Kill Shakespeare is a work of vaulting ambition. Sent away to England after accidentally killing Polonius Prince Hamlet is attacked by pirates. He awakens to find himself in the court of none other than the villain Richard III. Richard feigns goodness and offers Hamlet a deal: he'll resurrect the prince's father in exchange for Hamlet killing the wizard Shakespeare and bringing back his magical quill. While Hamlet accepts the commission, he quickly realizes that all is not what it at first seems; A group of Richard's subjects, known as Prodigals, are in open rebellion, led by Juliet, Othello, and Falstaff.
Vaulting Ambition proves valiant dust
The premise will no doubt bring Bill Willingham's "Fables" to mind for many readers. //Kill Shakespeare// likewise takes well known characters and tries to combine and grown them in ways both entertaining and unexpected. Just as I won't be the first person to make this comparison, I suspect I won't be the only one to conclude that, despite many strengths, Kill Shakespeare proves wanting.
Series creators Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col have a demonstrable affection for this material, but will irk many readers with short comings in both textual understanding and language. Most crucially of all, the writers rarely make the creative leap into taking these well known characters in directions that are both novel and engaging (Iago and Lady Macbeth being two delightful exceptions). More often than not, the writers move these iconic characters in the opposite direction, reducing their depth in the service a rather convoluted narrative.
These criticisms may be made harsher by a combination of my love of Shakespeare and my high expectations of this book. This series grasps at such a high concept that success was almost certain to prove elusive. On occasion, the action and dialogue proves amusing. I enjoyed the appearance of characters from the cast of some of the less widely read plays (and was more than a little disappointed to find them remain in minor roles). On the whole, however, this work's faults lie not in its stars but in itself.