Cauldron’s Bubble by Amber Elby
Published August 6, 2017
Kindle Edition, 205 pages
MY GOODREADS RATING 4/5 STARS
(Thanks to the author I received a copy of this book to review)
“A magical bubble transports Alda through time and place to a realm of witches and curses, pirates and princes, and the lost worlds of Shakespeare. She, along with a cabin boy called Dreng, must navigate the conflicts and characters of Macbeth, Hamlet, and The Tempest. But will they escape with their lives? Or will they become lost and forgotten?”
Imagine that Shakespeare’s characters could interact off-stage and that their adventures could span beyond the bounds of the Bard’s fiction: Hamlet deviously escapes from the pirates who capture him on the way to England; Macbeth’s witches perform their magic on unsuspecting victims; and a summoner awakes from the shadowy backstory of The Tempest, bent on revenge against those who stole her island. These stories and more come to life in Cauldron’s Bubble as readers follow two new protagonists, an orphan named Alda and a cabin boy called Dreng, as they each search for something lost. The novel alternates between their limited perspectives (third person) as Alda discovers a magical bubble that transports her to Macbeth’s witches on the moor. Dreng, meanwhile, helps Prince Hamlet escape from pirates en route to England. The two protagonists come together on Prospero’s enchanted island, where Alda is on a quest to free Ariel, and Dreng is smitten with the mysterious Miranda. Ultimately, Alda must find power she gained in a forgotten realm called Netherfeld to defeat a powerful summoner, and Dreng must awake to the realities around him before he is consumed by magic.
Lately I’ve really been pulled into books that have elements of Shakespeare in them, so after hearing about this I knew I had to read it. I loved feeling that I was right alongside Alda on this mysterious quest. I found the book descriptive, but not overly done. I wasn’t bored by all the detail, I just got a good look into the setting. The story was super adventurous, which was exactly what I wanted when I picked it up. It was definitely one of those books that was hard to put down.
I really enjoyed Alda as a character, and thought all the characters from Shakespeare’s plays that she met along the way fit so well into the story. I felt that Alda was so great because she didn’t always do the “right thing”. She tended to make mistakes along the way, but seemed to learn a lot about herself. I was a bit sad that Dreng didn’t play as big as a role as I thought, but I can totally see why. I found myself invested in what was going to happen to each of the characters, and that, in my opinion, says there was amazing character development throughout the book.
This book had a unique take on time-travel that I absolutely adored. There is no doubt that I will be devouring this whole trilogy. I found myself trying to guess what was going to happen next, and being terribly wrong. I will say there was a lot going on throughout the book, but it was done really well and tied together wonderfully.