Ian Doescher has answered the hope of many a fan of Star Wars and literature by turning his sizable literary talents to the Prequel films, and it starts with The Phantom of Menace. The first of the new trilogy of Doescher’s continuing take on Star Wars through Shakespearian language does not disappoint; Ian continues to bring soul, charm, wit, humor, and beautiful language to the growing series, and it is, as usual, a lot of fun.
Doescher helps bring both Anakin Skywalker and Jar Jar Binks to light through many heartfelt soliloquies and iambic pentameter. Both characters have been maligned by a section of fandom, and I dare say he fleshes them out in critically important ways. Much like Dave Filoni did for the Prequel films with the animated The Clone Wars, The Phantom of Menace serves to flesh out these two characters in a different medium.
The soliloquies mentioned above (more here than in the previous three installments) help to add layers to the overall plot of the story, which is better than many remember. I dare say the book may convert even the most staunch of critics of the titular film this book is based upon, and this is due to Doescher’s writing. He brings joy and sincerity to The Phantom of Menace; similar to the first three, Ian writes the book in Shakespearian language, but not to the extent that you need to be a literature major to enjoy the text. It’s beautifully written, and accessible to anyone who loves reading a good story.
I am even more biased than before on this review, as I was fortunate to be among a group of consultants who worked with Ian throughout the development of these books, and had a wonderful time doing so. The Prequel films are prime for the Shakespearean treatment, and no one does it better than Ian Doescher. If you loved the first three William Shakespeare’s Star Wars books, this will be an excellent addition to your library. The wait to read the next two installments will be difficult, as Ian’s love for both Star Wars and Shakespeare illuminates every word of the page.
5 out of 5
Purchase William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace here
Note: A big thank you to Quirk books for providing an advanced copy to review.