Quense (Zaftan Entrepreneurs, 2011, etc.) puts classic Shakespeare characters in a fantastical world, with humorous results.
Several memorable Shakespeare characters appear in Quense’s fantasy novel, which takes familiar tragedies and turns them into comedies. Othello becomes a dark elf overwhelmed by his new job as a Homeland Security bureaucrat, Hamlet transforms into a cleanshaven dwarf who cares more about his new beekeeping venture than avenging his father’s murder, and Falstaff stays most true to his original form: a fat, greedy trickster. The Shakespearean similarities just about end there, with the exception of quotes and other passing nods throughout the narrative that readers familiar with the original tales will appreciate. However, one does not need to be familiar with the original stories to enjoy this new one. Quense lets the characters find their own paths and uses his free-wheeling, whimsical imagination to create entertaining situations, drive characters together in unexpected ways, and change perspectives to allow for multiple points of view and multiple narrative voices. Readers with a taste for adventure will appreciate Falstaff’s high-seas hunt for pirates, and those looking for romance will find it in a subplot featuring Falstaff’s half-pint sidekick, Poulet. The prose occasionally slips, and the dialogue can be clunky, but the book remains very readable, and its sheer hilarity compensates for any missteps. Readers expecting something profound from a Shakespeare-inspired story will not find that here, but those who want good entertainment will be more than satisfied.
A quirky spin on Shakespeare combined with a funny fantasy/adventure tale.