A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison

A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison

Release Date: September 1, 2013
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

There's a girl who could throw herself head first into life and forge an unbreakable name, an identity that stands on its own without fathers or brothers or lovers who devour and shatter.
Sixteen-year-old Ophelia Castellan will never be just another girl at Elsinore Academy. Seeing ghosts is not a skill prized in future society wives. Even when she takes her pills, the bean sidhe beckon, reminding her of a promise to her dead mother.

Now, in the wake of the Headmaster's sudden death, the whole academy is in turmoil, and Ophelia can no longer ignore the fae. Especially once she starts seeing the Headmaster's ghosts- two of them- on the school grounds.

At the center of her crumbling world is Dane, the Headmaster's grieving son. He, too, understands the power of a promise to a parent- even a dead one. To him, Ophelia is the only person not tainted by deceit and hypocrisy, a mirror of his own broken soul. And to Ophelia, Dane quickly becomes everything. Yet even as she gives more of herself to him, Dane slips away. Consumed by suspicion, rage, and madness, he spirals towards his tragic fate- dragging Ophelia, and the rest of Elsinore, with him.

Yet even in the face of certain death, Ophelia has a choice to make- and a promise to keep. She is not the girl others want her to be. But in Dot Hutchison's dark and sensuous debut novel, the name "Ophelia" is as deeply, painfully, tragically real as "Hamlet".

Wow. I was totally BLOWN AWAY by this book! I studied Hamlet in school last year, and I honestly thought it was one of the best of Shakespeare's plays that I've read. He's brilliant with his works and every single word practically leads to something else. That's why I must admit I was in total English-analyzation mode when it came to A Wounded Name.
First off, I was completely drawn to that cover. GORGEOUS. I could gaze at it for hours and hours and never be bored with it. I think it really represents Ophelia physically as well as her character's traits. Anyway, as I was saying, I was captured by the cover, and I knew no matter what, I had to read this book... for the sake of the cover. Later on after I got approved to read this one, I found out that it was a Hamlet retelling. I was so pumped! I love, love, LOVE Hamlet and I thought this would be a brilliant take on it. Turns out, I was totally right.

This book actually took me a while to get through because it was a pretty long book, and also at times I found myself drawn into and lingering on the gorgeous language that Dot Hutchison uses. I felt that this book was really accurate when it came to a retelling. The underlying meaning which is apparent in Hamlet after many hours of reading and re-reading and reading it over again, studying endlessly and looking at Shakespeare's choices, came through in this book. For example, the character of Reynaldo in this book was completely the same as the character in the original. I freaked out with glee when it says he "pawed" through Ophelia's contents. This could seriously be taken as a literary text to study for further reading for Hamlet just because Dot Hutchison makes all the choices that embody the original play whole-heartedly.
There was only one tiny part of the book that I didn't like which was the fact that a lot of the lines are practically straight out of Hamlet, just slightly modernized. Since this is a contemporary retelling, I thought it was weird that characters would actually say lines like that, because I mean, come on– which teenager talks Shakespearean English in this day and age? I just thought that it took a little away from the whole concept of a modern retelling, even though it did bring out a more literal meaning of the original text. It was almost as if the lines were completely translated into a language that we today could read with ease and understanding. Maybe it's just me, but oh well. This was the only thing I didn't enjoy from the text.

Ophelia's character in the original play text, to be frank, is pretty sad. I feel really sorry for her because she's always having to obey the commands of her father Polonius and her brother Laertes. Her character in this book is pretty much the same, except we do see her growing and maturing into someone who can't be pushed around as much as before. She still has that position of being more in the background, even so in this book where she's the main character. However, the fact that Dot Hutchison is able to turn that around and make her a character who can easily blend into the background, missed by almost everyone and hear everything that happens around Elsinore Academy, is absolutely fantastic. I really enjoyed looking at the events that come across from her perspective, as it gives us her take on what happens between the first and second family, as well as her unraveling the mystery of how Hamlet died and that Claudius is to blame.
I'm a sucker for Hamlet's character (the younger) in the main text, and Dane was a perfect embodiment of his character. Wild, reckless and the bad boy, he's got the passion to play the character that the original Hamlet was. I also loved Horatio's character–and loved the slight twist on his character in this book–because he was always there for Dane and Ophelia, headstrong, and truly "the best of them". The fact that all the characters (apart from Dane) keep their original names really helped me to connect A Wounded Name to Hamlet.

A Wounded Name was gorgeous, seductively enthralling, and dark. It's clearly a book that all fans of the original will enjoy, as well as people who want something other than a happy ending. Breathless and mesmerizing, Dot Hutchison's debut has undoubtedly nailed it spot-on.

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1 comment:

  1. Yay for another positive review of this-I really enjoyed reading it too especially with its gorgeous writing but I've seen quite a few negative reviews since then, making me worried that not many people will check it out.


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