William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher | Book Review

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

William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher | Book ReviewWilliam Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher
Also by this author: William Shakespeare's Return of the Jedi
Series: William Shakespeare's Star Wars #1
Published by Quirk Books on April 7th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, General, Media Tie-In, Humor, Young Adult
Pages: 176
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781594748196

Join us, good gentles, for a merry reimagining of Star Wars: Episode 1 as only Shakespeare could have written it. The entire saga starts here, with a thrilling tale featuring a disguised queen, a young hero, and two fearless knights facing a hidden, vengeful enemy. ’Tis a true Shakespearean drama, filled with sword fights, soliloquies, and doomed romance . . . all in glorious iambic pentameter and coupled with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations. Hold on to your midi-chlorians: The play’s the thing, wherein you’ll catch the rise of Anakin!


I am all for anything that opens up the Bard’s work to new audiences. I am also all for things that take place a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. So, when Ian Doescher combines these two things, I am sold hook line and sinker. I started my read of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series with The Phantom of Menace because I am a begin at the beginning sort of girl. I am glad I did this because there were not all sorts of expecations that I had for the book. Also? I took forever to read these because I had it in my head that I needed to watch the movies first and then I did watch the movies but I never got around to this series. I AM THE WORST but thankfully you all are still here.

The premise behind William Shakespeare’s The Phantom Of Menace is all in the title. Ian Doescher has retold The Phantom Menace all in William Shakespeare style iambic pentameter. If you haven’t seen the film (lucky you), the premise is that this is the first of three prequels that examine Darth Vader’s origin story. We start the book with some drama in the Senate over taxes and the Republic. There’s jedis. There is Jar Jar. Before he is Darth Vader, he is Anakin Skywalker living on Tattoine as a slave. That’s the thrust of the tale. There are disturbances in the force. There’s inappropriate flirtation.

What I love is how Ian Doescher fleshes the story out a little bit. For example, Jar Jar Binks is not a fool because he is dumb, but because it is a role to get trust from other people and for them to let their guard down. He has a purpose in uniting humans and the Gungans on Naboo against the bad guys which ok my brain doesn’t work I can’t remember what they are called? I just really think that it is awesome that Doescher was able to take the most annoying character of the franchise and make him not annoying. Kudos on that. Also, the illustrations are excellent too!

I did assume that The Phantom Of Menace would take exactly zero time to get through reading and I was wrong. It took longer than expected because it took my brain longer to process the iambic pentameter. I think it’s an interesting creative choice and maybe not my favorite, but in the context and style of these stories I get it and don’t mind. I think that all of Doescher’s Star Wars Shakespeare series are definitely needed to be added to the collections of fans of Star Wars. I seriously can’t wait to check out more in this series because it is a blast to read.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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