A review by amym84
The King of Infinite Space, by Lyndsay Faye

dark emotional mysterious sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


In modern-day New York Benjamin Dane, his friend Horatio, and his ex-fiancée Lia become embroiled in figuring out the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Ben's father Jackson - an oil tycoon with a hand in the New York theatre scene. Ben's mother quickly marrying Ben's uncle Claude afterward is just one alarm bell that's ringing in Ben's ears. Digging into his father's death, Ben keeps circling around the past and realizes that his eyes have been closed to what's been going on around him since his and Lia's breakup nearly two years before. 

The King of Infinite Space is probably one of the best Hamlet retellings / adaptations I've ever encountered. Lyndsay Faye did such a fantastic job of bringing this story to a modern timeline, but also keeping the heart of the original play fully intact. 

I appreciated that Faye dropped in more Shakespearian Easter eggs I think the choices in characters was really indicative of those same characters having this almost supernatural quality about them in their own plays, and they bring a little something extra to this story. They were all right at home here. Not really wanting to go too in-depth because I fear that will ruin some of the surprise twists that Lyndsay Faye played with in this iteration.

I thought that Ben (Hamlet), Horatio, and Lia (Ophelia) all pulled their weight in terms of each getting their own points of view alternating throughout and really commanding their sections. Ben is really a character to be reckoned with - the titular "King" if you will - but I felt like Horatio and Lia both hold their own up against Ben's undeniable frenetic energy. 

This story took me a little longer to parse my way through and not because I wasn't engrossed, but mainly because the words were so important that I took my time with each sentence and phrase especially where Ben was concerned where asides and breaks were par for the course. I feel like in being so careful to take in each word I really feel like the story has left it's mark and will be one that I continue thinking about for a long while afterward. 

This one is definitely my favorite by Lyndsay Faye. I'd honestly love to see what she can do with other works by the Bard. 

If you're looking for an engrossing updated spin on one of Shakespeare's most famous plays, The King of Infinite Space ticks all the boxes and then some. 

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