Published by Entangled Teen on February 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
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…
SUCH SWEET SORROW is an intriguing mix of Shakespeare, Norse mythology, and Greek mythology. If you’ve ever wondered what happens after Romeo and Juliet, if you can return to life after death, or what a journey through the Underworld might be like, this could be the book for you.
The author draws on two plays by Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, for her main characters. In her version, Romeo has survived, although weakened from the poison that failed to take his life. Unable to live without Juliet, he visits a witch to find out how to bring her back. The witch tells him to find the seat of a murdered king, and thus he eventually crosses paths with Hamlet. Hamlet is the keeper of a corpseway, a portal dividing the realms of the living and the dead. He offers to let Romeo use the corpseway to find Juliet, as long as Romeo reports back about his journey.
But Romeo drags Hamlet in with him, and they land in Valhalla. After the Valkyries kick them out, they go in search of Juliet. But once they find her, Romeo’s faced with a question he never considered: how do you bring the dead back to life?
SUCH SWEET SORROW has some really creative ideas. It makes so much sense to mix all the various underworlds, and I really enjoyed watching the characters traverse the different areas/mythologies. I did find the book to be a bit long, and thought the beginning/middle could have been edited down a bit, to cut out some of the more boring/slow bits. But after the boys find Juliet, the story really picks up. By the way, you don’t need to be familiar with either of the plays; the author fills in any background info as needed.
Juliet was my favorite character in the book. I liked how she grew into a confident, strong woman after reflecting on her past and realizing she didn’t want to be used or seen as just a girl anymore. She made a surprising choice at the end of the book that I applauded. The ending overall was good for me — I couldn’t see the book ending any other way, in fact.
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