Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher (Shakespeare’s Star Wars #4)

HARDCOVER; 176 P.
QUIRK BOOKS, 2015
SOURCE: FROM THE PUBLISHER

O Threepio, Threepio, Wherefore art thou, Threepio?

Join us, good dentles, for a merry reimagining of Star Wars: Episode I as only Shakespeare could have written it. The entire saga starts here, with a thrilling tale featuring a disguised queen, a young hero, and two Fearless knights facing a hidden, vengeful enemy.

‘Tis a true Shakespearean drama, filled with sword fights, soliloquies, and doomed romance… all in glorious iambic pentametre and coupled with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations. Hold on to your midi-chlorians: The play’s the thing, wherein you’ll catch the rise of Anakin!

The Phantom of Menace is the fourth book in the Shakespeare’s Star Wars series. Reviews of the first part of the series can be found here: Verily, A New Hope, The Empire Striketh Back, and The Jedi Doth Return.

The wit and wisdom of the Bard joins once again forces with one of the most well-known sci-fi film series as Ian Doescher rewrites the first of the second, Episode I – The Phantom Menace, into Shakespearean metre. Having enjoyed the first three of the series, I was elated to find out that the following three will all be published in 2015: first one in April and the following during the summer. Fun times ahead!

As mentioned above, The Phantom of Menace begins the prequel series to the original trilogy, and it is the only one of the entire series that I’ve actually seen the film of – a shame, I know! Hence I was expecting to know the full storyline of the book before I started, but it turned out, my recollections came only after about 100 pages into the book. To those whose knowledge of the story is as hazy as mine, The Phantom of Menace is set in time where peace between The Republic and The Federation, the two ruling powers, is crackling. The darker forces are gaining more influence and the citizens of the poorer planets suffer hunger and oppression. Two Jedi Knights are sent to negotiate terms of a trade agreement, but the end result leaves them stranded on a desert planet with a broken ship. With the help of a peculiar young boy, Anakin Skywalker, they must reach the Senate in Coruscant before the planet Naboo and its citizens are doomed.

Writing in iambic pentametre is extremely hard as it is, so I cannot but applaud the work that Ian Doescher has done. He manages to complete the task and weave in multiple references to Shakespeare’s own works, such as Romeo and Juliet. Even though I am great fan of Shakespeare’s works, I could not catch them all – luckily there’ll be a small reference guide! As in the previous titles, there’s always something extra added to the story, and in this case it is the deeper understanding and background to the character of Jar Jar Binks, the “fool” of the story. I laughed out loud reading some of the scenes about the travel through Naboo as well as during the soliloquies of Rumour, and gripped the edges of the book during the pod-racing (even though I knew the end result!). To the fans of the film series, Shakespeare’s Star Wars is a must-read, but it also offers joy and excitement to the fans of the Bard.

The Phantom of Menace is released on April 7th, 2015.

4/5

We have acquir’d a hyperdrive and in
The acquisition comes a boy as well
What strange part shops have they on Tatooine
That do include a lad with ev’ry sale!
‘Tis double-dealing ta’en to an extreme.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

My review of Verily, A New Hope (#1), The Empire Striketh Back (#2) AND The Jedi Doth Return (#3).

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8 thoughts on “Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher (Shakespeare’s Star Wars #4)

  1. This is hysterical!! (And are you implying that Jar Jar is tolerable in this incarnation?) Oh I might just need to get my hands on it 😀 Thank you for bringing this to my attention!!

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