Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout
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...
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Such Sweet Sorrow
By Jenny Trout, Shannon Godwin
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Jennifer Armintrout
All rights reserved.
It was the perfect night to encounter a ghost. The stars did not deign to be seen in the moonless and cloudy sky. The crashing waves against the cliffs of Elsinore may as well have been the clawing fingers of a spectral sea hoping to catch an unwary soul and pull them down, down, into the depths.
And it was fantastically cold.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, bundled his cloak tighter around his shoulders and blew on his fingers to warm them. Above his hiding place against the earthen berm that surrounded the keep, Elsinore loomed, a darker black against the impenetrable night sky. In the daylight, it was a majestic castle, with ornate spires reaching toward the heavens. At night, it looked like a forest of daggers and sharp teeth stabbing and tearing deep furrows in the clouds.
"Are you about?" a voice hissed in the darkness. Wisely, it did not call out a name.
Hamlet answered, "Here," and waited for some sign of Horatio's approach. He hoped his friend did not slip and tumble off the tall berm. Hamlet had lived at Elsinore his entire life and still he found navigating the grounds in the dark a dangerous prospect.
When two hooded figures brushed close by him, he knew how his friend had made safe passage. "You were supposed to come alone."
Horatio pushed his hood back, his face a lighter blue than the blue-black night. The man beside him pushed his cloak down, as well, his chain mail haubergeon clinking softly.
"This is Bernardo," Horatio explained in low voice. "The man who first saw it."
Bernardo dropped to one knee, his hands clasped around the hilt of his sword. "My prince."
"Get up, get up." This wasn't the time for courtly manners or identification. "Show me where."
"Yes, your highness. Yes, this way." Bernardo gestured, but it was lost to the darkness. "Begging your pardon, but I've heard rumors about your affliction —"
"You shouldn't listen to rumors," Hamlet scolded. The kingdom had been rife with speculation about the prince's affliction lately. Some whispers, that Hamlet was mad, or in league with the devil had obviously come from King Claudius and were meant to harm Hamlet. Others were merely foolish, suggesting the prince had the power to read thoughts and control the weather, and linked the storms that raged over the seas to his tempestuous moods. Some held a stroke of truth, if not the entire portrait; that Hamlet possessed a rare gift that allowed him to see the souls of the departed.
It was not rare, he'd discovered, for others to see the spirits that plagued him. After all, this lowly guard had spotted a ghost during his nightly travails. But Hamlet had never met another soul who could hear the dead, though he doubted any would admit to such a thing, at the risk of sounding mad or being accused of witchcraft. When Hamlet saw a ghost drifting among the living, that soul could speak to him, and unfortunately they all seemed to recognize this talent.
Hamlet kept his gaze on his feet, or where he estimated his feet might be. This was not a night for secret doings. On the morrow, his uncle, the newly crowned king, would marry Hamlet's mother. The merry mood of the kingdom had not affected Hamlet; to the contrary, his demeanor grew more sour by the moment.
"Although, this rumor is one you may find proves true," Horatio supplied unhelpfully, to soothe his friend's surliness.
Hamlet tried to disguise his curse whenever possible — which had, so far, been his entire life. Only Horatio knew the truth. At the university, all manner of spirits had plagued Hamlet's wakeful nights, and he'd finally confided in his friend. Still, the ability to see and communicate with ghosts wasn't the sort of thing he liked to broadcast. Bad enough being a prince, everyone wanted something from him sooner or later.
But a prince who could speak to the dead, who seemed to pull specters from the abyss under his own power ...
His father had once warned him that a king who ruled with fear would die in fear himself. How could anyone not fear a king who seemed to command spectral elements? When Hamlet was restored to the throne — the throne his uncle had stolen from him — he wanted to be loved for his good works, as his father had been, not dreaded by a resentful court who would find one way of replacing him or another.
The group of three made their way across a narrow wooden bridge that spanned the long, marshy drop. From there, they descended a short, rickety stair to a door so well hidden that even Bernardo could not find it on his first try. Once the watchman opened the door and ushered them inside, the sound of the raging sea was muffled by the thick bedrock of the cliffs.
"We met outside the castle, on a night like this, to go back inside?" Horatio muttered.
