ARC REVIEW: THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY
A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.
1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.
The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.
Title: THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY
Author: Cat Winters
Source: eARC via the Publisher
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I liked that it was built out of the basic premise for Hamlet and that there were references to the play but it was entirely it's own story and one that needed to be told. I think the best part is that it was "accessible" to people because, even if you haven't read Hamlet, you know the general story line so you had a bit of an idea of what was going to happen. However, this story is so much more than just about Hanalee finding her father's killer and I highly recommend this one.
Everything about this one was really good: I could feel the fear that Hanalee had when trying to just live. I would have liked to have a bit more of her thoughts on the fear and anticipation she was feeling since we were in her head the entire time but I never really got the feeling she was scared or upset until near the very very end of the book. And I think with how much that was going on in her life, she should have been a little more afraid, in my opinion. Or at least should have ~felt~ or ~acted~ a little more afraid.
I loved the premise of the story and I thought it was so eye opening and interesting. I also really liked the updates at the very end that described the changing laws over time after the book concludes. I also liked the author's note. I don't really have any complaints about the way the story was told.
I was not a fan of the pictures that were sporadically placed throughout the book. Partly because they were very front heavy which made it difficult for me to really get into the book because I felt like they were constantly interrupting my reading, but also because it felt like a history lesson. They could have just as easily been included at the end and made the same amount of sense rather than placing them in there during the course of the story. Otherwise, it FELT like the 1920s so no complaints in terms of it not "feeling" like historical fiction.
I also really liked that 1. there were chapter titles and 2. the chapter titles were all lines from Hamlet. That really connected the story for me and also helped me understand where this chapter and story were headed. I thought that the pacing and the chapter length were good too as they were short but held a lot of information and made it easy to get from one chapter to the next. This is definitely a book you can read in one sitting.
I highly recommend this one as it helps you understand the type of hatred and prejudice that still run rampant in the world through the eyes of a very passionate and wonderful character. I think everyone will feel for Hanalee and even though she is a fictional character, I wish her the best of luck in the rest of her life.