Review: Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

All great men kill kings.

Foul is Fair was my most anticipated book of 2020 after reading The Dead Queens Club by the same author last year. This book differs from Dead Queens Club in a variety of ways but it also has some similarities, the main one being that they’re both retellings, albeit one historical the other fictional. The similarities don’t go much further than that and the fact that they’re both written by the same author. Where Dead Queens Club is very feminist in its portrayal, Foul is Fair borders on misandrist at times.

I’ll preface this review by saying that I enjoy reading reading books about bad people doing bad things, but if that’s not something you usually find yourself enjoying then I’d suggest either skipping this read or finding another reason to enjoy it. Now if you do enjoy reading about teenagers taking out revenge then this is just the read for you. Foul is Fair does have a lot of trigger warnings, all of which can be found here with chapter titles as well.

Capin manages to write this revenge story in a way where the reader knows the story is far fetched and unrealistic, but this does nothing more than to add to the atmosphere as well as story. The characters don’t really act like the 16 year-olds you’d see in real life, nor do their actions reflect that of typical teens. But the story manages to do something I love and have seen few authors pull of, it manages to showcase and exemplify the real lives and relationships of teenagers by means of exaggeration.

He hates me the way he hates all of them: haughty rich boys and their numb mindless girls, untouchable behind defense teams only the guilty can afford.

I’m not the biggest Shakespeare fan out there seeing as I’ve only read King Lear and the parts of Macbeth I was required to in secondary school. But if you enjoy Shakespeare and specifically Macbeth you’ll probably be able to catch a lot of the references and such than I was; since Foul is Fair is a retelling of Macbeth told from the perspective of Lady Macbeth.

I like reading retellings whether it be fairytale, historical or fictional; especially retelling that are able to stand on their own and which don’t actually require the reader to completely know what the source material is. That’s what I see Foul is Fair as being, you’re able to read it without having ever read Macbeth, but if you go into the reading experience with that knowledge then the read becomes even more enjoyable.

Four boys dead on the ground and me, standing over them with a crown in my hands.

I would recommend Foul is Fair to anyone who enjoys reading books about about unlikeable characters, doing unlikeable things. Or if you’re simply in the mood for a modern twist to a shakespearean classic.



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