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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Wounded Name- Dot Hutchison

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"

I read a A Wounded Name this week and was not disappointed. It is a Hamlet retelling from Ophelia’s POV. Which isn’t totally unheard of, I have three other books that do the same thing. However this is the difference, in those other three books Hamlet is such a likable romantic interest and Ophelia doesn’t die at the end.

I found this book to be much more like I pictured the play to be. First off (no this isn’t a spoiler go read the damn play) she dies at the end of this book, drowns in the lake. Second off Hamlet and her relationship is full of agony, anger, love, lust and tragedy. Many might be upset because their relationship is abusive, however in context it needed to be. By pretending to be mad Dane (Hamlet) actually becomes crazy and Ophelia can do nothing more than soak up his pain. She feels this is the only way to help him. Also in this tale Ophelia has always been a little crazy. She sees ghosts, she sees the Faerie World and her mother tried to drown them both when she was eight, I mean she commits suicide to be a ghost fairy woman just like her mama.

Now I am not saying Dane hurting her was ok and neither was his begging her to “not let me do this to you.” However it played its role quite well in establishing their relationship and characters. In the play Ophelia is portrayed as a perfect daughter with a slight wild streak and the author kept that idea with this retelling.

I also enjoyed that there was the allusion of Dane and Ophelia having sex. Most YA novels either don’t include it or gloss over it.

This book was magic and beautifully written, it weaved together teen drama and a modern setting with the Bard’s (in my opinion) best work.

The characters were great, the setting spoke of power, beauty, murder and madness.

My one complaint was the theme; the theme of this book was flowers and the color purple. Now this part was pretty good I enjoyed the talk of flowers and the use of color.…however the author used the word bruise probably 100 times. She used it as a color description, a feeling description and then with the actually definition as a mark on the skin. There are so many other lovely ways to say purple; violet, lavender, plum, wine, grape, orchid etc…etc... I get that bruise is a darker idea of purple with pain intertwined, but it got repetitive.

Aside from Dating Hamlet which was a happily ever after version of Hamlet, this is my favorite retelling to date.

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