Falling for Hamlet
by Michelle Ray
Other Reviewed Titles: None
Release Date: July 5, 2011
Source: ARC from publisher
Challenge: 2011 OTS, 2011 DAC
Author Website: www.michelleraybooks.com
Meet Ophelia, high school senior, daughter of the Danish king’s most trusted adviser, and longtime girlfriend of Prince Hamlet. She lives a glamorous life and has a royal social circle, and her beautiful face is splashed across magazines and TV. But it comes with a price -- her life is dominated not only by Hamlet’s fame and his overbearing royal family but also by the paparazzi who hound them wherever they go.
After the sudden and suspicious death of his father, the king, Hamlet spirals dangerously toward madness, and Ophelia finds herself torn between loyalty to her boyfriend, her father, her country, and her true self.
In this stunning contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet from Ophelia’s point of view, debut author Michelle Ray Brilliantly weaves together old and new. Filled with drama, romance, tragedy, and humor, Falling for Hamlet is a compulsively readable novel. And this time, Ophelia doesn’t die.
Characters: The book focuses on Ophelia, her family, and the royal family. Ophelia’s father has worked as the King’s advisor for as long as she can remember so she lives at the castle and is close to the family, especially the prince. The poor girl is thrown into the spotlight just because she is the prince’s longtime girlfriend, but she handles it well (for the most part anyways). She is strong, funny, and clever. Her only fault is that she loved Hamlet too much. I don’t really blame her though because he was sweet, handsome, and funny and everyone else in the kingdom probably wanted to date him too. Unfortunately, he became drunk with revenge after the death of his father and that’s when everything started to go from wrong to worse. I could not stand the queen at all; all she cared about were appearances and nothing else. Claudius, the king’s brother and also his murderer, was awful and evil. Horatio, Hamlet and Ophelia’s best friend, was as loyal as anybody could be and he tried to help his two very best friends until the end.
Plot: I have yet to read the original Hamlet by Shakespeare so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this modern retelling of the classic, but I actually really enjoyed it. I’m not sure how accurate it is to the original, but it is definitely worth the read. The book is told by Ophelia, who this time does not die. There are 3 parts to each chapter, kind of like a past, present, and future type thing. At the beginning of each chapter Ophelia is being interviewed on a talk show about the events that took place after the king was killed, the middle is the actual story of what happened, and the end is Ophelia being interrogated by the police because they think she was responsible for everything that happened to the royal family after the kings death. I really liked how the chapters were organized and did not find it confusing at all despite everything that was going on. That being said, the action only really starts about half way through the book. There was suspense, mystery, romance, some supernatural, and so much more. It had a sad ending, but that’s the point of a tragedy, right?
Cover: The cover isn’t really anything special. I don’t know…for me it doesn’t really represent what the book is about I guess. It’s kind of plain and boring, just two teenagers making out with a floating throne next to then…
Overall Impression: I wish I had read Shakespeare’s version before this so that I knew what the original story was, but it was still a pretty good book. I think that if anyone’s a little apprehensive about reading the original, this could really help push them to want to.
Rating: * * * *