All Night Awake
All Night Awake is a sequel to Ill Met by Moonlight, which described young Will Shakespeare’s first encounter with Faerie. He hadn’t yet done any writing, was in fact a schoolteacher, so this second book in the series gets him to London, even more involved with the elves and towards the end finally sees him picking up his pen. One foresees more to follow. The research behind these books can be seen in author’s notes, where it is explained what theories of Shakespearean scholarship she is utilizing, or not, and she freely admits shaping her story just as she likes it. Following the success of Shakespeare in Love, apparently pop-Shakespeare is in vogue. Tapping into the vast mystique of the Bard is risky if you offend the fans, but if the consensus is approval, the sheer numbers will be with you. This is not meant to be high literature, but it is supposed to be entertaining. My confession outright, I liked it not. The gimmicky action and melodramatic fantasy just did not add up for me. Each chapter begins with an italicized stage setting: “The fairy palace. Queen Ariel sleeps on her high, gilded bed.” Quotations derived from authentic Shakespeare are all uttered by players other than hapless Will. “What light beyond yonder window breaks” is said to himself by Christopher Marlowe, right after his body is possessed by the evil exiled Elf King. As many Shakespearean tidbits as possible are injected into the narrative. If this is your kind of fun, enjoy.