"I do not need my uncle's spies following me," Hamlet reminded him. Especially if the apparition they sought was who the guard claimed. The ceiling in the corridor was low, and dripping with moisture. Musty dampness scented the air, like the breath from some long-unopened tomb. The moonless night outside had been ink black, but the tunnel was darker. Hamlet groped along the sharp rock walls with clawed fingers, trying in vain to control his panicked gasps.
"Steady, your highness." Horatio knew of Hamlet's other affliction — his fear of close, inescapable places.
"There, your highness! There!" Bernardo whispered frantically.
Ahead of them, a light pierced the darkness. Only a mote of shimmering blue at first, it grew, swirling larger and larger, until Hamlet finally understood that his eyes had tricked him; the thing was not small at all, but far away. The tunnel wound on and on through the cliffs beneath the castle. The very thought of such a dreadful labyrinth made Hamlet's heart beat a frightful tempo, but he took a step forward, and another, as the apparition approached him.
"Your highness, you mustn't!" Bernardo warned, but Hamlet paid him no mind.
"This ghost is the reason you brought me here, is it not?" With one hand stretched out toward the specter and the other feeling along the rough wall, he forged ahead. "If it is my father, I will speak to it."
"And if it isn't your father?" Horatio warned, his voice sounding very far away in the dark. "You said yourself that spirits can deceive."
"Only if you let them." He drew closer to the apparition. The light took shape, a shroud of luminous blue falling over features that were at once familiar and strange. The high, pointed crown atop the king's noble brow was unmistakable, as were his strong profile and broad shoulders. He was like a bust carved of mist, for his chest ended in wisps of blue. His eyes, as blank and pale as a statue's, still stared, somehow, at his son, the prince.
Hearing ghosts speak was one of Hamlet's least favorite parts of the curse. The sound was like the worst winter wind howling through a haunted night, mingled with the screams of the damned and chimes like breaking glass. He knew that behind him, Bernardo and Horatio would cover their ears. For the living not afflicted with Hamlet's strange ability, the voices of the dead were no more than the howl of a chill wind and a sensation of dire foreboding. Though Hamlet could make sense of the words, the rasping, sorrowful gasps still grated down his spine, filling him with dread.
One long tendril of glowing mist beckoned like a finger, and the apparition drifted away.
"Hamlet, don't!" Horatio called. "You'll be lost in the caves."
Hamlet ground his teeth. "If I am, then I suggest you and your man Bernardo come find me."
Putting aside all thoughts of dying trapped in the belly of the earth, Hamlet followed the shade, his rational mind warring with the grief that twisted his heart. His father had died only months ago. Until the last few days, the castle had still been in mourning for him. But by Claudius's declaration, the black shrouds and grim court dress had been banished. Though the courtiers were eager to abandon their sorrow and please their new king, Hamlet's grief for his father was so fresh that he woke in the mornings forgetting, only for a moment, that the king was gone.
The spirit drifted wordlessly, drawing Hamlet deeper and deeper into the cliff below the castle. The sounds of Horatio and Bernardo were lost now, and Hamlet hoped the men still followed at a distance. He'd lost track of the twists he'd taken, the turns when the opening of a new tunnel would make itself known with a blast of cool air and the stink of fetid sea water. Ahead, a glimmer of the same strange blue as the specter flickered in the darkness. He drew closer to it, and soon the shaft of eerie luminescence lit the tunnel like a cold sun, lengthening Hamlet's shadow and highlighting the absence of one where the ghost stood. With a tendril of mist taking the shape of a skeletal finger, the ghost of his father pointed, and Hamlet turned the corner.
There, crackling and spitting like blue hell fire, a huge stone portal, oval like an eye turned on its side, radiated with the promise of menace and salvation. A freezing wind that rivaled even the most bitter seaside winter blew through the surface of the portal, which rippled with waves of light like water. All along the stone frame, ancient runes covered in mold and lichen spelled out words in a language Hamlet doubted any living person could decipher.
Wetting his lips, Hamlet resisted the urge to plunge his hand into the beckoning void. "Well," he said to the ghost, unable to tear his gaze from the looming opening, "This is wondrous strange, indeed."
* * *
The kingdom was alive in celebration, from the lowliest peasant to the highest born lord. The king himself, the murderous, traitorous king, held a wedding gala that put every past celebration in the castle of Elsinore to shame.
