If I had to choose one word to describe this book it would be "intense." Of course, with Shakespeare's "Hamlet" being the basis for this story, how could it be anything else?
I've got to be honest - I've never actually read this particular Shakespeare play. I know the general plot twists (king killed, Hamlet sees ghost, everyone dies, etc.), but I was still surprised by a few of them when I read this version. I'm not sure if I would have compared Michelle Ray's version to the original more if I had actually read the original, but I thought she did a good job with this adaptation, staying true to the story with the one main exception: Ophelia doesn't die mid-book like in the play.
There was a lot of playing with form in this book - the story is told through Ophelia's POV, as well as snippets from her police interrogation and a talk show she appears on after everything in the book takes place. That really added tension, I think. I loved the three different timelines!
The actual character of Ophelia was a little troubling at times. I just couldn't understand why she would stick with Hamlet after all the things he does. I mean, he's straight crazy. I get that she loves him, but I just had to shake my head a lot when she would go running back to him. The plot wouldn't have held up without their interaction, though, so I guess Ophelia's idiocy was necessary to keep things moving.
Pacing, however, was a general problem throughout the novel, I thought. The first 200 pages or so are really slow. There are a few scenes that were poignant or moving, but overall, they're pretty dry. I was never really invested in the story or the characters until tragedy hits Ophelia close to home (around page 250). I wished Michelle Ray had picked up the pace a few times, kept things moving more quickly. I was often bored.
But once you make that leap into the climax of the story, everything happens in a whirlwind. There's tension galore, with heartbreak and death and other delicious plot twists. Too bad it took that long to get to the good part.
While Falling for Hamlet wasn't my favorite retelling, I would definitely be interested in another book by Michelle Ray. Hopefully, her style will grow some more so that her plot doesn't lag and we'll get an entire book of juicy drama!