Sunday, April 13, 2014

Exit pursued by a wampa

Star Wars and Shakespeare is a combination like chocolate and peanut butter - delightful, and surprising that somebody didn't figure that out earlier.

Ian Doescher has published his follow-up to Verily, A New Hope with The Empire Striketh Back and it stands up just as well as the first book did. Probably my favorite part is a conversation between two Storm Troopers discussing the mandatory inclusion of a gaping chasm with catwalks missing handrails spanning it in all Empire-approved constructions, but the new characters we're introduced to and the budding relationship between Han and Leia are handled wonderfully by the book as well.

Doescher goes even further in this book than in the last to establish Han and Leia as Benedict and Beatrice, bringing Much Ado puns into their lines and allowing them to admire each other in asides while they sting waspishly in their exchanges. Yoda is introduced and is totally comprehensible in context while still managing to speak completely in haiku. Lando Calrissian makes his first appearance as well, and is a charming scoundrel made more accessible than the same character in the film through his numerous soliloquies and asides.

Songs are sung, the plot is thickened, and the big reveal is made and all of it is wonderful. The language is great, the characters are given lots of room to breathe, silly things happen and serious things happen. This book isn't as memorable for me as Verily, A New Hope was but that's probably due to the fact that I'd been introduced to the concept of Shakespearian Star Wars and so reading it wasn't the same new experience I had with the first book. Either way, it's hilarious and fresh and fun to read and I'm very much looking forward to The Jedi doth Return whenever it hits shelves.

     - Alli

Doescher, Ian. William Shakespeare's Star Wars: The Empire Striketh Back. Quirk Books.
     Philadelphia: Pennsylvania. 2014.

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