Hamlet might have enjoyed it, if he'd bothered to attend. Instead, he hunched over his cup in the lowest, dirtiest alehouse in all of Denmark, far from the shadow of Elsinore's cruel spires, to forget all he had seen and heard in that fearful tunnel below the keep.
It was true that Hamlet had disliked the marriage between his mother and his father's brother, on moral and religious principles. That had been before the ghost of Hamlet's father had spoken such ghastly secrets. Things Hamlet could not put out of his mind, no matter how many taverns he visited, or how long he avoided his royal family and duties.
Revenge my murder, his father had said, the words hollow on the screaming wind of his spectral voice. Protect the corpseway.
The corpseway, the unearthly portal that divided the realm of the living and the dead, would be a powerful tool in the hands of a king with a noble soul. But in the hands of a vile ruler such as his uncle ...
A devastating one.
Hamlet had been living atop it his entire life, with no notion that it existed; perhaps it was to blame for his affliction. Even if it wasn't, he finally understood his father's repeated warnings to avoid the caverns below the keep. If young Hamlet had found the portal, his curious nature might have rendered him dead Hamlet, the lost prince.
It was testament to his father's greatness as king that he had not used the portal to his own ends ... but how King Hamlet had known about the corpseway remained a mystery that maddened his son. Had his father shared his gift? Why hadn't he told him? These were answers Hamlet sorely needed, but his father's spirit had vanished before he'd thought to ask them.
The existence of the corpseway did not trouble Hamlet half so much as his father's charge to avenge him. For though Hamlet had never believed his father had been poisoned by a snake bite — and as a result, he'd taken numerous and paranoid precautions against assassination in the months after the king's death — he'd also never suspected that the king's own brother could be implicated in a murder so foul.
Yet the spirit had insisted: The serpent that did sting thy father's life now wears his crown.
Not only was Hamlet charged with hiding the secret of the corpseway from his treacherous uncle, but he'd also agreed to regicide and treason. Though he'd fantasized about the joy he would feel in sending his father's assassin to hell, those fantasies had not ended with Hamlet's own neck on the block, an event that would certainly come to fruition should his uncle catch wind of Hamlet's oath to avenge his father's death.
And spirits, even familiar spirits, could not always be trusted.
The bench on which he sat rocked as new occupants took up the space beside him. Someone brushed his arm and upset his cup.
Hamlet lifted his head, squinting at the fellow. Young, about Hamlet's own age. Like Hamlet, he was tall and handsome, but his hair was black as a raven's feather, where Hamlet's was pale gold. The stranger's eyes were dark, and there they also differed, as they did in build; Hamlet wondered if the other young man's slenderness was a result of starvation or sickness.
"What are you doing here?" Hamlet asked, leaning his cheek on his hand, elbow propped firmly against the long wooden table he slumped over. "You sound strange."
"Because I am a stranger." The Italian was in a surly mood, despite his pretty appearance. Next to him, an older man in monk's robes with a monk's tonsure shorn into his hair cast his furtive gaze about the alehouse, as if waiting for sin or vice to assail them from every corner.
Figuring he might have better luck with a man of the cloth, Hamlet slurred, "Don't worry, father. No one would dare trouble you here. We may be fierce Northerners, but we do have religion."
The friar responded in a rolling babble that took Hamlet a moment to decipher. When he did, he replied in the same tongue, "Ah, Italians are you? I never much cared for the language myself, but it is terrifically easy to rhyme."
"We did not come here for a language lesson," the handsome one snapped in his native speech. His hair was shorn quite short, and he ran a hand over it in a self-conscious gesture that suggested he might not be so surly and forbidding as he wanted people to think. "Kindly mind your own business."
"I'm not in the business of minding my own business. Not anymore. Bad things happen when people mind their own business." Hamlet had come to the tavern to drink away his dark thoughts, not invite new ones in. But the strangers were so intriguing, he could not help but think of them as a portent; after all, how many foreigners found their way this far north, with no clear purpose for being there? Speaking to his father's ghost had made him both suspicious and curious at once. "You didn't come here for a language lesson. What did you come here for?"
