Title: The Serpent of Venice
Author: Christopher Moore
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of Publication: April 22, 2014
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.