Saturday, September 24, 2011

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Book Details 
Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
Hardcover, 320 Pages
2011, Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0385740166

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 love Stacey Jay's Megan Berry, Zombie Settler books and I was excited to see how she would put a paranormal spin on a character as well known as Juliet Capulet. Juliet Immortal is refreshingly free of vampires (immortal tends to make people worry about those kinds of things) and manages to do justice to the "tragic love" of Romeo and Juliet.

I have a deep appreciation of Shakespeare and his works, Romeo and Juliet in particular. I often feel that people don't truly understand what was going on in that play though. Much is said about those "star-crossed lovers," but when you really look at them - they're selfish immature children caught up in something that spirals out of control. It's a tragedy, the outcome of their relationship, but it's hardly a love story. I see it more as a cautionary tale, the basic idea of which having been distorted by "romantics" into something to aspire to rather than fear.

I do have a point in my Romeo and Juliet rambling - Stacey Jay takes the bare bones of Shakespeare's play and makes it clearer. She gives voice to Juliet, allowing her to reexamine her past. More importantly, she doesn't glamorize the actions of the couple. Underneath the paranormal elements, she gives the couple more realistic, and - in my opinion - better, ending.

The dark seriousness of Juliet Immortal caught me unaware. Stacey Jay is a fabulously humorous author. Unfortunately, she doesn't bring any of her usual comedic tone to Juliet Immortal. The book is broody and angsty, which meshes with the Romeo and Juliet theme, but doesn't do much for the entertainment value of the book. I wasn't expecting light and fluffy, but I wasn't expecting this opposite end of the spectrum either.

Fans of Stacey Jay's previous novels may find Juliet Immortal hard to get through. Readers who dub Romeo and Juliet as their favorite romance ever will strongly dislike the plot progression in this book. I loved the story itself, but the style and overall tone lacked everything I enjoy about Jay's writing.



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