Mar 7, 2014

Review--Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout

Never was there a tale of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo…But true love never dies. Though they’re parted by the veil between the world of mortals and the land of the dead, Romeo believes he can restore Juliet to life, but he’ll have to travel to the underworld with a thoroughly infuriating guide.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, may not have inherited his father’s crown, but the murdered king left his son a much more important responsibility—a portal to the Afterjord, where the souls of the dead reside. When the determined Romeo asks for help traversing the treacherous Afterjord, Hamlet sees an opportunity for adventure, and the chance to avenge his father’s death.

In an underworld filled with leviathan monsters, ghoulish shades, fire giants and fierce Valkyrie warriors, Hamlet and Romeo must battle their way through jealousy, despair, and their darkest fears to rescue the fair damsel. Yet finding Juliet is only the beginning, and the Afterjord doesn’t surrender souls without a price…

Jenny Trout's Such Sweet Sorrow is a sort of retelling/sequel to the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet. To spice it up, she even weaves in Shakespeare's Hamlet into the story as well. It was an interesting read for sure, but I guess because I'm not big on Shakespeare (why yes I am one of the weirdest English majors you ever did meet!) I couldn't really get into the story all that well.

Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet are pretty much known classics in the world of Shakespeare. I read both in high school, so I knew their storylines fairly well. But now Jenny takes the tragedies to a new level. Romeo was saved from the poison he took and he lives again. All has pretty much been forgiven, the prince lifted his banishment, the feud between Capulet and Montague is over. But Romeo still mourns Juliet. He goes to see a witch to see if there's anything that can be done to bring her back--yeah necromancy at its finest!

Romeo is then led to see a guy named Hamlet who's around his own age who supposedly can see ghosts. Hamlet as we know, was visited by the ghost of his father asking him to avenge his death when his brother killed him and married his wife. But Hamlet also sees other ghosts, and has been charged with protecting a portal that leads to the afterlife. And needless to say that Romeo enlists Hamlet's help in going through the portal and finding Juliet so that they may live happily ever after.

I was quite surprised by how fast Juliet was found. Like before the halfway point, but there's still the matter of getting out of this underworld. And this place is huge. Many levels and more portals that take you to different parts of the underworld. Also, Juliet's mind isn't quite right for awhile. Being in the underworld, as a dead person/spirit changes you. Your mind works differently. It may torment you with your mistakes and make you see things that aren't there. Juliet has a little bit of issue with that clause, so Romeo must save his true love once again.

Another surprising thing was the amounts of mythology Jenny weaved into the story. There were multiple ones as well. Greek and Norse were the ones I recognized immediately. It was a nice change of pace, but I definitely do not know my Norse mythology as well as my Greek! The theme of Romeo going after Juliet in the underworld definitely ringed as Greek mythology!

I didn't really feel the romance between Juliet and Romeo. In fact, I was almost wondering if this space that seemed to have come between them would be filled with Hamlet! That would definitely change up his story, but luckily, Jenny didn't go that route. I might have imagined any tension between Hamlet and Juliet as well! But still, Romeo and Juliet seemed to have something keeping them apart for awhile. I just didn't get that overly romantic sense they are known for. Then again, their story wasn't a fave of mine. In college, it pretty much became a story of lust rather than love. Totally changed my outlook on it when I read it as a high school freshman.

The ending wasn't at all what I was expecting. Which can be both good and bad. It was an ending that leaves you wondering if there is more to come. Especially with that last paragraph. I couldn't get a feel for what was going to happen to these characters. And while it was a good read, I just didn't get into it as much as I had hoped. Although, if you're more of a Shakespeare fan than I am, and you're okay with retellings and tweakings, then I definitely recommend reading this one! Also if you enjoy a good dose of mythology! This story would have a lot to offer you!

Overall Rating 3/5 stars

This read was read for the COYER Challenge


  1. I have this one on my Kindle! I loved MacBeth so I like that it works that in as a retelling as well.

  2. I wasn't able to finish this one, Jessica, but I'm glad you enjoyed it enough to give it three stars! I have a Shakespeare class this semester, and even if we don't read Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet in it, I think I needed something closer to the actual stories...

    Great work on your COYER challenge :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  3. I love retelling but I am not sure about mixing two classics together. The original stories are amazing as a stand alone by themselves. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews!
    Great Review!

    Michelle @Because reading is better than real life

  4. I'm a Shakespeare fan, so I loved this one! I'm glad you liked it, even if you didn't love it. I do have to wonder if there's more to come. I certainly hope so! :D

    Angie @ Pinkindle

  5. Aww, I'm sorry this one didn't work out for you Jessica. I understand your issues though and you did a nice job of explaining why it didn't work. I'm still going to give it try because I'm one of the non-weird English majors :) who loves Shakespeare. LOL Great review!

  6. Fabulous review. Much as I am a fan of Shakespeare I think I'll sit this one out. :)


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