Nov 28, 2012

Continental Book Club: Juliet Immortal

An overall enjoyable and fairly original update of Shakespeare's tale.

{ Photo from the author's website }

First of all: the superfluous comma on the cover! It's petty, but it really irks me. Now I've seen that some editions explain what's going on here in greater detail: "Romeo and Juliet, the greatest love story ever told, is a lie." This at least explains where the comma on this edition (which is the one I read) came from - I guess the full description ended up looking too patronizing.*

Sniping aside, I actually didn't hate the book. It's a relatively original update of the story of the star-cross'd lovers (with a paranormal dimension, as the title implies) and has more depth than your average teen romance. It discusses "big issues" such as life after death (again, see the title), and I appreciate the measure of moral ambiguity and unwillingness to strike a clear dichotomony between good and evil. And I'm a big fan of plot twists, of which the novel had plenty.

However: the book sets up a complicated (bordering on convoluted) mythology and sometimes gets overwhelmed by this. And especially towards the end, the plot falters under the story strands to wrap up. Several of the resolutions thus seems a bit pat, though at least one (which leads to the novel's sequel, Romeo Redeemed) is more promising. The portrayals of the characters and their relationships, from teenagers to the adults with whom they interact, oscillate between the verisimilar and sort-of-flat.

Verdict: not completely satisfying but nonetheless enjoyable. If you like The Vampire Diaries (as a guilty pleasure or unabashedly), this falls in the same general category. Sister 1 requested the sequel for Christmas, and I'm looking forward to borrowing it on December 26.

Now given that like the previous two books reviewed here I want to describe this as an "easy read" (sister 1 bought it on Friday, and we'd both finished it by Sunday afternoon), I should do my brain a favor and tackle something more challenging for the next installment.

* In fairness: the cover on Amazon is grammatically correct.

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