Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: August 9, 2011
Source: Won from The Reader Bee
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Fans of Maggie Stiefvater's "Shiver" and Becca Fitzpatrick's "Hush" will relish this intense paranormal love story featuring Romeo and Juliet, literary history's most tragic couple, who meet again, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies. 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."
In this version of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet has been murdered by none other than her love, Romeo. In Juliet Immortal, they are enemies that have spent eternity fighting each other. Romeo originally killed Juliet so he would be granted immortality and in turn, works with a group of "bad" guys, the Mercenaries. Their mission is to break up true love and literally sacrifice their love. Romeo didn't anticipate that Juliet would also be granted immortality. She would work for the Ambassadors, who try to promote love and soul mates. One day, Juliet wakes up in a girl named Ariel's body. Ariel is on a horrific date with Dylan, who is turning out to be a downright bad guy. Because of this, Ariel has caused a car accident, which is why Juliet takes over her body. Much to her dismay, Romeo wakes up in Dylan's body and chaos ensues. Juliet must defend herself immediately as Romeo is out to kill her once again. Thankfully, Juliet does escape and assumes the role of Ariel, who lives in present day California. But with Romeo around there's much more drama to come; in fact, Juliet starts to feel something for someone in Ariel's life, a good guy named Ben. This is not allowed by the Ambassadors of the Light and with Romeo in town trying to kill her, it makes for a precarious situation. Stacy Jay's Juliet Immortal is an interesting take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but hardcore fans of the love story will be disappointed by Jay's twist on the classic.
I will admit that it took me awhile to get past the fact that Romeo and Juliet aren't in love and that it is quite the opposite. Once I let go of that, I was able to enjoy Juliet Immortal a bit more. When Ariel/Juliet is escaping and fighting for her life on the night of the date with Dylan/Romeo, she receives help from Ben. There was a lot of insta-love between Ariel and Ben and this bothered me. It was as if all of a sudden they had this intense connection and profound love. I had a hard time believing in their quick connection, but I trusted in Jay's story and I'm glad that I did. (That's all I will say as I am avoiding any major spoilers.)
Dylan/Romeo was great as a "bad guy," but like I said, it broke my heart to see Romeo as a villain. Towards the second half of Juliet Immortal, the action and violence kept me on the edge of my seat.
Speaking of violence, I must point out that there were parts of this novel that were pretty gruesome. Yes, the original story of Romeo and Juliet is violent; however, this felt even more so. Younger readers should definitely keep this in mind.
One aspect of Juliet Immortal that I would have liked to learn more about is the background regarding the Mercenaries and Ambassadors of Light. I felt like it wasn't fully explained and I needed more information in order for it to be a bit more believable.
There are many twists and turns in Juliet Immortal. In fact, the last few chapters, I liked the most as things started to pick up and the ending took me by surprise. All in all, I thought Juliet Immortal was entertaining, but not enough to pick up the second book in the series, Romeo Redeemed, which comes out this October. I think I'll stick to Shakespeare's classic tale of Romeo and Juliet. What can I say? I'm a traditionalist.