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on March 22, 2014
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars – The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher is the sequel to William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, a retelling of George Lucas’s space saga in the style of William Shakespeare. I would strongly recommend picking this up as an audiobook rather than ebook or hard copy – Random House Audio’s production is top notch with an excellent cast. It is far more like a radio play than an audiobook and the excellent cast does a wonderful job of telling the story.

What I liked

The source material. The original Star Wars trilogy is a darn good story. It contains a lot of strong themes which would have been as relevant in Shakespeare’s time as today: love, betrayal, youthful impetuousness, struggle against tyranny. Doescher therefore has a strong base on which to base his adaptation. It also isn’t too jarring, for example, when Han rails against Lando’s betrayal in Shakespearean language as it is a theme and emotion found in many of Shakespeare’s works.

Yoda. On my first listen through I was a little disappointed that Yoda didn’t sound too different from the other characters. In the movies, he has a unique speech pattern and I was hoping that this would be reflected in Empire Striketh Back. It was only on reading Doescher’s commentary that I realised Yoda was speaking in haiku! Darn I wished I’d picked that up first time. This is intended to reflect Yoda’s role as Luke’s master – or sensei – in the mystical force giving an eastern feel to it. Brilliant. Appropriate and brilliant.

The production. Random House Audio has gone full out to make this a radio play rather than an audiobook. We have a strong cast, sound effects (including the iconic swish of the lightsabres) as well as snippets of John Williams’ memorable soundtrack. It all combines to make it a wonderful listen.

Doescher’s Notes and Commentary. I the ebook edition I also possess, Doescher adds some commentary explaining some of the creative decisions he made while writing Empire. This, combined with the teachers notes provides a fascinating new insight into the book.

What I didn’t like

There was nothing, I tell you, nothing i disliked about The Empire Striketh Back. I already have The Jedi Doth Return on pre-order. As the trailer says “these are the books you have been looking for.”
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on June 29, 2014
(Trinitytwo’s Point of View from the Qwillery.blogspot.com *Reviewed the 3 books in the series together)

I am forgoing my usual short synopsis of the stories I review because in this case I think I am justified with assuming that most people already know a little something about the original Star Wars trilogy.

I’ve loved Star Wars since I saw the first film in 1977. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review these books. However, I will admit to being a bit nervous about the “Shakespearean” component. Honestly, I admire the Bard and absolutely love Shakespearean theater, but given the choice it is not the first (or even second) book I would pull from a shelf to read. If you have similar fears, let me put them to rest: Ian Doescher’s triple combination of the beloved bard, George Lucas’ classic Star Wars saga, and a few of the author’s own secret ingredients creates one of the most enchanting and delightful series imaginable. This well-loved story written in Shakespearean style made the material fresh and exciting.

Pay special attention to the asides and soliloquies: they can be funny, poignant or sad but each gives a unique insight into character personality or motivations. I really love Doescher’s books the best when he shares our cherished character’s innermost thoughts. For instance, how does C-3PO really feel about R2-D2, or vice-versa? Haven’t we all wondered what Obi Wan was really thinking when he told Luke his father was killed by Darth Vader? Speaking of Vader, what are the thoughts behind that monstrous mask? Are Stormtroopers people with ideas and hopes, or just faceless soldiers? How did Luke and Leia feel when they found out they were siblings after their infamous kiss? Is the Emperor all bad? Doescher’s narrative resolves these mysteries and more.

I also want to take a moment to gush about the illustrations in all three volumes, drawn by the talented Nicholas Delort. They help readers to visualize their favorite characters in frilly ruffs and doublets and are absolutely brilliant.

Forget the nunnery and get thee to a bookstore (or Amazon) to pick up all three of these delightful tomes. Each one is a “must read,” so whether you are spending your summer in the sands (Tatooine), stuck at work (Death Star) or are on some exotic jungle adventure (Endor), you need to trust your instincts because there are no Jedi mind tricks here, only great reading!
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on July 3, 2014
Love this but not on Apple devices. I have the kindle app on my iPhone and my IPad mini. I also have a Kindle. I love these books but this one and the next one are hard to read on the app. The character name is overlapped by the first words of their dialog it makes it difficult to read. However on the kindle it's formatting is fine. I tried to tell amazon but not sure they understood the problem. So be careful if this is for an app on Apple.
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on June 10, 2014
There really isn't anything that I could say that would influence a decision on purchasing this book. it's Star Wars, but written like Shakespeare! You literally cannot get anything better than that!

Obviously it would help if you have seen the movies before purchasing these books just so you have some baseline on what it originally was, but this is a great read and I am enjoying it immensely. Can't wait for the 3rd book to be released!

