Love’s Labor’s Lost by William Shakespeare

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Title: Love’s Labor’s Lost by William Shakespeare

Premise:

The King and his companions have vowed to spend three years in serious study, avoiding the company of women, among other luxuries.  When the Princess and her entourage show up on a diplomatic errand, the King has to foreswear his vow to avoid female company.  Each man is smitten with one of the ladies and sends her a love letter and favor, trying to keep it secret from the others.  In the end all of their romantic maneuvering is made known and the men come clean about their intentions.  The ladies, however, are not so easily swayed.  They demand more serious proof before they are willing to entertain the men’s ideas of romance.

My thoughts:

I haven’t read Shakespeare for a long time!  Though this story is lighthearted and fluffy, it still manages to make some commentary on the foibles of love and romance.  The King and his men make complete fools of themselves as they pursue the Princess and her ladies in waiting.  The ladies are having none of it and keep their wits about them, even demanding proof of their suitor’s love at the end.  If the men are serious about their love and commitment to the maidens, they must each fulfill a mission given by their respective lady.  This is a refreshing departure from the typical man-wins-woman formula.

I enjoyed the overall tone of the play, which was very playful and upbeat.  The characters have fun with witty wordplay, although I didn’t particularly care for the parts that devolved into suggestive references.  The difficulty of the language and the sometimes suggestive comments make me think this play would be best for readers in high school and older.

It was really helpful to have an introduction to the book and the footnotes throughout.  A good amount of the vocabulary and sayings are completely obsolete in modern English.  Without a bit of help, a lot of the original meaning would be lost on today’s readers.

I recommend Love’s Labor’s Lost to readers who enjoy classic literature and a mental workout all in one!

Possible Objections:

  • Several jokes featuring sexual innuendo

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Quick by Lauren Owen

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The Quick is the third book that I’ve read from my Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge.  I was actually quite looking forward to reading this one because it involved old London and vampires.  I seem to have a hang-up on those two things.  Also, the cover of this book is really appealing.  I know that’s a silly reason to like a book, but there you have it.  I’m a silly person.

Generally, this book is about a young man (James) who goes to London to try his hand at writing and subsequently disappears.  His sister (Charlotte) becomes concerned and goes in search of him.  She discovers that there is a hidden underground vampire world in London which her brother has become entangled in.  The rest of the story is taken up by her trying to locate, free, and aid her brother.

There are many side characters who come in at various parts of the book.  For some of them we are given extensive or at least some background information.  Others simply appear and disappear without the reader really knowing who they are.  This was somewhat mystifying because some of the characters who are given extensive back story (Mould, in particular), don’t feature all that prominently in the remainder of the story, or their back story seems a bit irrelevant.  There are some characters who were intriguing and whose stories may have been very interesting, if the author had bothered to share them at all.  In particular, I would have liked to have known more about Burke, Liza, and the others associated with Mrs. Price.

The last part of the book was very disappointing, in my opinion.  It seems like it was a lame attempt at tying up the loose ends of Charlotte and Arthur’s lives.  There was no resolution, no satisfaction, not enough follow up with many of the characters, and no clear answer about what happened to James.  I was pretty upset with the way it ended.  It felt like a waste of time to read a book which had such a lame ending.

Don’t get me wrong, the book has its strengths.  It is well written and flows fairly well within each scene.  (Though the way it jumps around between different characters and time periods is very disorienting.)  I liked the majority of the characters and their complexity.  I liked the diversity in settings and circumstances.  However, those things weren’t enough to overcome the sense I got that this was a wasted story.  When you spend the whole book waiting for some kind of resolution or closure to the problem, and that doesn’t come to fruition, it’s disappointing.

Maybe others wouldn’t be as hung-up about this issue as I am.  It’s hard to say.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence & gore
  • Some bad language
  • Mild sexual scene between two men

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori