Book Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher

Posted July 30, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian DoescherWilliam Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher
Series: William Shakespeare's Star Wars #4
Published by Quirk Books on July 2nd, 2013
Genres: Media Tie-In, Retelling, Science Fiction
Pages: 174
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

Inspired by one of the greatest creative minds in the English language—and William Shakespeare—here is an officially licensed retelling of George Lucas's epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearsome Stormtroopers, signifying...pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations—William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

3.5 Stars

When I heard about the existence of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, my curiosity was instantly piqued. I mean, I’m not gonna lie, I’m a pretty big Star Wars fan, and this sounded just completely hilarious and fun, so when Quirk Books offered to send me review copies of the series, I was all for it. This series is tons of fun for true Star Wars fan, make no mistake, while also showing off Doescher’s skill as a writer.

What you see is mostly what you get with Verily, A New Hope. It takes the story of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and translates it completely into Shakespearian English. The skill with which Doescher does this is impressive, to be sure. I read my fair share of Shakespeare plays in high school, and the language in Verily, A New Hope definitely matches what I remember. It doesn’t feel like a cheap ploy, and while reading I merely amused myself about how awesome it would have been if science fiction was a thing back in Shakespeare’s days. A sort of Doctor Who like scenario developed in my mind — but that’s besides the point.

Aside from the quality of the writing, the way that the book is presented is important to note as well. The hardcover has a wonderful “old book” look underneath the dust jacket. The story is in a script format, and has the added bonus of wonderful illustrations in between to further entertain the readers. It makes it a great gift book for Star Wars fans.


The story is the one we all know and love – with little added surprises. However, I must say the best thing about the whole book, to me, probably was R2-D2’s inner monologue. Make no mistake, my love for R2D2 is something FIERCE – however, in the movies, though he can show some serious sass with his beeps and whistles, in Verily, A New Hope, Doescher gives this beloved character an actual voice. It’s lovely and snarky, and, of course, it’s only heard by the audience and not by his “idiotic” companions. What a brilliant twist.

Where the book didn’t completely meet my expectations is that I was sort of expecting it to be more humorous than it was – at a true parody level. Instead, while Doescher does skillfully translate the entire story into Shakespearian English, it feels more tedious at times than humorous, which to me was a bit of a let down. The overall tone is just more serious than expected. However, certain lines are so hilarious that I couldn’t help but chuckle out loud, regardless of my surroundings – the best being the ones that parody both Star Wars and Shakespeare’s plays. They are worth their weight in gold, and made the reading experience worth it. I just wish there were more of those lines – but perhaps the next books in the series will bring that.

OBI-WAN KENOBI: True it is,
That these are not the droids for which thou search’st. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher
C3P0: Be thou not technical with me,
Or else thine input valve may swift receive
A hearty helping of my golden foot. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher
HAN SOLO: I pray thee, sir, forgive me for the mess
And whether I shot first, I’ll not confess.William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher
LUKE: But O, what now? What light through yonder flashing sensor breaks? William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher

Summing Up:

For those who love both Shakespeare and Star Wars, Verily, A New Hope is a must read. This skillful adaptation is a new great way to relive the science fiction series, with the added bonus of more R2D2 love. (What? That’s a real selling point to me.) With it’s awesome illustrations and hilarious quotes, this a quick read that can definitely get you laughing. The perfect accompaniment: a rewatch of the movies.

GIF it to me straight!

giphy (4)

Recommended To:

Shakespeare and Star Wars fans – obviously!

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4 responses to “Book Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher

  1. HUUUUUGE Star Wars fangirl here!!! And HUUUUUGE R2D2 fangirl too, so even if I had already preordered the full set of the three books for Xmas (my self pressie) because Shakespeare and Star Wars, I just had to… having R2D2’s inner monologues in there as well makes it very much worth my while!!
    Thanks for the review Debby!