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Bloody Bookaholic's Commandment:

Thou Shall Read Till Thy Eyes Bleed

Monday, 7 October 2013

Review: A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchinson

A Wounded Name

Title: A Wounded Name
Author: Dot Hutchinson
Series: n/a
Book #: 1
Pages: 320
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket
Goodreads Rating: 3.89
Published: Sept. 01, 2013

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.


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"

Taschima's POV:


A Wounded Name is not for everybody. It is not fast and exhilarating, but it is still quite wonderful. Just prepare yourself and give yourself a little time to sink into the prose, and do not hurry it or expect to be finish with it too soon. Don't rush it, just sink into it. Maybe then Ophelia's madness and frank words, which she only seems to be able to tell herself, will be able to enthrall you. I have never been a big fan of Shakespeare, but after reading A Wounded Name I find myself wondering if I should give the old bard another try.
"There's a girl who could do as he asks, who could take action unfettered by pale thoughts, who could race out into the unknown and trust people to catch her, who could throw herself headfirst into life and forge an unbreakable name, an identity that stands on its own without fathers or brothers or loves who devour and shatter.
I've never been that girl."
This is not a story about redemption. Dot Hutchinson isn't trying to redeem Ophelia's character, make her seem as something more, which she isn't and never has been, to a new contemporary audience. Ophelia isn't strapping on the kick ass boots and leaving behind an antiquated kind of world. Ophelia isn't a kick ass chick, that is not the girl she is and she herself knows it. The point of A Wounded Name is not to transform this character, it is just to tell the story through the characters eyes, and ultimately if not redeem her then show her through a more sympathetic lens. While many will find the story slow moving, I know I did, and a little old fashion (hello! It is Shakespeare!) perhaps they shall also find themselves captured in the soft spoken yet beautiful writing and it's wonderful descriptions.
"What name do we give the pain? The fury? The grief? What name do we give the part that drowns and the part that dies? What do we call the fragments that remain?

The story plays out exactly like it does in the original Hamlet, only some minor tweaks are made. It is set in a contemporary world (they use E-MAIL) yet it holds on tightly to antiquated ways of living. Like, for example, the story is set in a school where Hamlet, the headmaster, dies, and so his brother takes his place. In this school the boys are taught everything by the top professors in the world, they grow to be powerful men, but the girls are only taught how to care for their future husbands and be the best trophy wives. There is another school however that wants to take over this school and change the regime in order to teach girls as they should be taught (in a contemporary sense). It is a mix of the old with the new, and it serves the novel's purposes quite well.

The tale is told through Ophelia's eyes in first person POV. So you get to experience the madness that plagues the character. Ophelia is a bit of a push over, she finds it hard to stand up for herself, and who wouldn't with the way she was raised. In the novel she had lost her mother eight years before and she still feels the pain. No matter that her mother tried to drown Ophelia along with herself. This all plays out against a rich background of mystical characters such as morgens, the Hunt, bean sidhes, and ghosts. She is a broken girl who gives into the madness that plagues her. Because she is her mother's girl.

There is also very sensual moments scattered throughout. Moments between Ophelia and Dane, the headmaster's son. He is a puzzle of a character, just as the original character was. He is also a little mad, both as in crazy and sorely pissed. Sometimes, most of the time, I wanted to slap these characters upside the head, but then I remembered that this is their purpose. They are not meant to branch into other directions, forge new destinies. There is no happy ending in these pages, but there is a little bit of happiness sprinkled among them. The romance between Ophelia and Dane, while deranged at times, fit their characters and goes with the original play. It is a bit of light among their dark world.

As a contemporary girl who LOVES it when a kick ass girl takes control of her fate, doesn't give up, and defeats her demons (sometimes quite literately) the ending left a sour taste in my mouth. But with the right mind set it is the right ending Ophelia drowns just as she drowns in Hamlet. The only bad thing is that I felt like I needed to see how the story ended, because even know I KNOW how it ends, because it follows the same plot as the original Hamlet, I still felt like Dot Hutchinson managed to make the characters all her own and I wanted to witness their endings as well. Maybe this will hopefully turned out in a novella at some point.


As I previously stated A Wounded Name is not for everybody. It is slow, it has a lot of description, and sometimes it can be quite a handle (Ophelia can describe the same thing in a numerous of different ways). But at the end I feel like I am better off that I read it. I came to really sink into the novel, drowned in its words. And that is no small feat.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this book-the writing is so beautiful and I was completely absorbed. However I have to agree with you that it's not for everyone. Many people are surely not going to click with it but I hope they'll at least give it a try.


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