A Review of Queen Mab, by Kate Danley

Queen Mab

Goodreads Rating: 3.43 Stars
343 Pages
Get a copy here!

“Oh then I see Queen Mab hath been with you…”

Everyone knows Romeo & Juliet, but what if it isn’t the whole story? What if Queen Mab, mentioned in only one speech in the entire play, is actually responsible for all the tragedy about to strike the Houses of Montague and Capulet? And her love for Mercutio the key to everything…

Weaving Shakespeare’s original text into a new story, fans of The Woodcutter will love this latest retelling by award-winning author Kate Danley. Experience the romance of Romeo & Juliet from a different point of view – through the eyes of the bringer of dreams… Queen Mab.

– – – – –

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: well-reasoned, awesome retelling; Queen Mab and Faunus take center stage in a battle for supremacy; this helped “explain” some of the things I was confused about in the play; the prose is pretty, well-written, and complex; the plot is, if not action-packed, at least entertaining and intriguing

This is SUCH a fun, entertaining, and “enlightening” read!

“In your mirror, you shall look quite the same, but you shall be an illusion to any that cast their eyes upon you. They shall see a face that matches your heart, as vile as it may be. Once revered for your beauty, you will instead reflect your true nature. Like your dreams, reality shall shift to display the secrets of your dark soul. This prison is of your own making, but I gladly forge the bars of justice to hold you.”

Shakespeare’s well-known and well-loved tragic lovers take a backseat in this retelling…to a battle for supremacy over the world of dreams. Our main duo, Queen Mab and Faunus, lead readers on an unexpected adventure through centuries—to a wildly imaginative, not-so-tragic different ending from the original play.

I really enjoyed our characters. While Shakespeare gave us “faeries” in other plays, Romeo and Juliet has always been a tragic tale of young love gone wrong. There have always been things I didn’t understand, or see the reason behind. Kate Danley mixed our paranormal characters—the Queen of dreams, and the Prince of daydreams—into this world so seamlessly, I could imagine them there the entire time. I LOVE the amount of growth Mab shows throughout; from beginning to end, she rediscovers herself at least three different times, each more stunningly captured than the last. Faunus, as well, was an intriguing (and frustrating!) character to read. Playing the mischievous “Pan,” he took Trickster to a whole new level with his games and manipulations.

Juno smiled like a cat with cream. “She shall learn to love or learn to love her prison, and whichever she chooses makes to me no difference.”

“Heed my warning!”

“I hear you, Faunus, and shall decide myself how ominous the sky.”

“The clouds hang black and heavy with the storm.”

“And perhaps they shall blow through.”

The ending was wildly imaginative and brought a whole new perspective to the original play that I absolutely adored. I mean, the whole book is creatively done and so well-blended, it’s obvious Kate Danley knows her Shakespeare—or, at least, knows Romeo and Juliet. But the ending! The ending took me off-guard…and made my heart unexpectedly happy. I’d have never thought to expect the twist she employs!

This is just such an entertaining, creative, beautiful retelling. Every chapter, while certain ones seem unnecessary, brings readers closer to the climactic and striking closure. Every character plays a role, even if seeminly small at the beginning. And I LOVE how Mab’s dreams shift from beginning to end, helping to signify and outline the amount of growth and changes she goes through herself. There’s just SO MUCH awesome about this read, I can’t hope to explain it all!

“I dreamt a dream tonight,” said Romeo to Mercutio.

“And so did I,” replied his friend, trying to rouse Romeo and steer him to the dance.

“Well, what was yours?”

“That dreamers often lie.”

Romeo corrected him. “In bed asleep, while they dream things true.”

Mercutio stopped, turning to Romeo. He became as pale as one who has seen a ghost. “O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.”

I loved this reimagining of the well-known romantic tragedy, and will be eagerly seeking out more of Kate Danley’s work in the future! I recommend to lovers of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, the fae, and creatively twisted endings. If you’re looking for your next retelling, pick this one up! It’s just too much fun to miss out on!

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5 thoughts on “A Review of Queen Mab, by Kate Danley

    • Thanks so much! Actually, the interesting thing is in the original play, she only makes a very SMALL appearance, in one of Mercutio’s lines. That was the entire premise behind Danley’s idea, actually–that ONE small line. She wanted to take that and twist it to see what happened!

      YAY, I hope you enjoy it!

      Like

  1. I absolutely hate Romeo and Juliet – bad high school English class experience – but I gave Queen Mab a try and absolutely loved it. I found myself actually going to look up the play to see if things that happened were Shakespeare or Danley. Fascinating read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh no! That sounds awful (of course, if you didn’t have a bad high school experience with this play in high school, what were the teachers even doing?!) I really disliked the play, myself, for the same reason…but I took a year’s worth of Shakespeare courses in college and have come around. A little. 😉

      But yes, this book is SO so good! I’m so happy that you decided to give this a shot, and that it worked out in your favor! That’s awesome.

      Thanks so much for stopping by; I hope you have a great rest of your day!

      Like

  2. Pingback: Sunday Post (#9) – betwixt-the-pages

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