Thursday, 30 January 2014

Review: Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout

Title: Such Sweet Sorrow
Author: Jenny Trout
Release date: February 4th 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Format: eARC
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher

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…

This is definitely different from any paranormal I've read before! Jenny Trout infuses Shakespeare, Greek and Norse mythology, and some awesome creatures in this action-packed debut. I was surprised when the mythology was added in, and I think that was a nice touch to the feel of the book. It certainly made things more interesting. In addition to the lovely alliteration in the title of the novel, Such Sweet Sorrow has an equally lovely storyline, one that I enjoyed being a part of for a while.

I've read slightly modern and abridged versions of both Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, but that was years ago so I can barely remember the plays. I did recognize all the characters mentioned, though, and who they were. I think that's a good thing to know before reading this novel, since these two plays are referenced quite a bit. They have to be, since Such Sweet Sorrow shares its main characters with some of Shakespeare's. I found it really cool to see a different version of these characters, and I liked that Trout still maintained their core personalities. At least, from what I can remember of the original ones.

This novel starts off with Romeo still distraught from Juliet's death and resorting to asking a witch for help. She leads him and the Friar to Hamlet's castle, where Romeo and Hamlet find out that they can help each other. They end up going to the Afterjord to save Juliet and bring her back. Well, Romeo does. Hamlet just ends up going because Romeo pulls him in. But he proves to be indispensable to the star-crossed lovers. The three of them face incredibly dangerous obstacles and cruel tricks during their fight to get back home. But will Juliet still be the same? And can Romeo and Hamlet really trust each other? Everything is put to the test in the Afterjord.

I adored the writing in this book. I was a little concerned about it before reading, but it flows so smoothly and it's the perfect blend of Shakespearean and modern English. However, I'm not a fan of third person and in this case I think it made me feel disconnected from the characters. It's great getting all three perspectives, but sometimes it got a little jumbled up, and you'd never know when you'd get whose point of view.

I did like the characters though, and I think they were created really well. Juliet is really badass, and I loved her sarcastic quips. She's tough and strong, and it's obvious how much she loves Romeo. And how much he loves her. I mean, he did go into practically hell to get her back. He was a little hard to like at first but he grew on me over the course of the novel.

But my favourite character out of the three has to be Hamlet. He's a bit prickly and doesn't let people in, but his aloofness is just a front. He really begins to care about Romeo and Juliet both, and they're probably the first people he's ever cared for. Apart from his dad and Horatio, of course. Hamlet tells it like it is, he doesn't sugarcoat anything. And he's pretty damn hilarious. The relationship I liked most in this book is the growing friendship between Hamlet and Romeo, because even though they got off on the wrong foot and it takes quite a while for them to warm to each other, they're really close in the end. Like they've known each other forever.

There's a lot of action scenes throughout the book, since the trio has to face innumerable obstacles and fight an insane amount of creatures. We get to see Fenrir the wolf, Valkyrie, and even the Norns. There's quite a bit of Norse mythology in this story, with a few mentions of Greek. I really liked that, since I now know quite a bit of the Norse gods from other books I've read.

The beginning quarter was a bit slow for me, and I was impatiently waiting for something to happen. I think the point where they find Juliet is where it gets interesting. The ending wrapped up a little too fast for me, but overall I really enjoyed reading this. If you're a huge Shakespeare fan, I don't know if this is for you, since you probably wouldn't want to see the characters you love portrayed in a completely different way. But who knows, maybe you'd like that. So give this one a try. And if you aren't big on Shakespeare, you should definitely check this out, it's a great paranormal twist on the plays!

*Thank you to Heather at Entangled Publishing for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

1 comment:

  1. My co-blogger had this one as her wow picks not so long ago and I found this book really interesting. It means a lot that you loved writing here and that the characters sound great. It sounds like a really nice read overall. Great review :)

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