Review: Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout
Genre: Young Adult,Paranormal,Romance
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Never was there a tale of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo…But true love never dies. Though they’re parted by the veil between the world of mortals and the land of the dead, Romeo believes he can restore Juliet to life, but he’ll have to travel to the underworld with a thoroughly infuriating guide.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, may not have inherited his father’s crown, but the murdered king left his son a much more important responsibility—a portal to the Afterjord, where the souls of the dead reside. When the determined Romeo asks for help traversing the treacherous Afterjord, Hamlet sees an opportunity for adventure, and the chance to avenge his father’s death.
In an underworld filled with leviathan monsters, ghoulish shades, fire giants and fierce Valkyrie warriors, Hamlet and Romeo must battle their way through jealousy, despair, and their darkest fears to rescue the fair damsel. Yet finding Juliet is only the beginning, and the Afterjord doesn’t surrender souls without a price…
One thing I really enjoyed about this retelling was the writing. I think the Author did a good job of capturing Shakespeare's essence while still making those characters feel wholly her own. Plus I rather enjoyed the simplified speech of Hamlet and Romeo. One thing about Shakespeare that might put some readers off is how "wordy" he can be. It worked for that time period of course but today it feels overly complicated. Some Shakespeare purists might consider this a dumbing down of sorts but I think it just makes it easier to enjoy for today's readers.
Another thing I liked was how the story incorporated Mythological elements into the story. It was ambitious yes, but it oddly worked for me and added action and in turn excitement to the story that was desperately missing during the first half of the book.
Now even though I ultimately enjoyed Such Sweet Sorrow it wasn't a perfect book by any means. In fact, despite my love of Shakespeare and retellings I nearly put this book down permanently out of boredom. However,thanks to a raging case of insomnia and nothing on TV to watch I pushed through and finally finished the book *yay me*!
One of my biggest issues with Such Sweet Sorrow was the pacing. No matter how good the writing is if nothing is happening it won't keep me glued into the story. All the romance and action between the character is put into the back end of the story. While that made for an enjoyable conclusion it left the beginning feeling empty.
Also I had a really hard time falling back in love with Romeo and Juliet as a couple. Romeo seemed obsessed with Juliet and acted like she was a possession rather than a lost love. Honestly, I think it might of been more exciting had Juliet come to terms with her naivety and fallen for Hamlet instead.
Which brings me to problem #3 with Such Sweet Sorrow. If I can't connect to the characters and I'm constantly rewriting scenes in my head that means the Author has failed to do their job in shipping a couple to me. Considering the romance is the major point of the story I'd say that's a bad thing. The story had so much potential to really make this a unique retelling but in the end it just felt like a ghost of a parody and that's a shame.
Despite Such Sweet Sorrow's pacing issue and my lack of connection to practically everyone I still enjoyed this retelling of Shakespeare's work. I do think the story could've used some compressing especially in the beginning but since it's already been released it is too late for that to happen. Would I recommend Such Sweet Sorrow? Yes, I think the Author has great potential to really make this series something special and like I said the last half of the book is great. With that being said, I'll be rating Such Sweet Sorrow ★★★.
*Review copy provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.
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