Reviewing: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher (and William Shakespeare, and George Lucas)


This book (script?) made me unreasonably happy. I love Star Wars, and I love Shakespeare (mostly, King Lear still gives me the nervous sweats when I think about the time we had to study it. Did you know there are three versions at least? THREE) and even if this ended up just being a bit of fun, I was definitely going to read it. I actually ended up not only enjoying it much more than I thought I would in terms of actual literary reading, but also wondering why productions of this aren’t widely done. Seriously, I would go watch this in a heartbeat – because it’s not just a bit of fun, it’s actually and legitimately good.

Shakespeare plays and Star Wars, it turns out, are not so different. We have mistaken identity, fights of honour, evil schemes, forbidden love…okay the part where it all happens in space and there’s aliens and blaster guns is a bit different but you get my drift. As with any Shakespeare play (I find), it can take a little while for your head to go from modern speech to Shakespearean (especially if you’re watching it and have no time to go back and re-read) but once you make the jump, reading it is easy and hilarious. I swear to god, R2-D2 ACTUALLY SAYS ‘beep boop beep’ – I don’t know what I was expecting, but the realisation that they had written this made me cackle – and then the sneaky little shit uses actual words when he’s speaking alone or to the audience.

Doescher mixes expertly recognisable moments and lines from the film – ‘O help/ Me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, help. Thou art/ Mine only hope.’ – as well as from Shakespeare – ‘I bite my thumb at thee’ and ‘find me a grave man’ being two examples – but it also blends them into often hilarious lines which gave me great joy. At one point, Luke says ‘Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears’ and I was delighted. It’s rare that I actually laugh while reading, but I spent quite a lot of my time reading this snickering to myself and alarming both my fiancée and our dog.

The illustrations in this book are beautiful. Seriously, I’m willing to bet several have been turned into tattoos. Though I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sight of Jabba the Hutt in Shakespearean garb.

You want to see it don’t you?

Okay then, since I’m so good to you, here it is.

You’re not going to forget that in a hurry, are you?

Honestly though, I absolutely loved this. We’re buying the rest of the series. That’s right, I fully intend on reading the entirety of the ongoing Star Wars storyline in iambic pentameter. We actually own ‘The Force Doth Awaken’ already, because Lauren knows me incredibly well and understands that a sure-fire way to make me smile is to put BB-8 in a tiny Shakespearean hat. Here’s a sneak peek.

I look at that when I’m sad and it usually solves the problem instantly.

I would honestly recommend this to fans of Shakespeare, Star Wars, or both. It’s not just a parody, it’s a well-constructed, loving homage to both and it is actually brilliant. I can’t wait to see how much of a drama queen Kylo Ren is when he’s allowed to use words like ‘verily’ and ‘thou’.

Would you guys be interested in a series review? Let me know!

Overall rating: 📖📖📖📖📖 5 books out of 5

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