A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison
Published: September 1st 2013 by Carolrhoda Lab
Format/Source: Audiobook from Librarything’s Early Reviewers
Genre: Paranormal Retelling/Tragedy (Maybe Young Adult)
There’s a girl who could throw herself head first into life and forge an unbreakable name, an identity that stands on its own without fathers or brothers or lovers who devour and shatter.
I’VE NEVER BEEN THAT GIRL.
Sixteen-year-old Ophelia Castellan will never be just another girl at Elsinore Academy. Seeing ghosts is not a skill prized in future society wives. Even when she takes her pills, the bean sidhe beckon, reminding her of a promise to her dead mother.
Now, in the wake of the Headmaster’s sudden death, the whole academy is in turmoil, and Ophelia can no longer ignore the fae. Especially once she starts seeing the Headmaster’s ghosts- two of them- on the school grounds.
At the center of her crumbling world is Dane, the Headmaster’s grieving son. He, too, understands the power of a promise to a parent- even a dead one. To him, Ophelia is the only person not tainted by deceit and hypocrisy, a mirror of his own broken soul. And to Ophelia, Dane quickly becomes everything. Yet even as she gives more of herself to him, Dane slips away. Consumed by suspicion, rage, and madness, he spirals towards his tragic fate- dragging Ophelia, and the rest of Elsinore, with him.
YOU KNOW HOW THIS STORY ENDS.
Yet even in the face of certain death, Ophelia has a choice to make- and a promise to keep. She is not the girl others want her to be. But in Dot Hutchison’s dark and sensuous debut novel, the name “Ophelia” is as deeply, painfully, tragically real as “Hamlet”.
I didn’t like this book. I took what is clearly the longest time I’ve ever needed to finish an audiobook. I’ve been slowly, painfully, making my way through the audiobook since November. It’s April. The only reason why I didn’t give up was because I felt like I needed to finish it to properly explain why I didn’t like it. But given all that time, I know exactly what parts I didn’t like.
- There was almost no setting. Where was Elsinor? In what age is it taking place, truly? Other than time of yea…moreI didn’t like this book. I took what is clearly the longest time I’ve ever needed to finish an audiobook. I’ve been slowly, painfully, making my way through the audiobook since November. It’s April. The only reason why I didn’t give up was because I felt like I needed to finish it to properly explain why I didn’t like it. But given all that time, I know exactly what parts I didn’t like.
- There was almost no setting. Where was Elsinor? In what age is it taking place, truly? Other than time of year, weather, and details of the building and grounds, there is not a whole lot to explain where this story is taking place. The way the characters spoke was so outdated (perhaps due to the poetic nature of the entire book) that it lacked the appropriate tone for what I assumed was supposed to be a modern day setting in America.
- It’s a true retelling. There is really not much deviation from the original other than the fact that it’s Hamlet told from Ophelia’s point of view. It would have done better to separate the story more from the original to make it stand stronger on its own.
- If you like poetic prose, then you might like this. But boy is it poetic! At times, it felt like I was listening to the longest poem ever, which meant that I grew confused as to what was going on. What is this star in her chest? So many times I grew disconnected with the story as we were grew lost in Ophelia’s mind-poems.
- Abuse. I am not usually bothered by themes of sexual abuse and the different forms an abusive relationship can take. But it has to be done as tastefully as it can be and not condone such relationships or behavior. A Wounded Name was basically one long story about a teenage girl in a very abusive relationship, both emotionally and physically, where she might realize it’s bad but ‘couldn’t get away’. I don’t mean that it is fair to say that everyone is automatically strong enough to escape from such relationships. I completely understand how it is a complex issue with a lot of sensitivities. This book had so much abuse it went beyond unnecessary. If you have a trigger relating to abusive relationships, I recommend you do not read this.
- It doesn’t take a genius to know that a retelling of Hamlet from Ophelia’s point of view would be depressing. And boy is it. I don’t think there was a light moment in the entire tragedy. The tragedy was not limited to just the ending. It was a very heavy throughout the entire book. It did not inspire me to want to continue continue with the story. I almost had to steel myself for the misery that was about to come out of my speakers every time I turned it on.
- The narrator was not one of my favorites. Choosing a British voice actress only further confused the setting. And while her voice/performance was definitely well suited for a poetic reading, listening to it for all 11 CDs was tough.
I think this is a very polarizing book. I am clearly on one end of the spectrum. I think I’ll stick to the original.