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Oh, Thou Clever Man: William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher

William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return - Ian Doescher

Taking Star Wars movies (the real episodes, now known as 4-6) and writing them in Shakespearean verse just ticks a lot of boxes for me.  The Jedi Doth Return, though the third in the series, is the first that I have read (I prefer to read a series in order, but when winning a copy from the publisher through a BookLikes giveaway, I am not one to complain).  While it is not my favorite of the Star Wars movies (that is the original 1977 movie that my 10 year old self fell in love in the movie theater), this was really enjoyable. 

 

While I am not as well versed in the post-1977 movies, it seems that every one of the expected story elements are represented, including Jedi mind tricks.  As a long-time reader of Shakespeare, this is quite approachable and only has minor “Shakespearean” language such as e’er, wont, prithee and belike.  Is it completely in iambic pentameter, no, but that doesn’t detract from the whole.  And while the rhythm of the language does not always flow perfectly, it is a masterful blending of Shakespeare and Lucas.  For example, on page 52 where Luke says the neatly blended line of “Yet is such stuff as droids are made of,” and page 73 where Han instructs, “Let me make it plain: fly casual.”

 

Where the writing shines is in the monologues.  Other writing strong points are the chorus, and the asides (especially R2D2’s).

 

My favorite part of the book is the entirety of Act V.  The gossip between Guard 1 and Guard 2 at the beginning of Act IV Scene 2, and the Emperor’s monologue which follows, as well as the final scene of the book are my favorite scenes.  The picture of Lando in a ruff with a curled mustache made me laugh and reminded me of Lew, the fish-juggler from “The Muppet Show.”  And the song, because Shakespeare very often included a song as well, was also very humorous.

 

For the sake of presenting a balanced review, here are a few minor negatives:

The breaks in rhythm, as previously mentioned.

Yoda’s grammar seems to fit in too well with much of the rest, somewhat losing it’s distinctive nature.

The ewok language reminded me of Jar Jar Binks.

Leia’s line at the beginning of Act IV Scene 1 reminded me of the Sheriff of Nottingham’s speech pattern, whenever he became frustrated in Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

 

Just two things left to say in this rather disjointed review:  1.  I will be purchasing and reading the first two books in the trilogy very soon, and 2. Ian Doescher is a clever, clever man.