'On the Isle of Sound and Wonder' is a retelling of my favorite Shakespeare story, 'The Tempest.' When I first read the synopsis, I was both elated and terrified. Since most people in the media industry tend towards 'Romeo and Juliet,' 'Macbeth,' and so on.. it was great to see this particular play get some attention, but at the same time.. I was really concerned about the outcome.
I needn't have worried. Alyson Grauer's approach reverently held fast to the emotion within the original work, even bolstering it much of the time.. without cheaply mimicking the source work piece by piece. Honestly, it's so difficult to retell something like this. At least, in my point of view. An author has to hit just enough of the critical plot points, not to gut the story, without just simply transcribing it into modern scenes and calling it fresh. Her wording is at times, absolutely lyrical, in the most beautiful of ways.
"The clouds boiled before him, churning and folding in and out of themselves."
This novel is a testament to the capability of someone who seems to have a connection to the classic, yet is brilliantly creative enough to breathe whole new life into it. The names only vary slightly, making each character easy to recognize from the beginning, but the story she tells weaves in and out of the plotline we know and love. It touches on defining scenes here and there, while giving us alternate perspectives on what occurs and why.
Both the story and the characters in Alyson's retelling are so robust, that I felt as if I knew them. I wanted certain outcomes for each of them because I was invested so heavily, not a single character failed to matter. Some of those results I got and others I did not.
And I'm great with that. That's exactly how I feel it should be. I want a story to run me through a gamut of emotions. I want to be thrilled.. and I want to be devastated. She succeeded in accomplishing both.
I love this novel. Alyson Grauer is a force to be reckoned with.. and her pen.. just might wield lightning.. under the right circumstances..