Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore

Title: The Serpent of Venice
AuthorChristopher Moore
PublisherWilliam Morrow
Date of Publication: April 22, 2014
Pages: 336

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing this review copy! "The Serpent of Venice" will be on tour for the next couple of weeks; check it out here.

Two Sentence Summary: Remember that one time that "Othello" got really funny, and even more complex, and had a killer mermaid/dragon/sea-snake? Told from the perspective of court jester Pocket (a carry-over character from other novels by Moore), this book is a hilarious adventure story with Shakespearean roots.

Things I Think: I haven't read a Christopher Moore novel in a few years, when I became obsessed with vampire stories "You Suck" and "Bite Me." (I largely picked them up because I love stories set in my city, San Francisco. But then they turned out to be extremely witty and well-written and I couldn't stop.) Little did I know he had written a book called "Fool," featuring King Lear's jester named Pocket. 

This latest adventure of Pocket's places him in the context of the Othello saga, and as always Moore has successfully taken a classic, understood tenet (in this case, Shakespearean drama) and complicated it in extremely entertaining ways. Character personalities are hyper-realistic / un-fancified. Motivations are deeply rooted in well-described histories. Nothing is sacred and everything is up for a good mocking. 

Most of all, I appreciate that Moore has made this comprehensible and enjoyable regardless of one's familiarity with the original play. Having a deeper knowledge of the original context certainly adds flavor to the reading, but a reader could go in blind and still have a great reading experience.