BOOK REVIEW: Disappointing. I try to start each of my reviews with one word that sums up my feelings about the book, and unfortunately in this case that word is not a positive one. If Marsden’s goal was simply to retell the original Hamlet in language more accessible to young adults, he has achieved that.
However in my opinion Marsden did not deviate far enough from the original Hamlet to make this retelling that worthwhile. The underlying themes of Hamlet are ones that could be translated into modern society in a powerful way, so I was a little disappointed to find the story still set in historical Denmark in a castle and the characters still duelling with swords. I also found some of Marsden’s explicit descriptions of voyeurism in the story quite unnecessary. For instance, I didn’t need to be told explicitly that ‘sweat trickled from Ophelia’s armpits’ (and that is a very tame example). I must caveat this review with the fact that I don’t read much young adult fiction, so that could well have hampered my enjoyment of this novel. I think it was probably just the wrong book for me and will try not to hold this against Marsden as I’ve heard that his Tomorrow Series is excellent.
For other titles by John Marsden, see my post Aussie Author In Focus – John Marsden.
This book counts towards my participation in my Aussie Author Challenge.