"Shelter," the friar spoke up, laying a warning hand on his companion's arm. "Shelter and something to eat, before our pilgrimage carries us far from here. We wish no quarrel."
In taking stock of the pretty man's appearance, Hamlet had already noted the spider's web of silver guarding the hilt of a sword beneath his cloak. They wanted no quarrel, but they had not come unprepared should one arise. Why did a pilgrim need so fine a blade? "I want no quarrel with you, either. Indulge a poor drunkard's curiosity. Where do you journey? You're Italian, that means you came from the South. Or perhaps you're traveling homeward? Where did you come from? There's nothing above us but sea, and beyond the sea, more Northerners. Worse than us, even."
"Would you kindly shut your mouth?" The younger man no longer masked his fury. The conversations around them quieted.
The priest was quick to calm his companion. "Now, wait, wait. You are tired and discouraged, that much is true. But perhaps this man could help us. We've come this far, Romeo."
With a pained sigh and a flexing of fingers into a fist that Hamlet deduced was meant for his face, the man called Romeo said, "I am on a quest."
"I suppose I didn't realize people went on quests anymore." The idea held a world of appeal to Hamlet. Striking out for an adventure, with a purpose, seemed far less dangerous than staying within his uncle's reach. "What kind of quest?"
Romeo's patience had worn visibly thin. "We came here because I was told to go north, to the seat of a murdered king, at a castle by the sea. Now we're here, where a living king sits in his castle by the sea, and I've no idea how to proceed. Is that enough for you, or would you like to sketch us so you'll have something to remember us by?"
Excerpted from Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout, Shannon Godwin. Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Armintrout. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dark, romantic, and absolutely amazing! Such Sweet Sorrow was a brilliant YA romance/retelling. I absolutely loved this book! From the depiction of Shakespeare's characters, to the thrills, to the unexpected twist, this book was perfection. I have to admit, I was a bit worried going in to this book. The author was taking on huge characters and changing their stories. And, because of how much I adore Shakespeare, it would only have taken one slip for me to be completely turned off from the book. But, I think she did it brilliantly. She took the characters and made them her own in an original way that still stayed true to them. So, I thought that was perfect. All three major characters were wonderful. Romeo was so determined and entirely devoted to the woman he loved. He proved that his declarations of love weren't meaningless, staying true to them even against death. He was very sweet and I adored him character. Juliet was also lovely. She was strong and held her own in a dangerous world. And, she was very loyal to Romeo, determined that he should make it out of the afterlife alive, even if she had to remain dead. She fought for her loved ones and proved herself as a heroine. I really liked her. The romance between these famous lovers were so sweet. Their feelings for each other were obvious in everything they did and I thought they were a lovely couple. Hamlet was a little more difficult to understand. He was aloof and utterly incapable of understanding other people's emotions and disinclined to spare them. But, when he came to consider a person his friend, he would fight all the way for them. I thought he was fantastic. The plot was fast paced and I was hooked the entire way through. There were tons of thrills along the way that kept me on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed the story and that twist at the end left me stunned. The ending was bittersweet and I both loved it and resented it, for giving the hope of a happy ending, but not assuring it for me. There was a hint of more things to come at the end, but I haven't yet heard of a sequel. I really hope there will be one, because I'm not ready to let go of these newly imagined characters yet. Such Sweet Sorrow was a brilliant YA read. From the romance, to the thrills, to the shocking twists, this book was amazing. I completely and totally adored this book! YA lovers, romance lovers, and Shakespeare lovers, this a book you don't want to miss. *I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Such Sweet Sorrow is such a wonderful book, not only does it bring two wonderful Shakespearean tales together, but it takes you on a brand new adventure filled with amazing creatures. I cannot tell you enough how much I loved this book. When Romeo took the poison to kill himself, the poison backfired, not only was he still alive but the poison made him weak. Seeking the help of a witch to find Juliet, Romeo sets off to get help from Hamlet, the prince of Denmark. Hoping that together they can get his lovely wife back from the dead. I was head over heels in love with this book ever since I read the synopsis. This book was such a wonderful read, I loved every part of it. It is absolutely perfect for all the Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet fans out there who want more to the story. But the author was so amazing, that she wrote it so that even if you haven't read the original story by Shakespeare, you can still enjoy this story as equally as anyone. I have never truly liked Romeo, I'm not sure if its because he is usually portrayed as a bad guy in other books who spin off on the original story, but even then I wasn't a big fan. This book definitely changed my opinion. In the beginning, I was like "Oh great, another story where Romeo is a selfish guy and all he can think about is love." My statement was true in the beginning, but by the end of the book, we see a new side to Romeo where he learns what he's been doing wrong and he truly becomes a greater character. I wasn't expecting this to happen, it definitely surprised me and