Friday, December 17, 2010

Review: Ophelia by Lisa Klein


Author: Lisa Klein
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Pages: 328
Series or Standalone?: Standalone
Buy This Book:

He is Hamlet, Prince of Denmark; she is simply Ophelia. If you think you know their story, think again.
In this reimagining of Shakespeare's famous tragedy, it is Ophelia who takes center stage. A rowdy, motherless girl, she grows up at Elsinore Castle to become the queen's most trusted lady-in-waiting. Ambitious for knowledge and witty as well as beautiful, Ophelia learns the ways of power in a court where nothing is as it seems. When she catches the attention of the captivating, dark-haired Prince Hamlet, their love blossoms in secret. But bloody deeds soon turn Denmark into a place of madness, and Ophelia's happiness is shattered. Ultimately she must choose between her love for Hamlet and her own life. In desperation, Ophelia devises a treacherous plan to escape from Elsinore forever... with one very dangerous secret.
* * *
Ophelia is my absolute favorite play character of all time. She’s, in my opinion, Shakespeare’s greatest work within his greatest work (Hamlet is also my favorite play, and of course, in my eyes, the greatest play ever written.) So when I saw that my friends were reading this novel called Ophelia, I flipped and instantly ran out and bought it.

Lisa Klein did a great job reinventing Ophelia’s and Hamlet’s relationship, giving it life that we’ve never seen before in Shakespeare’s play, going behind the scenes to show you what happens. She delves into the common controversies regarding this play (such as: was Ophelia pregnant with Hamlet’s child? Was Ophelia really crazy? Did she really kill herself? {My answers to that are Yes, No, and Yes, all in that order.}) and Klein creates this intricate story around them.

I will admit that it started out amazing, and I was loving every moment of the plot twists and turns. I loved looking at the events of the play from a new, more modern perspective. But then half way through the story, things kinda took a turn for the weird, and then by the end, verged on “WTF just happened?” I have mixed emotions about this book, because I agreed with a lot of the things that Klein presented us with regarding the characters and the relationships between them, as well as motives that were vague in Shakespeare’s original work. But once she began distorting things to fit the plot, I kind of put it down and said “Okay, this is getting a little freaky.” But I always picked it back up again.

The writing was wonderful. I really feel that Klein stuck to the Shakespearean theme and tone, which is a ridiculously hard thing to do, so I applaud her for that.

The cover is not one of my favorites, mostly because that’s not how I picture Ophelia at all. Looking at the cover sort of distorts my image of her, so I’m not such a big fan of it.

Basically, if you’re not a Shakespeare enthusiast or not a Hamlet enthusiast, and are just looking for a good read, this is your book. If you are like me, you’ll find yourself nit-picking every little thing and, also like me, won’t enjoy it as much. It’s a toss-up, really. But I do recommend it.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Creativity\Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 1.5/5

2 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to read this for a while, as I also love Hamlet (the play)/Ophelia. Not sure if I'll end up nit-picking it too, haha. Just wondering, what do you imagine Ophelia looking like?

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