Kill Shakespeare is back, bringing the violent mayhem of volume one to a gory, blood-strewn crescendo. There’s little preamble in this book. Instead it goes almost immediately into an epic battle, pitting Hamlet, Juliet, Othello, Falstaff and their army of unruly peasants; against Richard, Lady Macbeth, the three witches, Iago and a horde of Macbeth’s chaotic-looking Black Guard.
Most of the action concentrates on the main characters as they work their way around the battlefield. Hamlet, meanwhile, continues his side-quest to find his creator, William Shakespeare, in the hope that his magic quill can save the world.
This is something of an epic finale with so many characters’ stories to resolve, but it’s compelling stuff. McCreery and Del Col manage to write in a few surprises and the book goes out with a bang, keeping the pace going right up to the end. There’s no point denying that an epic battle between Shakespearian characters isn’t something worth watching, but the battle is long and perhaps stretched out a chapter or so too far.
This has an impact on the character development. Apart from the indecisive Hamlet and the odd twist of fate, it’s mostly fighting, with the characters playing their types straight down the line.
While it doesn’t have the novelty value of the first book, the characters’ stories are tied up quite neatly. There’s not enough originality to this second volume to make it as fascinating and novel as the first but it shouldn’t disappoint fans of the original who are looking for closure.