I loved it. I was really impressed with Juliet in this book. I don't want to talk about it too much because I don't want to spoil it, but trust me when I say that you will definitely love her. She is not the same fragile girl you know of. Hamlet, where to begin. He was absolutely perfect in this whole story. If only he wasn't like 500 years old (or however long ago Shakespeare wrote the story) I would totally marry him. He is probably the smartest and bravest prince I have ever known in the history of all the books I read. He may not be the best at fighting, but when he does fight he uses his brain which definitely helps him in the end. He is witty and awesome and I loved everything about him. The wold-building in this story is absolutely fantastic as well as all the characters. This re-telling of Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet is better than the original in my opinion. I am so thankful that I received this book and was able to be on this tour with Rockstar Tours. This book was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend this to everyone, I guarantee you 99.9% that you will love it.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the free digital book of Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout! I was instantly intrigued by the story in the prologue because I knew I would be discovering what happens after Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet ends. Then, the first chapter brings Hamlet into the after mix and his story begins where Shakespeare's Hamlet left off. I was pulled in even more! Romeo and Hamlet travel through Valhalla to try to complete their individual missions and they deal with love, battles, intense warriors and extreme conditions. This story is cleverly written and imagined and it is also complete fun! I give it 5 stars!
I thought this story was just fine. It was nothing excitable or noteable for me. I liked the general idea of the story but not the story itself. I like the idea of Romeo not perishing and is on a quest to find his beloved. I liked the different trials and tricks that they endured but other than that, that's it. I did not the meshing of characters from different Shakespeare's plays. I thought it odd them coming together but I can totally understand why the author did it. It worked out in a way but no. I did not like all the mythology just thrown together. The story just spewed random mythology from Greek, to Norse, to even Celtic, among others. I did not like that at all. The characters were exasperating at times. I did not feel for them and wouldn't have cared if anything happened to them. I don't know, this just wasn't a story for me...
I was really excited to get reading Such Sweet Sorrow by author Jenny Trout once I read the premise of the novel: what happens to Romeo and Juliet after their story ends with Hamlet thrown into the mix. While I haven’t read Hamlet yet but I have read Romeo & Juliet, I was interested in seeing this new twist where Romeo will go to retrieve Juliet from the land of the dead. By the time the novel had finished I was pumped and hopeful for a sequel. In Such Sweet Sorrow, the poison that Romeo took to kill himself in Juliet’s tomb doesn’t work and he begins to live his life overcome with guilt for what has happened to her. After visiting a witch, Romeo is told to head north where a murdered king ruled and comes across Hamlet. Hamlet and Romeo become reluctant allies as both of them want to retrieve something from the world of the dead and Hamlet is the only person who can bring Romeo to the Afterjord. Upon entering the Aferjord, Romeo and Hamlet both find that this will be a hard task to accomplish. Having to fight through beasts beyond their wildest imaginations, encountering worlds meant for sinners and for fierce warriors, and meeting Valkyries— Retrieving Juliet will be far more difficult than they think. What I really liked about Such Sweet Sorrow was how the characters Romeo and Juliet were re-invented. They weren’t the exact same blinded-by-love, foolish characters that they were in the original play. In the length of time that Romeo has spent mourning Juliet his character has developed a lot more. He isn’t the same guy who tried to kill himself because Juliet was dead, he isn’t the same guy who would act without his plan being thought through at least a little bit. This was one thing that majorly effected how much I liked the novel. Another thing that had me worried was the fact that I have never read Hamlet. I don’t know the first thing about his character, his play or anything. Author Jenny Trout does a very good job at describing Hamlet’s character and his situation without confusing the reader. I got to know his character, his story and I have to say that I am a lot more interested in reading Hamlet now (not to mention what a total badass he was in this novel). Apart from the two main characters, the world that Such Sweet Sorrow is set in—the Afterjord—was crazy. It’s basically the world of the dead filled with multiple worlds for an afterlife. The boys have to fight beasts that I didn’t even imagine they would have to face, leaving the Afterjord begins to seem impossible and it’s just such a strange setting. It’s both light and dark. There are parts of it that are paradise and then there are parts that must be Hell. Very imaginative. Judging by how Such Sweet Sorrow reached its end, I have no doubt in my mind that there will be a sequel. Which I am dying for. Such Sweet Sorrow is a well-written, unique continuation of what must have happened after Romeo & Juliet that I enjoyed every moment of. It’s a dark adventure that doesn’t focus so much on the romance as it does on the action. The best of every single world. I would recommend Such Sweet Sorrow to readers who have been wondering ‘what happens after Romeo & Juliet? And do they end up going to some hellish realm?’ Readers who are fans of adventure novels or just want a story that keeps them on the edge of their seat will love Such Sweet Sorrow.
