Reviews for William Shakespeare's Star Wars : Verily, a New Hope

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 July

Gr 8 Up--"…In time so long ago begins our play,/In star-crossed galaxy far, far away." Inspired by the work of George Lucas and William Shakespeare, this is the story of Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope, retold as a five-act play, complete with blank verse, couplets, and Elizabethan stage directions. Even Jabba the Hutt and R2-D2 speak (or beep) in iambic pentameter. Luke, Leia, Han, Darth Vader, and the rest of the cast battle to determine the future of the galaxy while parodying various well-known lines and speeches from Richard III, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Henry V. Luke's soliloquy, "Alas, poor stormtrooper, I knew ye not," accompanied by an illustration of Luke holding up a stormtrooper helmet, is a standout comic moment, as is Leia's "songs of nonny," sung as the planet Alderaan explodes. Doescher's pseudo-Shakespearean language is absolutely dead-on; this is one of the best-written Shakespeare parodies created for this audience and it is absolutely laugh-out-loud funny for those familiar with both The Bard and Star Wars. It is most likely to be appreciated by snarky AP English students and drama club members, but an imaginative English teacher could find ways to use it in the classroom to engage reluctant readers of Shakespeare. May the verse be with you! --Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ

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VOYA Reviews 2013 December
Taking his cues from George Lucas and William Shakespeare, Doescher retells a story made popular over thirty-five years ago on the silver screen, Star Wars. The twist that makes it both interesting (and maddening for some) is that the story is retold in iambic pentameter, the type of verse in which Shakespeare wrote his plays. Readers who are already familiar with the story of Luke Skywalker and the battle that occurs in a "galaxy far, far away" will enjoy the retelling, as well as the print translation of R2D2's speech, which is rather enjoyable on its own Classroom teachers presenting the various plays of the Great Bard would benefit from the inclusion of this book, as the language will be easily understood by students who are already well versed in the cult classic movie's story line. The pen-and-ink illustrations featured sporadically throughout are well done, especially when Jabba the Hutt (although spoken of in Star Wars, was not "seen" until the re-release in 1997, so those who are sticklers for detail will most definitely find this a grievous error) wears a Shakespearean feathered cap and leg-of-mutton-sleeved jacket. Humorously portrayed, and more novelty than literature, this nod to Shakespeare will be enjoyed by readers, who will be reliving the various battle scenes in their imaginations.--Beth Green 5Q 5P M J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.