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Juliet Immortal Hardcover – August 9, 2011
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A Letter from Author Stacey Jay
About the Author
STACEY JAY lives in the California wine country with her husband and their two boys. She is the author of the Megan Berry, Zombi Settler series and several other books for young adults.
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1) This book is filled - FILLED - with cliches. Most of the conversations that the characters hold are rife with trite, common-place sayings. It seems as if the writer was trying to fill her novel with a bunch of "live-your-life-to-the-fullest" quotes to inspire her teenage readers - but, most of the time, they just came off gracelessly, and leaving the reader craving something more original.
2) The characterization of the characters was confusing. Some characters are cast initially as evil, a type of dark evil that is on the verge of psychotic and cannot be righted - yet miraculously, by the end of the novel, they appear to be the exact opposite. This made some plot "twists" rather unbelievable.
3) Going off the poor characterization - the secondary characters had no development, and even though they would occasionally serve a purpose in the plot, their sudden involvement in the plot would not make any sense. The basis of the book was primarily focused on the romance between Juliet and her lover, and this left a book with not much plot to keep the reader engaged. I prefer books where the romance comes second to the plot; however, in this novel, the romance comes first to the plot - if one wouldn't characterize the romance as the WHOLE plot (and, as you might imagine, this practically left the readers with no plot whatsoever, albeit a very predictable one.)
4) Writing was not very engaging, even came of as sloppy at some points. Not very animate, kind of bland.
5) Insta-love. I get it, it's a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, the romance is supposed to be instant, but this was a little too instant. I am a notorious hater of insta-love, but I have to give the writer some credit - the first "instant" they meet is not so cheesy as novels I have read. I actually liked their instant chemistry in the very beginning of the novel; what I didn't like was that TWO DAYS later into the plot, the pair are already discussing marriage.
THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY!!!!!!!!!!!!
6) For the sake of not spoiling the plot for any who still wish to read, I will instead simply say: things happen that are way too unbelievable for words.
If only I'd realized sooner that JULIET IMMORTAL is a book written specifically for people like me - people so disgusted with the original that they will jump with glee when the first chapter reveals Romeo (Oh, Romeo) as the villain of the piece. The villain! YES!
After the first scene, when Romeo tries to choke the life out of Juliet and Juliet runs for her life, I was totally on board. And for the most part, the novel is excellent. The writing is wonderful, beautiful and visceral without ever getting in the way of the story. The book's premise puts Juliet in the body of another girl, Ariel, living this girl's life, equipped with her memoires. But Juliet views Ariel's life with the clarity and a compassion of a stranger. It's an arresting perspective.
The plot is pretty complex. Basically, Juliet's immortal job is to bring star-crossed lovers (like she and Romeo once were) together. Romeo's job is to drive those lovers apart. Things start to go wrong for Juliet when she falls in love with one half of the star-crossed pair that she's been sent to earth to unite. She falls for Ben...even though she has to push him into someone else's arms.
I did end up having some pretty serious problems with JULIET IMMORTAL. Because this initial purpose that I've described - Juliet has an immortal job, she's sure about which lovers she's supposed to bring together, sure that Romeo is there to stop her, as usual - is thrown for a loop at about the 75% point. I'm going to try to explain this without spoilers, so...let's just say that this loop Juliet has to deal with is just the beginning. Juliet gets revelation after revelation in such quick succession that I'd hardly assimilated the one before the next came crashing along.
I didn't have a problem with the pacing of JULIET IMMORTAL until I got to this rushed, overwhelming conclusion. I wanted Jay to deal with these insane curveballs more thoroughly, and I wished they'd been lobbed at the reader earlier in the book. As a result, even though I liked the place where Jay ended the novel for both Romeo and Juliet, it wasn't as satisfying as it might have been otherwise. I had some kind of literary whiplash.