Juliet is dead but Romeo won't give her up. He has survived the poison and now following the clues a witch has given him he goes to find Hamlet who is the key to getting him into Afterjord and bringing Juliet back. Hamlet doesn't have the crown of his murdered father but he does have his gift. When Romeo ask him for help getting Juliet back Hamlet agrees as he wants some adventure and maybe the chance to avenge his father. The underworld doesn't let it's souls go back easily and finding Juliet is only the beginning. They must fight Valkyrie warriors, fire giants and many more monsters. They also all learn something about their selves. This was a very interesting book as it has many twist and turns. Romeo is very headstrong and stubborn. He will let nothing stop him from getting Juliet back. He jumps in a lot of times before he thinks and it shows. You can't deny he loves Juliet with everything he has but I have to say I didn't care for him a whole lot. Hamlet has an ability to go into the Afterjord and he is dealing with his father being murdered, his mom remarrying and so much more. He likes an adventure and once he likes you he will have you back through anything. Juliet for me was the highlight of the book. She saves the guys many times and is a really strong female character in this book. She may be scared but many times it doesn't show. I enjoyed this book after I got past the first couple of chapters. At first for me the book was slow but once in the Afterjord it really picked up and I loved all the different creatures they have to face their. It is full danger and they all have to dig deep and look inside to find the drive to really push through everything the underworld can throw at them. Once the action started I didn't want it to end. You get to see different sides to these characters and the bonds that they grow. If wanted more of these characters or ever wonder what happened or what if you may enjoy this one.
Romeo and Juliet with monsters, mythology and more - who wouldn't be intrigued. I hate to say that I am not a Romeo and Juliet fan, nevertheless, I couldn't resist reading this novel and discovering the unique take Jennifer Trout has created with this timeless love story. Not only do we have Romeo and Juliet, but Trout has also incorporate Hamlet in the mix as well. Stir that all together with witches, sirens, monsters, and ghosts, and add a measure of mythology and the result cooks up to be a paranormal tale of a classic that even the gods would be curious to read. Overall, I enjoyed this and I'm glad I took the time to check it out.
