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Monday, September 2, 2013

Deidra Reviews A Wounded Name

Author: Dot Hutchinson
PublisherCarolrhoda Lab
Release Date: 1 September 2013
Source: NetGalley 
Pages:  320
Summary:  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".
My Favorite Lines:
“And promises, once made, must be kept, and if later you regret them, you should have been more careful in making them.”   

"Blood blossoms in a copper splash against my tonuge, a reopened would I don't remember receiving the first time around."

“If they look past the glitter, they have to see everything else, and no one wants to do that. No one wants to see the ugliness of a thing.”
Why I Loved It:  Ok I should really start this review saying that I actually despise Shakespeare.  My Brit Lit professor was also an expert in Feminist Theory.  It wasn't a good combo, and I obtained a few perspectives that ruined Shakespeare for me.  All that to mention that I didn't realize it was a retelling of Hamlet until I had started it.  I was hooked at that point anyways.  I read some recaps of Hamlet to get the gist.  I may despise Shakespeare, but I love Dot Hutchinson.

Now I can't vouch for the original version or the perspectives, but it seems to be that Ophelia didn't get much of a voice.  Even though she was a bit "mad", I found her perspective to be beautiful and lovely.  The fact that she leans more towards the crazy side brings out the beauty of an unreliable character.  The scenes between Ophelia and Dane are palpable with raw emotion, chaos, and rides a turbulent line between pain and pleasure.  Despite Dane's flaws, and there are many, the reader can't help but sympathize with him.  Ophelia chooses to absorb the pain that Dane expresses in many different ways, many in ways that threaten to destroy each of them.  

The writing though.  Oh my goodness the writing.  The writing just flows in an endless stream of gorgeously constructed phrases.  Still there was this control.  As I read, I knew she knew what she wanted to do and how she wanted to do it.  So I know that Ms. Hutchinson's style is just absolutely fabulous.  The story is full of delicious word play that I read over and over at times.  My mom probably got tired of hearing me yell "Listen to this line!" over and over again.  There are just some kinds of written word that need to be shared with everyone around even if they don't appreciate it the same way.

Low Points: Ophelia's relationship with Dane is a very abusive one.  You can excuse it and picture it in many different lights, but it was what we would classify as abusive.  I'm not saying it really subtracts from the book, but it is a hard topic to read.

High Points:
  • Gorgeous writing 
  • A great modern version of Hamlet
  • Gives Ophelia the voice she deserves
Who Should Read It: Shakespeare fan's will probably appreciate it and fans of sad books.  I'd also recommend to fans of Laini Taylor because of the similar style.  
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