Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Plot Sketch:  We all know the Shakespeare classic Romeo & Juliet.  Or do we?  Stacey Jay creates a world wherein Romeo killed Juliet, sacrificing their love for immortality and placing the two at odds for all eternity - Juliet trying to secure soulmates' love and Romeo trying to get one soulmate to betray the other as he did.  Until this time when Juliet is thrown into Ariel's body.  And everything is different.  All the rules, all the procedures, even Romeo.

Verdict:  Ya know what?  I'm not a huge fan of this one.  But I didn't hate it.  I thought it had the potential to be such a great great book.  The writing was done technically well and flowed well for a fast and easy read.  But mans, the plot seemed to drag on and on.  I feel like one third of the book could have been cut out completely because it focused entirely on Juliet's internal struggle.  Now, internal struggle is fine when there's a point to it, when there's progress with it.  But this same exact struggle happened again and again and I wanted to take Romeo's knife and plunge it through Juliet's heart myself to end not her misery, but mine.

That said, the characters were interesting... about as interesting as they could be for spirits inhabiting others' bodies.  Even Romeo, whom I was primed to hate, grew on me.  I loved Juliet for 2/3rds of the book, excepting those times I wanted to stab her, but really enjoyed the fringe characters as well.  The depth that went into Ariel's relationship with her mother and the relationship that she had with her.  You have to pay close attention though because Jay uses the host bodies' and the spirits' names interchangeably.  While this didn't confuse me, I could see how it might confuse someone who had put the book down for a week or so.

Now when it comes to forging a connection with the characters?  Nope.  I couldn't connect with any of them.  Not Melanie, Gemma, Ariel, Juliet, Romeo, none of them.  There was a bit of humanity missing from each of them.  Granted a fair few of them weren't technically human (Stacey Jay is the zombie queen and this is totally a creative zombie book), but I think the characters needed more depth for me to connect.  I think that if there would have been less repetitive internal struggle, and perhaps a bit more internal thought/feeling/reaction to events unfolding, I might have connected better.

So basically, it's an easy read, a brilliant concept, and a little on the *bang head here* side plot progression-wise.  Fans of Romeo & Juliet, the classic, might really enjoy this spin.

Stacey Jay is also the author of The You Are So Undead To Me series.  We reviewed Jay's My So-Called Death, (and loved it) a stand-alone zombie tale.  You can find Stacey at Facebook and Twitter.  And, you can purchase Juliet Immortal, published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Random House), at Changing Hands or Amazon.