Monday, 5 September 2011

Review: Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

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.

I really loved this book – the prose was unbelievably exquisite at points, the plot was inspired, and the characters brilliantly constructed.
It takes the idea of Romeo and Juliet and added a fresh twist that works brilliantly with the original, and fleshed out characters that we already know – but giving them a new edge. Romeo evil? Juliet kick ass?? I mean come on – how can you not love this?! It’s a brilliant re-envisioning of the original, fleshing out the characters without forgetting the violence and heart breaking inevitability.

The relationship that developed between Ben and Juliet was just so beautiful to watch – it made me feel like this is what true perfect love it, and it made me melt every time they spent time together.
The tender romance was offset with the depressing violence and anger that filtered through the rest of the novel. It took you from the dizzying heights of true love, to the horrific moments with what Romeo has become. It covered everything, and it did it brilliantly.

I love how strong Juliet became throughout, and how she learnt from her past mistakes, worked through her issues and problems and came out the other side a stronger person, who wasn’t going to make the same mistakes again.
I loved this fresh look at Romeo – who was one of the best characters in the novel. He got the full arc, the evil bad boy, the redemption, but also the most truthful character throughout.

It examined the idea of true love – particularly first true love, how it affects people and how it can go wrong, and the idea that dying for love is romantic – in fact Juliet captures it best in this moment:-

“That horrible play. That contemptible, lying play he helped Shakespeare pen all those hundreds of years ago when he first twisted our story to fit his agenda. It worked far too well. Shakespeare’s enduring tragedy did its part to further the goals of the Mercenaries – glamorizing death, making dying for love seem the most noble act of all, though nothing could be further from the truth. Taking an innocent life – in a misguided attempt to prove love or for any other reason – is a useless waste.

There were a couple of points that I wasn’t completely sold on. Gemma for example, wasn’t so much schizophrenic as completely nonsensical – I know she was meant to be a mess, but her character was so all over the place that I didn’t care about her and never really understood what the hell she was on. She had potential, but she never really grasped it.

The other thing that I felt was a little underdeveloped were the massive bombs being dropped on Juliet towards the end of the book about the Mercenaries and Ambassadors and the worlds physics. Whilst Juliet was only just finding out so it kind of made sense to only find out then and that briefly, it still felt like it was underdeveloped and I wanted to know more about it.

All in all this was a brilliant concept very well executed. There were a few hiccups with some parts, but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book overall. The only thing I would say is whilst it was beautiful, heart breaking, and poignant, it also left me feeling slightly depressed at the end.
I’d highly recommend it for anyone looking for a fresh plot with a beautiful love story at its heart.

I also recommend checking out Angie's review of Juliet Immortal - she was the one who sold me on the book in the first place!

The ending left me feeling a little bit mixed. On the one hand, yay for everyone being happy! On the other, the happiness was all in alternate realities and the one the rest of the book was set in was almost completely destroyed with half the characters dead and the rest mentally scarred by the events – all for the sake of one pair of soul mates who weren’t that nice in the first place. It just left me with a bitter taste after loving the rest of the novel.

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