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text 2017-09-17 03:09
Halloween Bingo: Witches
Hag's Trail - Jimmy Millwood

 

Western that takes place during the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

He's hunting down a witch/hag to get his daughter back with the help of a failed Cherokee medicine man and a dream witch.

A nice mesh of humor and seriousness.

A little slow going at first because everything seems disjointed. Things straighten out when he finishes telling Marigold his story. Previous to that it's hard to tell if it's a straight line story, or if some of it's memories and it's bouncing back and forth.

 

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review 2017-07-25 17:30
Hag-Seed
Hag-Seed - Margaret Atwood

Hag-Seed: The Tempest Retold

 

Margaret Atwood, 2016

 

Felix, the eccentric Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Festival, is getting ready to present his interpretation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, but is removed from his position thanks to the underhanded methods of his assistant, Tony. After going off the grid for a while, Felix takes a job teaching a course at Fletcher County Correctional Institute, where he teachers Shakespeare to a small group of inmates. After a few years, an opportunity presents itself for Felix to get revenge on Tony and the others who did him wrong.

 

This is the first of the Hogarth Shakespeare retellings that I've read so far. I decided to re-read The Tempest before starting this book, and I'm glad I did - it had been a while since I had read it, and I had forgotten a lot of the story. I don't think that it's necessary to read The Tempest before reading Hag-Seed, but it does help. [For anyone not able to read the play first, there is a summary of The Tempest at the end of the book, so I would actually recommend skipping ahead to that before starting the novel.] 

 

I wasn't sure at first how I was going to like this book - I thought it an odd choice having the actual play The Tempest as part of the plot in a book that's supposed to be based on the play (a little too obvious), but it really worked well. Sort of like how Hamlet uses a play within a play to act out scenes that are happening in the "real world" of the story. It also helped that Felix was more or less aware that his current situation resembled the play - if he had been oblivious to that fact, it would have just been weird. Sure there were parts that played out a little too theatrically - his revenge was way too neat and tidy - and if this had been anything other than a retelling it would have bothered me. But Shakespeare's plays had the same neat and tidy endings, so it worked.

 

The biggest thing that surprised me was how Atwood was able to take a play made up with mostly unlikable characters and make a compelling story out of it. The only characters I liked at all were the prisoners. The antagonists - Tony and the others - were supposed to be unlikable, but Felix wasn't really very easy to like. His delusion about Miranda made him hard to identify with, and his quest for revenge made him - at least to me - pretty unlikable. However, I think that this was sort of the point. I think that Atwood went into this book knowing that the prisoners would be the most likable and relatable characters, and this is why the book is called "Hag-Seed", as a direct reference to Caliban. I think it was an interesting choice on her part, and it was probably the best way to pull it off.

 

You definitely need to be able to read books centered around unlikable characters in order to enjoy this one, but otherwise I think it's a pretty interesting book and an enjoyable read, even if you're not familiar with the play.

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review 2017-06-29 05:21
Hag-Seed
Hag-Seed - Margaret Atwood

I am a huge Margaret Atwood fan, so when I saw a new book with her name on it I did not even bother to read what it was about. Who cares? Margaret Atwood could write a software manual and I would read it. Maybe you feel more discerning than me, I'm ok with that. I've read at least half a dozen Atwood books by now, (with more on my to-read pile) including a crazy, ingenious, zombie story on Wattpad, and I have yet to be disappointed.

 

Hag-Seed continued that trend. Of course, Atwood tackles The Tempest, why not? She is certainly up to the task. I read some of this book (courtesy of NetGalley) and I also listened to the audiobook. I laughed out loud as Atwood weaves a tale of bizarre vengeance and unlikely heroes, which all works toward a strange and perfectly satisfying resolution.

 

This book is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare collection, which has Shakespeare's plays reimagined by today's celebrated writers, including Anne Tyler, Tracy Chevalier, and Jo Nesbø, among others. Several of these are already on my to-read pile; you should check them out as well.

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review 2017-06-23 02:56
Hag-Seed DNF Review
Hag-Seed - Margaret Atwood

The Tempest is one of my favorite works by Billy Shakes. For that reason, I thought I'd love this. This is my first Atwood book and I doth believe she's not for me. I wouldn't have bothered to review this, but it's a review copy, so here you go. A one-star DNF review. Sad panda. 

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review 2017-04-22 10:19
Hag-Seed
Hag-Seed - Margaret Atwood

Nothing in this book is surprising because it’s a retelling. However Atwood is skilled and it was done really well. I do think there may have been a lot of underlying commentary about Canadian Politics, based on comments Atwood made regarding the dates in the book, which I missed because I’m not Canadian and didn’t do any research. I really enjoyed this book and the characters but I didn't feel like it went some where new (though the lack of research or being Canadian may have played into that).

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