KBev's Reviews > I, Iago

I, Iago by Nicole Galland
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Apr 10, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: received-from-publisher
Read from April 10 to 24, 2012

I, Iago, by author of The Fool’s Tale Nicole Galland, is the retelling of Othello, by William Shakespeare (whose birthday is being celebrated around the world today), from the point of view of Iago.

Iago has long been known as one of literature’s greatest villains – he even earned a spot on our the bracket for our Tournament of Villains earlier this year. Galland does her best to make the reader sympathetic to Iago. She tries to make the reader understand that there’s a reason Iago acted the way he did and battles the lifelong debate of whether or not deceiving by omission is still an actual lie.

This story starts out with Iago as a young boy. He wanted to be in the navy, but his father sent him to the artillery. In that moment, we start to see Iago turn from a bright boy into a bitter young man. Iago was known for his blatant honesty all growing up, and as he starts to grow up, he sticks to never telling an outright lie, but he constantly deceives by omission. However bitter Iago was, he excelled in the artillery. He meets Emilia at a masked ball and completely falls in love with her wit and vast knowledge before ever even seeing her natural beauty. Soon after Emilia and Iago marry, Iago meets Othello and becomes Othello’s ensign and closest friend. Or so Iago thought.

Enter Michele Cassio, an alcoholic and womanizer that manages to become Othello’s newest confidant. As soon as Iago discovers that Cassio has been sending love notes between Othello and Desdemona and that Emilia has been arranging for time spent together between them as well, Iago is overcome by his jealousy. He puts together a very intricate plot to destroy both Othello and Desdemona’s relationship and Cassio’s reputation. One of Iago’s deceits after another starts to snowball, until everything spirals completely out of Iago’s control. In the end, well, this is the retelling of a Shakespearean tragedy, so I’m sure you can guess what the big finale is if you haven’t already read Shakespeare’s play.

Within I, Iago there is a beautiful love story between Iago and Emilia. They are simply magnetic and I couldn’t put the book down when reading about them together. Emilia in this story is now one of my favorite characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know in a novel. She is smart, bold and vivacious. She is passionate about love and helps foster the love interest between Othello and Desdemona by sneaking them time together. She is devoted to her husband. Emilia is the heart and soul of this novel and she definitely steals the stage from Iago.

As for Iago, well, we all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. He tries to be a good friend, but in the end his jealousy and passion for being on top in the world overcomes him. I must admit that although Galland makes the reader quite sympathetic towards Iago in the end, she does not make him out to be quite the villain that Shakespeare did.

Overall, the love story between Emilia and Iago within is definitely worth the read! Thanks to the publisher, William Morrow, for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review originally posted at http://blog.hpb.com
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