Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review: Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout

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:

NOTE: I received the digital ARC from Entangled Teen in exchange for my honest review.

Honestly, I should've been done with this review ages ago. Two months since I read the book so yeah.

I thought this was a new author, but it turned out to be Jennifer Armintrout :) Not that I've read anything by her, so I don't have a previous opinion. SSS was good. Not super awesome, but still quite entertaining in a weird Shakespeare-come-to-life way.

Writing style:
I haven't written this in my notes so I'll go by memory here. I remember that the writing sounded like it belonged to the Shakespearean era. Not too close to make it a look-alike, but close enough to not sound out of place/date/time. There were changes in the storytelling depending on the characters who did the narrating and I liked that.

Story line:
The summary did a great job in describing what this novel is about. The unlikely friendship that develops between Hamlet and Romeo in their search of Juliet in the underworld, where they meet a gazillion mythological creatures. It was funny at times, tragic also. It lacked the romance that I thought it would have, but I didn't really mind. I liked the adventure more than the Romeo/Juliet developments.

The beginning had me quite amused, with Romeo and Hamlet going at it, arguing and all that, so yes, I can say that the story was entertaining.

Themes:
-mortality and how to deal with it
-eternity of love
-friendship isn't something you give, it's meant to be earned
-Norse mythology (and not only)
-growing up and out of childhood
-death and how it's perceived by different people/cultures

Characters:
Romeo was that guy that you perceive as more of a brute than a sophisticated individual. He certainly doesn't show much cleverness. But there are moments when he has brilliant ideas, moments when he sees through the illusions of the underworld. While Hamlet is quite afraid of Romeo in the beginning (thinking that he could be an assassin sent from his murderous uncle), there isn't much reason for him to be. Romeo is only interested in one thing - saving his beloved Juliet from the realm of the dead and he is brave and scary for her sake only. Okay, well, scary isn't exactly right. More like passionate and hot blooded - as any true Italian should be. What got on my nerves was his volatile anger issue, but again - Italian blood.

Hamlet tried to appear nonchalant most of the time. He faked indifference pretty well, until Juliet came in the picture. She seemed quite able to read the Dutch Prince even though she'd only just met him. Hamlet fears two things in his life: 1) being assassinated and 2)becoming king, but I'm not sure which one prevails. He really isn't the mad boy everyone thinks he is. He just pretends to be it. He's always calm and logical even in the face of danger. Oh, and poetic. He is Hamlet after all.

Juliet was being passed as the bravest of this trio. I'm not sure why she was supposed to be the one to save them all... for the sake of feminine power perhaps? I don't think it worked all that well. It felt rather forced at times. Still, she did have wits and courage and a kind heart.

Horatio also deserves a mention, I think. He was ever the smart, observant friend. Careful, he premeditated every choice, every decision that his young charge/friend Hamlet made. He didn't give his trust easily, but he also didn't doubt everyone's motives all the time.

In conclusion:
Such Sweet Sorrow is a novel of many mysteries, questionable choices and treachery, presented in a very poetic kind of way.

My rating is: