The most tragic love story in history . . .
Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.
"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
OK, here comes a long review. Ready?
I have been wanting to read this book for a very long time. I saw it on Amazon and read the interview posted there with author Stacey Jay. I loved her interview and thought, "I've got to read this book!" Because, let's be honest, Romeo and Juliet is a classic, but it's also morbid. They don't call it a tragedy for nothing. I won't mention that I was completely obsessed with it as a teenager.
When my library called and told me they'd bought the book because I requested it, I was ecstatic! I drove over right then and got the book. I finished it 4 days later. The surprising thing was that, while I felt a push to finish and know what was going to happen next, it wasn't all that hard for me to put the book down in between my reading spurts. So, while 4 days seems pretty fast, it's actually longer than I would have expected.
Juliet: Eh...I'm not quite sure how I liked her as a character. If she were a normal person, rather than the heroine of a love story, I'd probably like her just fine. But the fact was she supposedly had 700 years of practice, and all of a sudden it's really hard for her to do her job. What? There was a little bit of light shed on that subject late in the book. For those of you who've read it, it's the comment Nurse makes about the number of shifts she's done. For those of you who haven't read it, read it and you'll discover what I mean.
Overall, I was sort of unmoved by her performance. I didn't hate her, but she wasn't one of my all-time favorite characters. And really, being distracted by a guy...wasn't that what got her into this mess in a first place?
Romeo: Surprisingly, I liked him. Sorta. Kinda. Just a little. He's super complex and totally warped. I'm probably a tad bit biased toward him because I've already started the sequel (called Romeo Redeemed...). But in the end we discover that even though he's a monster, he is still doing what he thinks is best and what will save Juliet. It's like he says, he's always loved her.
Ben: Um, I'm just going to say that I would have totally loved Ben had it not been for one simple thing. The head-over-heels, complete devotion kind of love that abounded seemed way too fast for me. It's supposed to be love at first sight, but that's what got Juliet into this mess in the first place! (Wait...have I said that before?) So really, it's not his fault. As a guy, I liked him. He was awesome. The situation was what make me pull back just a little. However, there was a twist at the end that was totally brilliant.
The plot was fascinating. It was unlike anything I've ever read before. Two thumbs way up. The pacing was good and I didn't feel any jerks in the storyline (except for with Ariel's "best friend" Gemma. 'Scuze me? What kind of friend....never mind.) A drawback is the amount of blood, guts and gore mentioned in this book. The Mercenaries are the bad guys, and they are way bad guys. They feed (literally) off of killing people and convincing lovers to murder each other. Yeah, ick. There wasn't always a ton of detail, but that's the beauty of a good writer. She suggests just enough to let your mind fill in the blanks. And then, of course, there are the times when she just lays it out on the line and you don't need an imagination to know exactly what's happened.
All in all, if you don't have a weak stomach, this is a very interesting book, worth reading if you've got a gap in your to-be-read pile. I am already reading the sequel and finding it very interesting.
There is heavy violence, sexual references and swearing.
- Reading level: Ages 14 and up
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (August 9, 2011)
- Source: local library