Published by Entangled: Teen on February 4th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Mythology, Retellings, Fantasy
The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.
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 quite literally an unwritten sequel to Romeo and Juliet coinciding with Hamlet with a dark twist, or in other words, a bridge between the end of one Shakespeare play and the beginning of another.
I personally liked Trout’s version of Romeo as he journeys to Denmark in the quest to save Juliet from death – he’s much more spunky, but he has his romantic elements as well that Shakespeare originally placed in him. Hamlet is just as cheeky as his original counterpart, if not more cheeky (Hamlet is my favorite Shakespeare play, and it’s not actually because of the ending). Juliet, like Romeo, also has another side to her Trout creates – she’s more badass. (Romeo and Juliet is my least favorite – interesting combo going on here honestly.)
But Such Sweet Sorrow can be overwhelming. Trout doesn’t just have Hamlet mashed with Romeo and Juliet – she’s got Norse mythology and Greek mythology and who knows what else (some reviewers on Goodreads say anything you can think of… Essentially). Regardless, there is definitely a mess of things going on throughout and I just decided to go with it rather than question the book in its entirety (like what other mythological aspects are involved).
For the first half of the book, Romeo and Hamlet are, for the most part, wandering around cluelessly through this place called the Afterjord – it can get boring pretty quickly, but there is so much going on with the creatures they come across, it’s not actually boring (I’m too busy trying to keep track of what’s going on so I’m not lost). Such Sweet Sorrow doesn’t actually pick up until after Romeo and Hamlet finally rescue Juliet and try to make their way back to the mortal world.
But while there is so much going on throughout, I actually liked this strange little book in all its weird complexities. However…
I’m disappointed that a cliffhanger is involved and nowhere on Goodreads does it say Such Sweet Sorrow has a sequel in the works.