“The Magical Underpinnings of Character Motivation”

Queen Mab: A Tale Entwined with William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet
by Kate Danley , William Shakespeare
Narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt
Reviewed: 7/28/16

Overall  ♥♥♥♥  Performance  ♥♥♥♥  Story  ♥♥♥♥

I thought the concept behind this novel was clever and compelling. What if the motivations of supernatural beings, goddesses, faeries et al. are made an explicit element of the plot, instead of random action that can’t be accounted for but simply accommodated? “Queen Mab” provides “Romeo and Juliet” with just such a twist, where the power struggles of the faerie beings are even more potent and persistent than those of the human families.

The character of Queen Mab herself undergoes a transformation during the events of the tale. Iniitally she seems as malicious and whimsical as anyone with a nearly unlimited realm of power and a very long life is likely to be: she controls the dreams and fancies of sleeping human beings, and is thus quite influential. When conflicts ensue with Faunus, who controls daydreams, and then Juno steps in to make sure her own interests are protected, Mab remains powerful, yet must contrive all her machinations under Juno’s curse, which makes her face reflect the nature of her heart’s intentions. So she can no longer count on mesmerizing beauty at all times–quite a blow to a faerie queen! At the same time she suffers yet another blow in falling in love with a mere mortal, basically akin to a rare butterfly falling for a mayfly.

Kate Danley succeeds in making the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet just another peripheral difficulty in the permanently phantasmogorical realm of magical power struggles.The book’s most interesting impact is the transformation in Mab’s character–whoever really imagined a faerie being capable of positive change?

The language of the tale preserves the iambic poetry of Shakespeare’s dialogue while successfully creating a distinctly non-human realm for the magical beings–at times the atmosphere feels almost like a rave at 5 am, where absolutely anything is possible and will be so again the next time. Julian Rhind-Tutt’s smooth, melodic narration helped pull off this otherwordly effect.This is a tale about faeries that is nothing like a fairy tale!

“This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com.”


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