Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet by Myrlin A. Hermes

Synopsis From Back Cover:

A poet and divinity scholar at Wittenberg University, Horatio is able to argue both sides of any intellectual debate, but he himself, a skeptic, never fully believing in one philosophy.  That is, until he meets the Prince of Denmark-an outrageous, provocative, and flamboyantly beautiful young man-who teachers Horatio more about Heaven and earthly pleasures than any of his philosophy books.  But when Prince Hamlet attracts the attention of Horatio's patroness-the dark, seductive, manipulative Lady Adriane-and when a mysterious rival poet calling himself "Master Will Shake-spear" begins to court both the Prince and his Dark Lady, Horatio must take up his pen to fight for his love- and his destiny.

After my last foray into historical fiction, I was a little hesitant to get started on this one.  What if I was disappointed in this one as well?  Would I be willing to try another historical fiction book if this one was a failure?  I had first read a review of this book at Misfit Salon, and since then I've been dying to read it.  Needless to say, once I got over my fear and started to read it, I loved it.  It was everything I wanted it to be and more.

Myrlin A. Hermes has a way with words that I could only dream of one day being even close to possessing.  She picks each word carefully and has fun with them, she is a master wordsmith in every sense.  This book plays with words and their meanings.  It uses them in such a way that as a reader, I found myself getting lost in the story, savoring the way each word felt on my tongue and the way they would roll around in my mind, gaining new meanings and layers as time went on.  She uses them to describe life, love, and even sex in terms that makes them feel like new discoveries. Concepts that were familiar to me seemed new once again.  The words almost take on a life of their own, almost becoming a character themselves.

Words aren't the only thing that gets played with in the book, gender and sexuality get tossed around, like the proverbial beach ball, right along with them.  Gender and sexuality almost feel fluid in this book.  Horatio falls in love with a man who is impossible to marry and with a woman already married.  He loves them both though on is more palatable to him over the other.  He seems conflicted by both loves, at times he is disgusted by them and at others he craves their affection and approval.  In Hamlet, Horatio finds everything that he doesn't find within himself.  In Lady Adriane he finds a patroness and a seductress, she is the outlet of most of his unfilled desires for Hamlet.  He wants them both and when circumstances and a new poet on the scene starts to interfere, he seems to be at a crossroads.  I won't let you in on which fork he takes, though after reading the book you actually hope he walks away from both.  Neither relationship is healthy, both are destructive and one can end in death.

Hamlet and Adriane are both flawed characters that you can't help but like a little bit, despite what you think of them.  They are both fickle and manipulative.  They are control freaks who's own desires comes before anything else.  They use deception and guile to get what they want, yet they both love in such a way that you can't help but be drawn in by them.  Even when Adriane is dressing as a man to seduce another man's  lover, you understand it, if not empathize with her. They are flawed, human characters in every way. 

Now I'm not a huge fan of Shakespeare, never have been actually, and I'm not overly familiar with Hamlet.  I know some reviewers felt like it was necessary to be, I didn't think it was that much of a issue.  I was able to enjoy the story for what it was, not what it was based off of.  Now I am familiar with some of the sonnets that were used to come up with the whole bisexual nature of Shakespeare that this story seems to have grown out of, so I was able to understand more of those references.  It is a fascinating subject matter and one my review can not due justice too. 

I want to thank Tish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review the book.

Please visit the author's website by clicking here.

Other Stops On The Tour:

Wednesday, March 24th: Regular Rumination

Thursday, March 25th: Book Addiction

Monday, March 29th: Life in the Thumb

Thursday, April 1st: Steph and Tony Investigate

Monday, April 5th: Raging Bibliomania

Tuesday, April 6th: Wordsmithonia

Wednesday, April 7th: BookNAround

Thursday, April 8th: Laughing Stars

Monday, April 12th: Eclectic/Eccentric

Tuesday, April 13th: Books for Breakfast

Wednesday, April 14th: Worducopia

Thursday, April 15th: Write Meg


Heidenkind said...

This book sounds pretty fun, actually!

bermudaonion said...

I assumed I'd have to know a lot about Shakespeare to enjoy this one, too. Glad to see that's not the case. Great review!

Jan von Harz said...

A very lovely review. Makes me interested in reading this just from your statements about the author's writing and the various characters.

Anonymous said...

I think your review did justice to the book, Ryan. I agree about Hermes's writing; it's witty, poetic, and full of different meanings. It's one of those books that can be read over and over again and you'll find something new each time.

Anonymous said...

I actually have enjoyed the Shakespeare I've read, but it's good to know that I don't have to remember much of Hamlet to enjoy the story. This sounds like a good one. I have to admit that I just love the title, not sure why.

Stephanie said...

I am reading this book now and, like you, I am loving the author's way with words. Great review!

trish said...

I'm so glad you liked it! I love how people connect with books differently, and I love how much you loved the words that were used. I've never thought of words becoming a character in and of themself, but you make a great case for it! Glad you liked this one more than the last one. :)

Staci said...

Your review was fantastic Ryan and I'm glad that you enjoyed it so much. For me, I still stand by really needing to understand the background story ahead of time and maybe that would've increased my enjoyment of this one. However, that being said, I still don't think I would've liked it. And that is why it's so great to get different views on the same book!!

Meg @ write meg! said...

So glad you enjoyed this one -- I'm really looking forward to starting it! It sounds great and will be my weekend project. :)

Simcha said...

I've also been wanting to read this book ever since I saw it reviewed at Misfit Salon. I'm glad to see that you also enjoyed it. Now I really need to read it.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

So this was your book tour! :) This sounds like a great read. The writing and words put together is a big thing, and sounds that it has surpassed the expectations. And the characters have fared rather well too! Thank you!