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Queen Mab: A Tale Entwined with William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet Paperback – May 11, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
The story itself is lovely. This book is a beautifully crafted story, inspired by the Queen Mab soliloquy in Romeo & Juliet. Queen Mab is the bringer of dreams and watches over the fair city of Verona every evening. A contest with Faunus, the bringer of daydreams, engages Queen Mab into a fight over the citizens of Verona and the houses of Capulet and Montague, which brings the reader into the familiar world we know from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Full of beautiful imagery and extremely creative insight, we get to see what happens before the fateful meeting of R&J and how these "star crossed lovers" were overseen by two demi-gods who guided their eventual outcome over the course of hundreds of years.
If you liked Danley's "The Woodcutter" then you will love Queen Mab. It is full of the same unique interpretations of existing lore and extremely well-written that even I as a non-fan of Shakespeare went off to buy Romeo & Juliet immediately afterward, just to continue the tone set by this book.
Queen Mab is well drawn as a character, although not as sympathetic as she should be — in part because her motivations are a bit murky and because in the end it seemed her success was somewhat unintentional or due to her rivals own missteps. I've always love Mercutio in the play, and here, he was perhaps the most likable character. The rest, for the most part were not taken much, if at all, beyond the original and it was one of the things I think Danley could have done more with.
Another flaw was that she chose to, almost exclusively, use Shakespeare's language directly, showing us only what was in the play. While reminding the reader of the plot of _Romeo and Juliet_ is fine, she could have varied technique. I think she missed an opportunity to play more with the language (there were a few good instances of her own witty use of language) and to have delved into what we did not see. So much was focused on Mab and Faunus and their limited interactions with the other characters - mostly to manipulation - that she missed the chance to build a richer cast of characters that went beyond the play's text.
The richness of the concept doesn't even quite fulfill its promise and I found the ending too neat and found myself wondering why Danley chose to alter what she did. The novel was worth the read in that it was quick and interesting and I cared about the protagonist, but it could have been so much more.
Danley stays true to the story being careful to weave in hers without taking away from Shakespeare’s infamous love tragedy. Danley did not attempt to write in the eloquent Shakespearean style; her writing is different yet just as expressive and fluent in a simpler style.
Shakespeare is known for intrigue and Danley continues with the tradition; her intrigue clearly compliments and fits with the classic tale making her story of Queen Mab richer and more powerful. It is never a good thing when gods interfere; they are seen as petty and selfish. While Queen Mab begins that way, her character grows revealing that even gods may have a depth of kindness hidden somewhere deep within themselves.
As an English major and fan of Shakespearean writings, I was not sure that I would like this book. I had my doubts that anyone could make Romeo and Juliet better. Danley is a gifted and skilled writer. She successfully tied in her story without breaking the integrity of the original story.
The characters were well-developed moving one from disliking Queen Mab to feeling a range of emotions from dislike to pity to sadness to cheering her on. When a character goes through such powerful changes and grows, the listener cannot help but change their opinion.
The narrator, Julian Rhind-Tutt is talented. His narration was flawless. I liked that he spoke clearly and with a cadence that felt comfortable – not too fast nor too slow. His vocal expressions were strong especially during pivotal times. I enjoyed hearing his voice; soothing and even. Well done!
There were no issues at all with the production and I have to say while there was definitely an opportunity for it to sound more theatrical with sound effects, I am delighted that the production company chose not to go that route. This was already a rich tale, it needed nothing more than a talented narrator which it has. Anything more would have taken away from the story.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog
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