I've never liked Romeo and Juliet much. Though I have a huge likeness for romance books, but the story of Romeo and Juliet wasn't really for me. Unlike that though, this one was far better. The story started off quite well. Romeo's determination to find Juliet was really described very nicely. Although the characters of Romeo and Hamlet felt a little flat at first and was hard to relate to, the storyline covered it up well. The theme of underworld was really interesting. I always have a fascination for stories dealing with underworld. This story was no exception. Though the starting seemed a bit stagnant to me, once the story moved forward I could easily enjoy everything about it. I liked the character of Juliet for a change. She seemed strong, unlike the original version of Juliet. And her willingness to make sure Romeo is alright was really good. Hamlet seemed fine too. I wasn't totally in love him or anything, but then again, I was NEVER in love with the real Hamlet. SO I didn't expect that to happen here either :P The writing style was pretty good.I was afraid it might be one of those heavy-weighted-dialogue books, but thankfully enough, it wasn't. One good thing about the plot is that its a mix of everything, romance, bromance :P , adventure, trouble and to top it of- underworld. I was hooked from the later half. Plus, all of it comes wrapped in a really pretty cover, what more can you ask for? *Received a review copy from Entangled Teen in exchange for an honest review.*
I was drawn to this book by the gorgeous cover and because it is a classic retelling that combines two of Shakespeare's plays. I was really curious about what would happen when Hamlet and Romeo meet each other! The writing is light and tells the story with a grace and humor that doesn't bog the story down in details. While I'm typically fond of reads that really get into the world building, I was perfectly happy with the levity of the storytelling in Such Sweet Sorrow. It gives a nice contrast to the dark underworld that Hamlet and Romeo enter, showcasing the craziness that they have entered. Hamlet especially fits into this world with his indifferent, yet inquisitive, personality, and plays a nice foil to Romeo's overly passionate yet serious nature. Juliet is a pleasant addition to the narration that I wasn't expecting. She's grown stronger through the trials she's faced in pursuing her love with Romeo, and she holds her own in the company of the two men, owning her vulnerabilities in the face of danger. She's a girl that I can respect. Another surprise was the Norse mythology that is incorporated into the world building. Though one normally wouldn't associate Norse mythology with Shakespeare, it fits really well into this story because it grounds Elsinore (Hamlet's home) in a somewhat familiar world, and it brings an interesting cast of mythological characters into the Afterjord. I especially love the two ravens and their quirky personalities, Fenrir, and the Fates. Also, I plain love Norse mythology. It's really too bad that we don't get to see any of the Afterjord characters for very long because the trio is always on the move. The group don't encounter as much danger and excitement as I was hoping to see in their adventures in the Afterjord. While their lives are often in peril, and I like the episodic nature of their journey, they're never in any one danger long enough for the suspense to really build; there isn't a single great threat looming over their heads. On top of that, help even comes to them in the midst of their journey instead of leaving them to figure out what they need to do by themselves. With their lack of knowledge about the workings of the Afterjord and their powerlessness to control where they go next, it does seem like an impossible request to ask them to solves things on their own, but it would help greatly with moving the plot forward in a way other than changing the scenery and having monsters harrass the group. Though the light writing suits this novel, it could have used a little more world building. The Afterjord is a really interesting world, and I feel there is potential lost in not immersing the reader more in it. In addition, I don't think some of the aspects of the Afterjord have been properly developed. For example, even though Juliet cannot die, why can she feel pain one moment and then later on in the novel, Hamlet decides that she can't feel pain and sends her into battle? There are some other inconsistencies, but I didn't think to take notes at the time and can't remember them off the top of my head. The pacing also got rushed towards the end. As I kept nearing the end of the novel, there were several plot threads that needed wrapping up. The part with Juliet at the end felt especially rushed, and some things weren't touched at all. I'm guessing there's going to be a second novel coming out, but I can't find any information on it at all at this point in time. Overall, this was a quirky, enjoyable read. I love the three main characters; it was a joy to watch them grow a deep friendship with each other. I was rooting for them the whole journey through the Afterjord and would be interested in reading another book about them. (Especially because there are some plotlines that need to be addressed!)
Shakespeare + Mythology = One Imaginative Story! *I received an eARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was hooked from the synopsis. Come on, it's Shakespeare's characters in an epic fantasy, battling foes to save the girl. But this book was so much more than the synopsis led on. Such Sweet Sorrow was incredibly entertaining, with charming characters, intensely rich action-filled scenes, undeniable courage, and true love. The book is told in the 3rd person narrative, which I love, and that made sense considering that there were really three main characters. I loved the author's writing style, and how she drew me in from the very beginning. It sort of had the lyrical style of a later time period with comical relief and desperate undertones. I loved all of the characters! Each one of them had their own personalities, and even seemed like how they really acted (or maybe acted, as I can't remember Romeo and Juliet very well) in Shakespeare's plays. Romeo is the hot-tempered and tortured fighter. Hamlet is the slightly mad genius who learns what it means to have friends. And Juliet is the sweet and innocent girl who defied her family to be with her true love. Each of them had a role to play; each of them learned something in the end. And each of them helped bring the story to life. I loved their interactions and how they never gave up. But I think my favorite may just be Romeo. Ooh, he plays the part of the snarky bad boy well. ;) The plot was really intense and friggin' crazy! There was so much going on, so many obstacles in their path, so many damn enemies to battle. Not just monsters, but their own minds. It was a winding path of adventure, courage, and sacrifice. Romeo, Hamlet, and Juliet had to learn how to work together to make it out of there. Let's just say, it didn't end how I expected it to. PLEASE TELL ME THERE IS ANOTHER BOOK! Like, seriously! I WANT MORE. Such Sweet Sorrow was remarkably well-done. It had amazing, real characters who were fearful yet braved the elements for love, friendship, and home. The action scenes were intense and sometimes scary. The use of Shakespeare and his literary works was brilliant. I loved how all of the mythological aspects tied together to create this terrifying hell. It was so good that I found myself dreading the end.
