William Shakespeare's the Empire Striketh Back, Hardback

William Shakespeare's the Empire Striketh Back Hardback

4.5 out of 5 (27 ratings)


The highly-anticipated second installment in the to the New York Times best-selling series WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S STAR WARS. The best-selling William Shakespeare's Star Wars strikes back with all-new, all-Elizabethan, officially-licensed retellings of Episode V.

Return to the star-crossed galaxy far, far away as the brooding young hero, power-mad emperor, and jesting droids match wits, struggle for power, and soliloquize in elegant and impeccable iambic pentameter.

Illustrated with beautifully intricate, Renaissance-style artwork, the saga of swashbuckling, swordfighting, and romance unfolds like you've never read it before.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 176 pages, spot line drawings
  • Publisher: Quirk Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Humour
  • ISBN: 9781594747151



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Showing 1 - 5 of 27 reviews.

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I'll start this review the same way that I started the review for the previous entry in the series: "The math on this one is pretty simple. Do you like Star Wars? Do you like Shakespeare? Then you'll probably like this. Otherwise, it's not for you."In terms of source material, there's not a lot to say. This is an adaptation of <i>The Empire Strikes Back</i>, with very little deviation. There are a few new scenes, which add a bit of humor to the story but not much else. But you didn't come here to learn the story of <i>The Empire Strikes Back</i>. You came because you already knew it, and wanted to see how it was Shakespearified.On the whole, this was done more successfully than in <i>Verily, A New Hope</i>. Instead of sticking completely to iambic pentameter, Doescher uses some of the other forms employed by Shakespeare, including prose and (most notably) some really good songs. He even threw in a few trochaic inversions, and gave some lines an extra beat if it helped the flow. More questionable was the use of haiku for Yoda, this being far outside the realm of Shakespeare. I get what he was going for--trying to bring in the otherworldliness of Yoda's speech into a dramatic context. I get it, I do. It just didn't work for me. I found myself skimming over Yoda's lines, which is a disservice to the character.In terms of language, we get the same pseudo-Elizabethan English from the original, antique in structure but far too modern in vocabulary. It makes the text accessible to the modern reader and often works well for purposes of humor. We do see flashes of Bardic wordplay, but they are less common than I might have liked.On the whole, this is a worthy sequel to a genuinely innovative original, and I look forward to seeing this trilogy completed. Hell, I'd even love to see the same treatment given to the prequels.

Review by

I got a copy of this book from Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed the first book in this series; Verily, A New Hope. This book was even better than that book and it was a ton of fun to read. The final book in the trilogy, The Jedi Doth Return, is scheduled to release in July 2014.Any Star Wars fan knows the story. Luke, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and crew are on the rebel base on the planet of Hoth. When things go South, Luke flees to get training from Yoda and the rest of the crew flee to seek help from Lando with the Empire hot in pursuit. There is definitely a lot of drama here and it lends itself to Shakespearean style well.I love Shakespeare and I love Star Wars, so of course I enjoy these books immensely. This book was even better than the first book and even more hilarious. I thought Doescher did a much better job with having the characters use asides to tell their point of view, this adds a lot more depth to the story.One of the most hilarious parts of this book is that we get to hear from some of the monsters and bad guys. There is a part where the Wampa laments the escape of his meal and how badly he has been treated. The Exogor (space slug that the Millenium Falcon hides in) has a soliloquy where he expounds on the loneliness of being a space slug. We even hear from some overly dramatic AT-ATs (this had me laughing so hard I was nearly in tears). In addition to the above you get a lot more insight into how people view Darth Vader in a long soliloquy from Admiral Piett. There is also more background on Lando and his past friendship with Han. The numerous soliloquies and asides add a lot more depth to these Star Wars characters we all know and love.Just as with the last book, the asides from R2-D2 are hilarious and his opinion of C3PO echoes my own. This is also the book where Han and Leia discover their feelings for each other, this storyline lends itself to a lot of wonderfully witty banter between the two and many asides where they discuss their feelings for each other. Again these are very witty and funny.As with the last book there are a number of well done Elizabethan style illustrations throughout, these are done in an etched sort of style and again add a lot of humor to this parody. Yoda in an Elizabethan collar is definitely a must see. Overall very, very well done. I really enjoyed this second installment in the Star Wars series retold in a Shakespearean way. There is a lot of witty humor and even parts so funny that I almost laughed until I cried. The illustrations are wonderful. In addition to all of the humor and fun, the asides and soliloquies really do add a lot of depth to the characters and expand on the story some. If you enjoy Star Wars and Shakespeare definitely check this out, if you enjoyed the first book in this Shakespearean Star Wars series definitely check this out. This book is even better than the first one.

Review by

The second installment in the Star War’s Shakespeare trilogy is just as good as the first, though it loses just a tiny bit because readers now know what to expect. The well-known plot follows Luke as he is trained by Yoda and Han and Leia as they travel to Lando Calrissian’s Cloud City.In this book Leia and Han’s antagonistic romance heats up with some cutting Shakespearean insults…“My feelings? O! Thou arrogant half-wit,Thou oversized child, thou friend of slime,Thou man of scruffy looks, thou who herd’st nerfs,Thou fool-born wimpled roughhewn waste of flesh!”Once again we get to enjoy R2-D2’s eloquent asides and the Shakespeare-themed illustrations. We get to see Han grow as a character as he struggles to overcome his past misdeeds and work for the rebel alliance. He’s never chosen others’ needs above his own and the book allows us to hear some of his inner-monologue that the films gloss over. The same is true for Lando, a character that’s barely in the second film. The book gives a little more insight into his decisions.The novelty of the concept certainly doesn’t grow old in this book. It feels just as fresh and original as the first one. The author manages to stick perfectly to the plot while also adding some depth.BOTTOM LINE: As the author reminds us in the Afterword “Remember, this isn’t scholarship; it’s fun.” Reading it should be exactly that: fun! It’s more than entertaining and I can’t wait for the final book in the trilogy to be released. 

Review by

Fantastically done. I am very impressed that the style is so meticulously researched and so lovingly carried out while also staying true to the Empire Strikes Back story and even building it. Several parts made me laugh out loud, and many parts were actually quite moving. I dare you to find something better for literary Star Wars geeks than watching Han and Leia turn from Beatrice and Benedick into Romeo and Juliet.

Review by

At first, it might be difficult to conceive how two vastly different genres (especially two so well-known!) could merge so beautifully. However, as the author has shown it is not only possible but a BRILLIANT idea. As a big fan of the Star Wars franchise and its novelizations, I was blown away by how well the Bard's style was used to re-imagine this epic story. For a Shakespeare novice, it might be a little jarring at first but you get so caught up in the storyline that I don't think that will be a major issue. Star Wars newbies should probably start with the first in the series, William Shakespeare's Star Wars, in order to understand the cast of characters and storyline more fully.All in all, a fabulous read and I HIGHLY anticipate the next installment, William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return!

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