Maybe if it was a longer reimagine it could have made more of an impact for me.

"The Tragedy of Cory Lanez: An Oral History"
by Tochi Onyebunchi
Coriolanus:
4/5 - A raw story about a rapper who was stabbed to death. The format is told as a news report which I liked because it's easy to understand and was still impactful in the message of gang violence and homophobia.

"Out of the Storm"
by Joy McCullough
King Lear:
2.5/5 - Written like a script, it follows three sisters at the bedside of their dying father. I've never read King Learbut given the information I do know, this is nothing like the play. It hints at a lot of trama and turmoil without revealing much. I was left wishing for more since it was just disappointing.

"Elsinore"
by Patrice Caldwell
Hamlet:
4.5/5 - The writing format of diary entries is okay but I wish it was just normal writing. I love Hamlet, it is one of my favorite plays. This reimagine captures the original play well. I liked the idea of the Duke (Hamlet's uncle) being a vampire as well as "Hamlet" being switched to a girl named Anne. It was a unique idea and fun to read.

"We Fail"
by Samantha Mabry
Macbeth:
4/5 - A wonderful modern reimagining of Macbeth. It focuses on Drea's recent miscarriage followed by the death of Mateo's friend, Duncan. It did a good job of retelling aspects of the play into this modern setting. It was a bit rushed but it's short story so...

"Lost Girl"
by Melissa Bashardoust
The Winter's Tale
4/5 - A cute story about romance! Loved the characters and story a lot. It was the perfect story to end the book.
Profile Image for Alicia.
5,604 reviews103 followers
November 11, 2020
When you get a vibe and know it's good and then you read it and it's everything you thought it would be. Check!

I've had this on my TBR forever, waiting first for cover art, then for more details, then for it to be available to read, and the Gods answered. Adler puts together a stellar anthology of re-interpretations of Shakespeare's beloved plays and sonnets with a lovely cast of authors giving it everything they've gone in terms of character, plot, setting.

Each short story pulls its weight and when anthologies become duds because enough of them are duds to pull them down, it's unfortunate. THIS BOOK is not that instance because each one is unique and full of voice and creativity. Some include an author's note, some don't. All include a part, act, scene, or quote from which they took inspiration and they're so contemporary that they're just so damn accessible.

I stayed up way to late trying to get most of it read. Applause, applause to the master Bard and the fabulous authors who reimagine them.

Super favorites included: "Severe Weather Warning", "King of the Fairies", there was *something* about "Some Other Metal", "His Invention", and "Out of the Storm."
Profile Image for Angelina.
744 reviews3 followers
April 14, 2022
A collection of modernized, retold Shakespeare plays? Yes please! Dahlia Adler did a brilliant job in ordering these stories, and all the authors did a great job reimagining what the story would or could say about today. I seriously loved what the author did with Romeo and Juliet, and A Winter's Tale hit me right in the heart.
Profile Image for Mora.
510 reviews17 followers
Read
July 15, 2021
as with every anthology there were some stories i really liked and some i wasn't a huge fan of, but i enjoy shakespeare and retellings, breezed through the anthology pretty quickly, and had a good time with it
Profile Image for Taasia ✨ .
315 reviews
Shelved as 'please-give-me'
July 14, 2019
so how do i get an ARC of this

excuse me brb screaming
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