Overall: Would strongly recommend to a Star Wars fan looking for a laugh that has a slight appreciation for Shakespearean theater.
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on April 23, 2014
Great introduction to The Bard for my 5th-grade son (reads at the 8th grade level, though).
All of the things that made Shakespeare's comedies relevant to his day are what makes these adaptations all the more enjoyable and accessible to today's young readers dipping their toes into classic literature.
Warning: These books contain smiles and chuckles.
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on June 18, 2014
I'll start off saying I am a huge Star Wars fan and love the movies deeply. I also love a good, humorous strike at them as well, and this pulls it off in spades. LIke General Chang said in Star Trek VI, "You haven't read Hamlet until you read it in the original Klingon." This has plenty of humorous guffaws, but ultimately, the joke does get a tad old. But it is a fun romp. I would love to see somebody acutally perform it.
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on May 10, 2014
I am not actually a big fan of Star Wars, but please don't tell that to my theatrical and sci-fantasy friends who got together to do a table reading of this as we had done for A New Hope. Doescher's Shakespearean meter is almost perfect throughout and the allusions to other works of the Bard are deliciously clear and appropriate. Granting voices to the Bantha, the AT-ATs and even an asteroid rock creature, is a touch of genius. I had huge fun approximating Anthony Daniels vocal mennerisms as C-3PO. We had a wonderful Yoda and it definitely works to have the whole room at once perform most of Chewie's lines.
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on June 8, 2014
Title - William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back (William Shakespeare's Star Wars #2)

Author - Ian Doescher

Synopsis -

Do I really need to tell it?
Okay for those of you that have been in a coma for the last decade or two.
After destroying the Death Star, Luke, Han and Leia find that the rebellion is still in danger from the power of the Empire and the greatest evil, Darth Vader. On the icy planet Hoth, Luke investigates a probe landing and finds himself attacked by Yeti like creature Wampa, after his escape he hears the ghost of Ben (Obi Wan) Kenobi telling him to go the Dagobah system to find the great Jedi master Yoda.
But the Empire attacks with At-Ats and the battle of Hoth insues. Escaping from the Empire, Luke races to Dagobah and Han, Leia, Chewbacca and 3PO seek refuge in the outpost of Cloud City run by Lando Calrissian.
Only Han has a price on his head and their refuge turns into a trap. As Han is tortured but not to illicit information but to illicit only pain. A pain that Luke will feel on the swamp like planet in the Dagaboh system where he trains with Yoda. Luke leaves in haste to save his friends and with this decision seals his true fate and learns the truth.

Review -

Okay this is just a geekfest. Plain and simple and for that alone it should be loved. It is Star Wars written as a Shakespearian Play. Can you dig it!!??

The immortal words "Luke I am your father" cried out in the angst and torment of a Hamlet player.

Get this book! Love it! Read it! Force your children to hear it out!

Too much fun to miss!
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`William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back' written by Ian Doescher is second installment in author's William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy, a unique combination that entertains both readers in love with the English poet and the vast Star Wars universe.

Although at first glance it seems like a joke, the author himself gave a pretty ambitious task to connect the seemingly incompatible - England in which Shakespeare worked and exciting adventurous story that happens across the universe. And to make it clear, though a lot of humor can be found inside Doescher didn't wrote a parody, but a well-made adaptation of Star Wars made in Shakespeare manner. The author uses archaic grammar and vocabulary that was used in Shakespeare time, combining it with Star Wars slang that although may sound strange, after the reader will become accustomed to it will become very fun to read.

What also have to be mentioned are the black and white illustrations that can be found on the pages of a book that makes it even more funny and enjoyable while looking at known characters pictured in a way drawing were made 500 years ago, dressed in costumes that are at same times are avant-garde and perfect fit for time when Shakespeare lived.

The second part after his `Shakespearian Star Wars' continues space saga accompanying original trilogy of George Lucas. Those familiar with previous Doescher work will feel like reading the next chapters of the original book, with perhaps a little more funny scenes, maybe sometimes even silly, considering that the original Empire Strikes Back was the darkest part of the trilogy.

It would certainly be interesting to see an animated series or perhaps a TV series with real actors like `Black Adder' in the British style to be made based on these books, which would surely quick gain cult status.

Therefore `Shakespearian Star Wars' trilogy continues to be a strange and innovative combination that will make you laugh and have fun, while eagerly anticipating the final part.
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on April 22, 2014
I think the Bard himself would approve, as this is a great and amusing read. Written in the style of William Shakespeare only makes this even more fun to read (especially when some lines are quotes, make star wars like from his other plays). Well worth reading!
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