I’m not usually drawn to romance novels and the current crop of dark romance really hasn’t appealed to me. I was drawn to Juliet Immortal, not because it falls into either of these categories, but because of the unique story premise.
Stacy Jay’s most recent addition to dark romance for young adults (read teens) brings the immortal story of Romeo and Juliet to the 21st century.
Opening with a brief look back to Verona, Italy, we are then plunged into modern day Solvang, California and Juliet’s soul returning again. Romeo has also returned. Instead of returning as lovers, the couple is now adversaries caught in the eternal struggle of good and evil.
We learn along throughout the story that Juliet didn’t kill herself as Shakespeare had told us. But rather was killed by her new husband Romeo to ensure his own immortality. He wasn’t aware that Juliet would be offered eternal life to become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light.
Juliet spent the seven hundred years since her death in a struggle to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Romeo, on the other hand, fought for the dark side to destroy the human heart.
The quick jump from Juliet’s 14th century bedroom to her appearance in the body of a modern day teenaged girl threw me off balance. It took me awhile to figure out exactly what the plot was, beyond the usual high school social games. I couldn’t quite figure out why Juliet and Romeo were in the new bodies. Once I got my bearings in the story, it flowed along.
I found myself wanting to not like Romeo. But somehow it just didn’t set right. I just didn’t want Romeo to be anti-romance, anti-love. But so often I found myself saying “How could he?’ Was Romeo always so mean?”
As Juliet lived in the body of teenaged Ariel, I sometimes couldn’t tell who was the person behind the actions. Ariel is drawn to the bad boy while Juliet maintains her romantic visions of Romeo.
While written for teenaged girls, Juliet Immortal is a compelling enough story for adult women who like to read romances. It is not the usual formula romance. The reader really does not know whether the modern-day love will prevail nor whether Juliet will be able to save her loving Romeo from the evil masters he serves.
It does help to know more about Shakespeare story of the two lovers; otherwise the reader is lost in some of the characters. A quick Cliff Notes review is all that is needed. As a Shakespeare fan though, I hope it Juliet Immortal will prompt teens to want to read at least a modern translation of the immortal tale.
Unlike some romance stories targeted for young adults, Ms. Jay does not resort to soft porn to draw readers. Although some parents will not appreciate the paranormal aspects of the book, it can be read by older teens without concern for unnecessary graphic sex scenes.
Juliet Immortal is one of the few romances I can recommend to teens and adults. Moms, read this book with your daughter and enjoy it together.