Friday, August 23, 2013

"Based on...": A good or a bad thing??

We read many times on summaries the words “Based on (title from a classic book/play/story/ etc)…” and since we sometimes love the original title, we immediately convince ourselves to give the alternative a chance.
We, obviously, cannot be sure if the book is going to be good, but since it’s based on something else, it’s going to be worth our time, correct? Wrong! Because sometimes, the authors tend to twist the new story so much that the original story vanishes and leaves you with an empty feeling.

The reviews following are the examples of a nice copy and a bad copy of the original titles.

Book Review: Tris & Izzie
A modern retelling of the German fairytale "Tristan and Isolde", Tris and Izzie is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until -- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school.

I remember the first time I saw the movie “Tristan & Isolde”. Needless to say, I cried at the end. The actors were awesome, the story was awesome, the myth was awesome.
So, when I saw this book, I knew that I had to read it.

I was so convinced that the book was going to be great, that I demanded full privacy to read it. I started with this great feeling I always have when I start a new book. So, you can only guess my surprise, when after the first chapters I found out that the book, actually sucked. I pressed forward, though, but as I was going deeper into the story the more I wasn’t changing my mind.

The story is so far away from the real thing, that I think the author just kept the names. The writing is poor and the story lacks foundation. It has so many different elements, that don’t connect correctly. The characters are worse. They are supposed to be 17-year-old, but they act so childish and their reactions to situations were far from the reality. The friendships and the romantic links are so light that tend to be fake. Plus, there was neither depth nor realism on their connections and story. Everything happens so fast that you cannot follow easily.

All in all, I think that the author scratches the surface. What is more dissapointing is the fact that the author is know for her other works and has written in the past stories of the same genre. The story could have been a great read if it was taken care better.

Book Review: Falling For Hamlet
Meet Ophelia: a blonde, beautiful high-school senior and long-time girlfriend of Prince Hamlet of Denmark. Her life is dominated not only by her boyfriend's fame and his overbearing family, but also by the paparazzi who hound them wherever they go. As the devastatingly handsome Hamlet spirals into madness after the mysterious death of his father, the King, Ophelia rides out his crazy roller coaster life, and lives to tell about it. In live television interviews, of course.

Passion, romance, drama, humor, and tragedy intertwine in this compulsively readable debut novel, told by a strong-willed, modern-day Ophelia.


I haven’t read the play, but I’ve seen the movie. The one that was placed on our world, but the actors were reciting the actual-real-deal-old-English lines. So I knew what happens at the end, more or less.

This book is an alternative way of presenting the play, placed on our world, about a modern royal family. The names of the characters stick the same, because, as the author says at her note, it's easier that way to understand the role each one has. The story starts and you know something big has happened. Each chapter has a certain motif and you get information piece by piece, in order to keep you interesting. The author doesn't follow a straight line, but she gives us flashbacks of Ophelia's life, who's point of view we are following, so we can understand completely her reactions and feelings.

At the end of the book, the author writes a note, where she explains her reasons why she decided to create this story and how the inspiration stricked her. She also suggest us that the Shakespear's plays were meant to be watched, not read, and that if we haven't yet, we should watch a play or a movie, an original or an alternative version. That the worlds Shakespear used, might be great, but that wasn't the point of writting them. I found her advises and her note very inspiring and interesting. It's good to know beforehand, that the author of this alternative version of a classic play, not only knows what she's doing, but also respects the play enough, to write something new and yet close to the original.

All in all, the book is well presented and the author doesn't destroy the original play, which was the point. It was a very nice and anxious story, by which I caught myself many times wanting to read more in order to know what will happen. I loved it, it was the author's first work into this type of genre and I think she nailed it.
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