Synopsis from Goodreads
Never was there a tale of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo…But true love never dies. Though they’re parted by the veil between the world of mortals and the land of the dead, Romeo believes he can restore Juliet to life, but he’ll have to travel to the underworld with a thoroughly infuriating guide.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, may not have inherited his father’s crown, but the murdered king left his son a much more important responsibility—a portal to the Afterjord, where the souls of the dead reside. When the determined Romeo asks for help traversing the treacherous Afterjord, Hamlet sees an opportunity for adventure, and the chance to avenge his father’s death.
In an underworld filled with leviathan monsters, ghoulish shades, fire giants and fierce Valkyrie warriors, Hamlet and Romeo must battle their way through jealousy, despair, and their darkest fears to rescue the fair damsel. Yet finding Juliet is only the beginning, and the Afterjord doesn’t surrender souls without a price…
I first saw Such Sweet Sorrow without the synopsis and was completely smitten with the cover and you know me with classic re-imaginings I am a shoe-in However, I was expecting a nice, romantic read developing the themes within the original. Such Sweet Sorrow isn’t that book, instead we have a continuation of Romeo and Juliet whereby Romeo survives the poison and seeks to resurrect Juliet from the dead.
The book starts with retrospective musings on Romeo’s behalf that do add clarity to the themes within the original as well as this story (I am loath to continue to call it a re-imagining as it is a completely different tale). Personally, I felt that this was the only time Such Sweet Sorrow reflected the original Romeo and Juliet in any way.
The inclusion of Hamlet was ingenious in its usage. The characterisation of both Romeo and Hamlet and their interactions added depth to the plot. Themes of mortality woven with mythology provide food for thought. Use of the Orpheus myth added to the journey Romeo and Hamlet were undertaking. Norse and Greek mythology were predominately used alongside varying religious concepts regarding the afterlife, while weaving an intriguing point of view it did prove slightly confusing. Sirens, Fates and other mythological creatures make an appearance adding to the dynamic nature of the plot.
The writing is very descriptive, a lot goryer than I normally read. I felt it should have come with a disclaimer ‘Do not read while eating’
While Such Sweet Sorrow wasn’t what I expected the ideal of love surviving death shines through the narrative. Themes of friendship, loyalty and trust alongside eternal love and soul-mates create the foundation of this book. Pushing the barriers between free-will and destiny; how much do you think or lives are controlled by outside forces and are the boundaries removable?