In her latest novel, Where Nothing Ill Can Dwell, Crista McHugh puts a new spin on Shakespeare’s classic The Tempest, setting the tale on the very fringes of the Bard Nebula. This cosmic world is full of beauty and monsters, both human and alien alike.
I recommend pairing Where Nothing Ill Can Dwell with a big glass of Caelum Cabernet Sauvignon. Caelum’s galactic themed wines and cosmic labels are the perfect match for the stellar world of this novel
For most of her seventeen years, Miranda Prospero has lived with her mother on a wild, uncharted world on the fringes of the Bard Nebula, never knowing there were others like them in the star system. All that changes the moment a ship crashes onto her planet and introduces her to another of her species—a handsome, young man named Ferdinand.
But this is no accident.
Miranda’s mother has waited for the perfect moment to extract revenge against those who stripped her of power and exiled her to this remote planet. She orchestrated the system failure that caused the ships to fall from the sky.
Caught in the storm of her mother’s vengeance, Miranda’s conscience is torn. Now she must choose between the only family she’s ever known or risk everything for the boy who makes her heart race with each smile and stolen glance.
The boy who happens to be the son of her mother’s enemy.
I was immediately intrigued by this book upon reading the description. Not just a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, but one set in space?! I IMMEDIATELY requested it on NetGalley when I saw it was available.
Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy reading the actual book as much as I loved the concept of it. While it very closely follows the storyline of The Tempest, which I did enjoy, McHugh did not modernize either the tone or the dialogue enough to make this book really entertaining for a present-day audience.
Because the dialogue is an odd combination of English from the 1700s and our modern dialect, it rang hollow. I just could not imagine anyone actually saying the things they were saying. That feeling of unbelievability unfortunately carried over to the character’s and their actions as well.
Now, what this book does really very well, is setting and world building. The world that Miranda and her mother live on is beautiful and McHugh brings it to life brilliantly.
I feel like this idea just had SO MUCH potential, and I can even understand why McHugh would have wanted to leave the dialogue, tone, and characters as she did, as more of an homage to the original story. Unfortunately, it just did not translate well for me.
I love the color and sense of wonder demonstrated on this cover. I think it really highlights the part of this book that I feel McHugh truly nailed, which was the setting and world building.
If McHugh had just modernized the dialogue a bit more, and made the character’s actions more believable, Ferdinand could have been a very swoon-worthy love interest. Unfortunately, he just falls a little flat.
I would like to thank NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
*Wine Recommendations are, of course, for those of legal drinking age only.*