The Phantom of Menace
(William Shakespeare’s Star Wars’ Part the First)

The Phantom of Menace

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this book for free in exchange
for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post
as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.
The Phantom of Menace
By
Ian Doescher

Publication Date: April7, 2015
at Quirk Books
Hardcover
Exists also as e-book

Pages: 171
ISBN: 978-1594748066
Genre: Play / Science Fiction

Source: Received
from the publisher

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This book counts for the following Reading Challenge:  

     New-Release-Challenge  

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

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Having enjoyed so much William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Trilogy, time has come to turn to the prequel! The Phantom of Menace is the first installment, just as enjoyable as the first 3 volumes! And did you see this gorgeous cover?


The Chorus opening the Play sets up the tone and the drama:

Alack! What dreadful turmoil hath beset
The strong Republic and its bonds of peace.
O’ver distant trade routs all do sign and fret
As fears of grim taxation do increase.

In time so long ago begins our play,
In troubl’d galaxy far, far away.
p.7

Ian Doescher keeps excelling at combining the genius of Shakespeare with the masterpiece of pop culture, all in iambic pentameters. That’s quite a feat to write about anything in pentameters in the first place (have you tried?), but to retell this famous story and keep its suspense as well as the characteristics of each character is pure genius. Not to mention the fun and humor of it all!

I thought it was fantastic to make Rumor into a real character, quite Shakespearean indeed:

RUMOR:
See how, with mere suggestion of a tax,
Begin star wars that shall your eyes amaze.
p. 10

They are really hilarious passages, such as this one, after a gas attack:

NUTE [to battle droids]
For certain they are dead by now — since these
Two Jedi are not politicians, they
Are not with hot air fill’d, and thus have not
The stores of breath essential to survive.
p.16

The author faced a special challenge with the language of the Gungans and Jar Jar Binks and turned it into something quite entertaining.

I liked how Doescher highlighted the theme of duality at many levels, including Shmi’s desire to keep Skywalker to herself and to let him go at the same time.

VERDICT: For fans of Star Wars and Shakespeare,  this book offers a refreshing look at how it all began. Tension, suspense and humor are all present. Not to miss.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

O THREEPIO, THREEPIO, WHEREFORE ART THOU, THREEPIO?

Join us, good gentles, for a merry reimagining of Star Wars: episode 1 as only Shakespeare could have written it. The entire saga starts here, with a thrilling tale featuring a disguised queen, a young hero, and two fearless knights facing a hidden, vengeful enemy.

’Tis a true Shakespearean drama, filled with sword fights, soliloquies, and doomed romance . . . all in glorious iambic pentameter and coupled with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations. Hold on to your midi-chlorians:
 The play’s the thing, wherein you’ll catch the rise of Anakin!

[provided by the publisher]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ian DoescherIan is a Portland native, and lives in Portland with his spouse and two children.
He has a B.A. in Music from Yale University,
a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School,
and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary.
He is currently the Creative Director at Pivot Group LLC, a full service marketing,
research and web agency in Portland, Oregon.
[FROM HIS WEBSITE].
You can follow him on Twitter @iandoescher

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