Unique Mix of Shakespeare & Mythology *I received this book in exchange for an honest review.* Take Romeo & Juliet, add Hamlet, and mix in some Greek and Norse mythology and you'll get Such Sweet Sorrow. A couple of months ago, I really wasn't a fan of Shakespeare. (Yes, I know, I know that sounds crazy coming from an English Lit major). Before, I probably wouldn't have picked this book up. But that all changed when I took a Shakespeare class this fall -- it was challenging, but I came to appreciate his work. And it's no secret that I'm addicted to mythology and the paranormal. So this book kind of just called out to me. Beyond the Shakespeare, I LOVED that Jenny used the story of Morpheus and Eurydice. This is one of my favorite myths, and one that usually is overshadowed by the Hades/Persephone myth, especially right now in YA. And what better couple to use than the end-all epic couple of all time - Romeo & Juliet. It seems like a lot -- two of the most famous plays (Name one high school graduate in America that didn't study either Romeo&Juliet or Hamlet) crossing 'worlds'. That is enough to make the book interesting. So the paranormal aspects just added the cherry on top of the icing on top of the cake. First of all, the cover is gorgeous. Yes, it's another pretty girl in a pretty dress, BUT this one works with the theme of the book. And I really just loved the title. From the first sentence of the prologue, I was glued to the story. Romeo somehow survives the poison, but is filled with grief and guilt over the death of Juliet. More so, he is worried that his wife is stuck in hell and cannot bear the thought that she will be tortured for eternity. He is willing to go wherever and do whatever it takes to free her. When a witch confirms she is in fact in that tortured agony, she sends Romeo to the kingdom "far north" with the recently murdered king. Enter Hamlet. Hamlet was such an interesting character. Actually, they all were. I loved how Jenny took these stories and retold and intertwined them in such an interesting and fresh way. The characters were so well-developed and Jenny did a great job of bringing them to life beyond the famous plays. I have to say what Jenny Trout did is pretty remarkable, because this story had a lot of potential to fail. There was just so much epic tale involved, that if not done right, it could have just been a disaster. But luckily, it was quite the opposite, leaving me a little breathless and wanting more. Rating 4/5 stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 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.
My Thoughts - 4 out of 5 Unicorns - I really liked it!!! What if Romeo lived and met Hamlet??? Great story, I hope there's a book 2!! ***Received ebook from Entangled Publishing for an honest review The cover is hauntingly beautiful, and it really attracts you to the book. If it wasn’t for Entangled, I might not know about author Jenny Trout. Her story is sort of a what if Shakespeare’s Hamlet met Romeo & Juliet in Norse mythology. It is a very unique, and at first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. It was slow to grow, but it is definitely a story I’m glad I read. I’m hoping that this is the start of a series because I want to see what happens next. It is hard to describe this more without ruining the story, so I’m going to stick to my impressions of the characters. Hamlet starts as a drunk lost in his grief over the loss of his father, his crown, and his mother’s support. Through this journey, he becomes a great man and friend to Romeo and Juliet. Romeo is very ill from poison, but he will stop at nothing to be reunited with Juliet. Juliet is dead. Can she return to the real world, what would this cause, or does she have another purpose? Juliet starts as the delicate flower but has proven to be fierce as they battle the creatures and tests thrown in their path. She has grown into the female heroine that I prefer who will save herself rather than sitting idly by waiting to be rescued in the tower. I recommend this book to YA fans who enjoy paranormal especially if you like what if stories (like what if Romeo lived???). Please say there will be another book in this series :) I want more :)