All’s Well by Mona Awad (2021) Review

Do wrong to none

Why I picked up the book:

We meet Miranda, whose life has seen better days. The adage is true – it is pouring for our girl right now: After a horrible accident, her acting career is gone with the wind, her marriage is done, her back pain is here to stay, as is her painkiller addiction. All she has left is her job as a college theater director, but even that is starting to get wet!

Miranda feels that if only she can have a good run of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, things will be alright. But her cast has other things in mind and gang up on Miranda, demanding Macbeth instead.

These poor souls don’t know what they have started because “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” followed their lead and is now “It will have blood, they say: blood will have blood.”

That’s not all their choice of play manifested – three strange benefactors who seem to know everything about Miranda show up in her life with promises of the future she feels she deserves: one in which she gets her play, her students get their dues, her invisible pain no one believes in, is made known. It seems like things might end well for Miranda after all. Or will something wicked her way come?

The book through my criteria lens:

All’s Well narrative is over descriptive and overdramatic. Still, it reads as an intentional choice that gives the story its atmosphere by building on the theatre vibes, and it puts the reader in Miranda’s state of mind with all its artistic flair.

Miranda’s is not an easy state of mind to be in, but oh, is she compelling! She pulls you in from the get-go and gives you no choice to walk away. Not that you’d want to anyway. Her inner world is like one of those horrible accidents where people want to look away but can’t help staring instead. Miranda’s PoV is dark, claustrophobic, and full of angst. But you feel that tiny light of hope fighting to flicker, and that’s exactly the thing to which you hold on. Her energy shifts as the story unfold, taking you right with her. It was fantastic. So weird. It’s like Awad bewitched the book!

The character work and atmosphere were flawless, in my opinion. All’s Well was a book I simply couldn’t put down and read in two days. Usually, I feel the need to take breaks from books this emotionally charged, as I get right into the character’s head, but this book is so magnetic that I couldn’t stop thinking about it whenever I wasn’t reading it.

The only thing that kept me from giving it 5 stars was that it took me a few chapters to get into the flow because of the perspective.

My personal feelings:

All’s Well was a crazy ride, a perfect homage to Shakespeare while keeping its unique voice. It is innovative, fresh, fascinating, and a little scary.

The third act was a wild, crazy, heart-pounding rollercoaster. Plan to read it in one go because it is a succession of WTF moments in the best possible way.

I can’t wait to see what Mona comes up with next. WOW!

Enjoyability     8

Characters       10

Ambience        10

Fairness          10

Plot                  10

Execution        9

My total rating: 4.75

I mention this book in this video: https://youtu.be/DNg6WB-bTtU

I mention this book in this video: https://youtu.be/aCVzsNukUXM

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Penguin Random House Canada, Mona Awad, and NetGalley or providing me with a copy of All’s Well.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

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