Friday, January 30, 2015

Queen Mab: A Tale Entwined with William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet by Kate Danley

Release Date: January 14, 2013
Publisher: Createspace
Author Website: 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Betrayed by a member of House Montague, Queen Mab vowed to see all in the house crumble and die as punishment. She put her plans into motion through her dominion over the world of dreams until her plans were revealed to Juno, the Goddess. She vowed to follow through with ending the Montagues after she was punished, forced to live within a frozen world and ice encaged her heart.

As she began to plant the seeds of failure, she happened upon a mortal man who possessed the key to melting her frozen heart. The spark of love beating within her chest gave her a new outlook on how the events of Verona were unfolding. To prevent losing everything she now held dear, she would go to any length to protect the man of her heart against any foe - especially another demi-god's jealousy.

One of the many books I've discovered thanks to OHFB, I was intrigued by the idea that the events of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet were orchestrated by something otherwordly. The author was able to create another dimension to the world that Shakespeare created in his work. Therefore, the reader was provided another view of the tragedy which occurred. Though the two works shared the same setting and much of the same cast, this book expounded on the history and lessons put forth in Shakespeare's novel. The mixture of opposites, including love, loss, trust and betrayal, gave the various political maneuverings a deeper level of impact during the course of the book.

Much of the novel centered around Queen Mab and the consequences of her actions. She wasn't the only demi-god that meddled with the lives of the people who went went about their normal lives in Verona. Faunus, the pipe-playing demi-god with cloven feet, sought win Mab's realm by coercing her into a wager. Each would chose a champion from either the House Capulet or House Montague. This champion determined which of the houses would fall and by proxy, which demi-god would win. Familiar characters from the original work danced through the novel to their intended ends. Romeo and Juliet, Mercurito and Tybalt - all of them followed the trajectory of the original, but the author of this book gave all the characters an emotional depth. With the primary focus on someone other than the couple, it allowed the secondary characters to come alive in a way that differed from the original.

It took a little while for me to become hooked by the story, but within a few chapters, I kept wanting to read more than the time I allotted myself. Because Queen Mab was a demi-god and ruled the world of dreams, she affected the lives of the people for centuries. Once the first betrayal revealed the players, the game was afoot. Wheels of time began turning at a quicker pace when Romeo met Juliet during the masked ball thrown by her father. The multi-layered designs that both Mab and Faunus put into play rushed the downfall of both houses and ushered in the rebirth of said houses with a deeper emotional connection. For me, the book's pace became steady the moment that Faunus stole something from Mab and lasted until the very last word.

Overall, I found this book quite entertaining and an interesting way to look at a work that I first read in middle school. It presented the tragic love story in such a way that the reader experienced the full gamut of emotions. From anger, lust and betrayal to love, acceptance and empathy - all these made an appearance at some point in the book. By using a feud between two demi-gods, the author explored more of the cause and effect of decisions made in haste. I enjoyed the transformation of Mab as she learned the lessons through experiencing some of these same emotions herself. It made the story more intimate in a way that I enjoyed. If you're looking for a fresh take on a beloved classic or need a dose of political intrigue among supernatural beings, then this is the book you should be reading!

Queen Mab: A Tale Entwined with William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet by Kate Danley is available at a number of online retailers in either paperback or Kindle (digital) formats. The following link will take you to the book's page at Amazon.
Queen Mab: A Tale Entwined with William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet by Kate Danley

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