Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ARC Review: Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout

Goodreads summary:

Never was there a tale of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo…But true love never dies. Though they’re parted by the veil between the world of mortals and the land of the dead, Romeo believes he can restore Juliet to life, but he’ll have to travel to the underworld with a thoroughly infuriating guide.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, may not have inherited his father’s crown, but the murdered king left his son a much more important responsibility—a portal to the Afterjord, where the souls of the dead reside. When the determined Romeo asks for help traversing the treacherous Afterjord, Hamlet sees an opportunity for adventure, and the chance to avenge his father’s death.

In an underworld filled with leviathan monsters, ghoulish shades, fire giants and fierce Valkyrie warriors, Hamlet and Romeo must battle their way through jealousy, despair, and their darkest fears to rescue the fair damsel. Yet finding Juliet is only the beginning, and the Afterjord doesn’t surrender souls without a price…

My review:

I really wanted to love this book.  It has one of the best premises ever: Shakespeare + Norse mythology.  And as a huge fan of Shakespeare's work and anything related to Norse mythology, I was sure I'd love it.  But honestly, I struggled to finish this book.  It took me a long time to get through it; simply because the pacing was so slow.  

The characters were okay for me.  I liked them well enough, but I had a hard time truly rooting for them or caring about what happened to them.  The beginning of the book was mostly about Hamlet and Romeo getting started on their quests, but I did enjoy Juliet's character once she appeared.  I like the way the author expanded on her character and made her a lot stronger than the Juliet we know in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  She had a good character arc and I did like her pretty well.  As for Hamlet, I liked his sense of humor at times, but his character didn't leave a lasting impression on me.  Romeo got on my nerves.  I can't pinpoint why; I think it's mostly that he was too stubborn.

But my biggest problem was really the pacing.  I think the perspective has a lot to do with this.  The book is written in third person, but we get the perspectives of Hamlet, Romeo, and Juliet.  It just made the writing seem choppy and a bit confusing.  The story simply didn't flow, and I had a hard time keeping my attention on it.

Still, aside from my problems with the characters and pacing, this isn't a bad read.  I did actually like the plot and how the characters have different goals they're trying to accomplish, and the world-building was pretty creative, although the descriptions of it could've been clearer at times.  If you can get past the slow pacing, it'll end up being an interesting read.  Plus, the ending was awesome.  I'm really pleased with how the author ended the story; what a great twist.

I absolutely loved the idea of this book, but it just didn't work for me.  However, other fans of Shakespeare and/or Norse mythology might want to give this a shot.  It's certainly a unique story, though I ultimately didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped.

*I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  2.5/3 stars out of 5

~ Kaitlyn

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