Shakespeare v Lovecraft by D R O’Brien is exactly as the title promises – a mashup of Lovecraft and Shakespeare.
Get ready for the War of the literary Worlds in the raucous new horror comedy, Shakespeare v Lovecraft!
In the same putrid vein as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Shakespeare v. Lovecraft slithers hideously onto the literary mash-up scene, whispering of cosmic horrors and eldritch tales whilst espousing sweet soliloquies and profoundly contemplating mankind’s place in the universe.
The book follows the story of the powerful magician Prospero, driven dangerously insane by prolonged exposure to the dread Necronomicon, makes a terrible pact with the titanic alien beast known only as Cthulhu. Now only his enchantress daughter Miranda and a handful of history’s greatest heroes are all that stand between humanity and blasphemous eternal subjugation.
Macbeth, King Henry V and more clash with some of Lovecraft’s most memorable monstrosities including Dagon, The Colour Out Of Space, Night-Gaunts, Ghouls, a Shoggoth and, of course, the Great Priest himself. And which sides will the Dream-God Oberon, the monstrous Caliban and ethereal Ariel favour in this savage clash of worlds?
It sounded silly and fun, and I wanted to read something silly and fun.
Review copy provided for free through Netgalley.
It works as well as any of these literary mashups do, I suppose. Don’t go in expecting literary brilliance and you’ll have a good time. I certainly did.
I’m not sure there’s much point critiquing this in terms of the writing. It’s not what it’s going to be read for after all, though the writing itself is pretty good. A bit over the top at times, but that suits the conceit admirably.
Unlike most literary mashups the plot itself is farily original. The blurb references Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but whereas P&P&Z was just Jane Austens original work with Zombies and Ninjas added to the narrative (while I like the book I am not sure they improved her original cutting social satire) this takes characters in the public realm and creates a whole new plot with them. Yes, that makes it essentially fan fiction, but Lovecraft encouraged that sort of thing and Shakespeare’s been dead for centuries so I doubt he cares. I think I like it more for doing that, to be honest. But it can be a tricky thing, working with other peoples charactes, especially ones that have been around so long and worked their ways into so many hearts. There were points where I didn’t think the characters were acting like ‘them’.
You wouldn’t necessarily need an encyclopaedic knowledge of Shakespeare OR Lovecraft to enjoy this just for the ride it is, as it is a solidly constructed plot that doesn;t rely over much on the readers pre-existing knowledge. However, you will get a lot more out of the book if you do have a greater-than-basic awareness of both.
In short, fun and works surprisingly well. A good, solid 4 stars. (second in a row. I must be going soft)