You can also see this review on my blog, The Bookaholic. :)
I have a mild obsession with all things Shakespeare. Okay. Not mild. Probably classified insane. Whatever. Everyone knows it. And when it comes to getting my interest in any modern re-telling, you’re going to certainly get it if it has to do Shakespeare. So what if I’ve read Romeo & Juliet a thousand times? Or if I’ve read it in a number of variations through the years from other re-tellings? I don’t care. I’ll still give it a try anyway because it’s R & J and based on one of my favorite reads of all time.
“The greatest love story ever told is a lie.”
Naturally, when Juliet Immortal released (in early 2011, I believe?), I wanted it bad. That synopsis? Golden. Not the usual story recycle or anything of that sort. Really sounded like a re-telling with a fresh concept. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the book for some time due to funds, busy schedule, etc.. And when I finally bought it earlier this summer from a clearance sale, I was excited all over again. Also, that tag was enough to get my attention as it was anyway. I didn’t even have to read the synopsis to know I was going to want to read this book. **Though, I need to side note here and say that I feel like people may put too much claim into R & J being a “great love story.” Or is that just me? One of my faves, yes, but I’ve never viewed it as a love story and I still don’t get it. But that’s for a whole separate discussion later! I’m getting off topic! :P
But there was a problem with Juliet Immortal. It completely disappointed me. I probably should’ve expected it though. It really is hard for me to LOVE a re-telling, particularly a Shakespeare one, and this was just another one to add to the pile of blaaaahhh. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the names and a few note toss-ins during the story about the their past, it really could have been just a separate piece all together with no connection at all. I like a re-telling to feel like its own story, but I also like to feel that connection to the original piece as well. I know I mentioned above how much I loved the fresh concept of the idea, and I did and still do, but I still felt disconnected once I’d read. I’m not sure if that makes much sense, but it’s hard to explain really.
I almost marked this as a DNF before I even reached fifty pages in because it starts out a bit dull, and the narrative is so wah wah wah wah… Then there’s also the insta-love, as if Juliet hadn’t learned from her past mistakes enough as it is. But I pushed on because I really did need to get some reading done. I’ve been slacking so bad the last few weeks with NaNo and the family life keeping me busy. It does get better as it gets further along, and I think the story has an interesting plot idea for the re-telling with Romeo and Juliet’s continuation. I would’ve liked a bit more oomph and detail or more background information for better understanding in the beginning. Twists and turns did keep me wanting to turn the pages. And despite my love for the original play and characters, I find it incredibly amusing to take the two and create such a mess between them with this one. I’d love to read another re-telling in the future with something similar to this type of relationship----the idea of Romeo and Juliet hating each other or a what-if (they’d never met)? I think it’d be interesting!
I do give it unique points for the imaginative idea and a thumbs up for managing to grab my attention again. But not one of the better re-tellings I’ve read in recent years. I doubt I’ll continue to the next book because I didn’t find enough curiosity at the end to want it. The writing was well done, even if a bit dry at times--and I’d look forward to reading more from the author in the future I’m sure. :)