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Shakespeare v. Lovecraft (Book) Review

 
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You will never look at Shakespeare the same.

Not so much?


A certain level of both Shakespeare and Lovecraft knowledge is almost required to understand any of the humor.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Shakespeare v. Lovecraft is graphically violent, unapologetically free with its twisted usage of both Shakespeare and Lovecraft, and oddly amusing. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what to think of it, but one thing is for certain: despite how much it “borrows” from the classics, it is one of the most original books you’ll read this year.

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Posted January 31, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

“Clearly, there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.”

Shakespeare v. Lovecraft: A Horror Comedy Mash-Up Featuring Shakespeare’s Characters and Lovecraft’s Creatures is the newest book in the whole “let’s take an old idea and turn it completely on its head” craze that kicked off with the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. As the name implies, this book takes some of Shakespeare’s most well known characters, and throws them up against Lovecraft’s famous features in a bloody war that will decide the fate of the world. Naturally, if you’re going to pit MacBeth against a Bohle, there has to be a few creative liberties taken, and it is that that will either endear this book to its readers, or repulse them, dependent upon both their knowledge of the characters and their twisted sense of humor.

Shakespearean purists may feel their hearts skip a beat or two at the thought of Romeo as a cocky man-slut who never really loved Juliet, and it’s entirely possible Sir William himself rolls over in his grave when Romeo murmurs “Parting is such sweet sorrow” to a lady zombie. On the other hand, if you aren’t at all familiar with Shakespeare’s works, you simply will not get much of the humor in this book, as it is based almost entirely on the ridiculousness of Shakespeare’s characters and oft-repeated lines in the context of a Chthulu threatened world. So, in other words, to enjoy Shakespeare vs. Lovecraft, you really need to be familiar with the works of both, but not to the point you are bothered by a somewhat blasphemous use of them.

The story goes a little something like this: an English duke, moored on a deserted island by his traitorous brother, spends his time alternately studying the black arts and doting on his precious daughter. When opportunity presents himself, the now sorceror unleashes the fury of Chthulu on the unsuspecting world, even as his own child turns her back upon his heinous deeds. The more determined Prospero is to see the world which has rejected him fall, the more determined Miranda is to save it. And so ensues a furious battle for the fate of earth itself, in which many of your favorites from Shakespeare’s plays will almost certainly die in spectacular fashion at the hand of one Lovecraftian creature or another, tongue in cheek usage of the Bard’s own words a given.

Just as you really need to know a bit of Shakespeare to “get” this book, you’ll also have to be willing to read a tale as Shakespeare would have presented it. In a book called Shakespeare vs. Lovecraft, I really should have expected it, but it had apparently slipped my mind a bit how much I typically dislike overtly flowery prose. If taking a statement like “Go to your death, and God forgive you” and turning it into “Get you therefore hence, poor Godless miserable wretches, to your death; the taste whereof, God, in his mercy, give you patience to endure, and true repentance of all of your grave offences!” fills you with horror, then this is not the book for you. Still, even those who aren’t huge fans of old english should have no trouble getting into the story after a few chapters to assimilate.

Shakespeare v. Lovecraft is graphically violent, unapologetically free with its twisted usage of both Shakespeare and Lovecraft, and oddly amusing. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what to think of it, but one thing is for certain: despite how much it “borrows” from the classics, it is one of the most original books you’ll read this year.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)