Something Wicked

If you’ve read Alan Gratz’s Something Rotten (based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet), you’ve got to read Something Wicked (based on Macbeth).  Even if you haven’t read the first book, Something Wicked is definitely worth reading, especially if you’re familiar with the story and characters in Macbeth.

Horatio Wilkes is an amateur sleuth, and when he discovers Duncan MacRae, the founder of the Scottish Highland Games, dead in his tent, he begins to investigate.  At first, evidence points to Duncan’s son, Malcolm, as the murderer, but Horatio soon discovers that his friend Mac and Mac’s girlfriend Beth may be the true culprits.  What drove them to this madness?  And can Horatio prove they’re to blame before he or anyone else is hurt?

If you’ve read Macbeth, you may already know the answers to these questions, but you may still be surprised at how things play out in this modern retelling.  For those of you who haven’t read Macbeth, Something Wicked may be just the hook you need to really get into Shakespeare’s Scottish play.

As I said, I think Alan Gratz’s Something Wicked is a great hook to get readers interested in Macbeth.  It involves teen characters and a modern setting and has a ton of pop culture references, humor, and sarcasm.  If you want more Macbeth, you might also read Caroline B. Cooney’s Enter Three Witches, a story of Macbeth from a scullery maid’s point of view.  Both books are great introductions or companions to this literary classic.

Enter Three Witches: A Story of Macbeth

Okay…I have a confession to make.  I’m not a big fan of Shakespeare’s tragedies.  (Shocking, I know.)  Well, Caroline B. Cooney’s Enter Three Witches may have just changed my mind–at least when it comes to Macbeth.  This retelling of Macbeth follows Mary, a ward of Lord and Lady Macbeth, and several other characters that were not vital or even present in the original play:  Fleance, son of Banquo; Seyton, one of Macbeth’s lackeys; Ildred and Swin, servants in the Macbeth household; and a few other characters.  These characters present the tragedy of Macbeth from their own points of view and provide readers with a very different glimpse of this tale.

These points of view give readers a new look at an old piece of literature.  In my opinion, it makes it more exciting and relevant to young adult readers, as most of the characters are young adults themselves.  Lady Mary, for example, is only fourteen (and, by the end of the book, is on her fourth engagement).

Quotes from Macbeth head each of the chapters and sub-chapters and indicate a new character is speaking.  The original dialogue is also interspersed within the book’s text.  This interweaving of new and old could persuade some readers to go back and read or re-read Macbeth itself to compare the two works.

Caroline B. Cooney definitely has a winner on her hands with Enter Three Witches.  She is helping to make Shakespeare exciting for a whole new audience.  I highly recommend this book!