The idea behind this book is that the greatest love story we’ve ever known, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, didn’t end the way we think. Instead of a double suicide as the play depicts, Romeo has murdered Juliet in a deal that would make him immortal, but that immortality has come at a price. We learn that Romeo’s price for his immortality is that he has become a member of the Mercenaries, a dark force that thrives on the failure of soul mates ending up together. We also learn that on Juliet’s deathbed she was recruited by the opposite side, the Ambassadors and she has to fight against Romeo to keep the soul mates together. In order to do this, the pair takes over bodies and become part of the lives of the soul mates, Juliet enters the body of Ariel Dragland, the best friend of one of the soul mates and Romeo enters Dylan Stroud, a boy who Ariel had been on a joke (on Dylan’s part) date and the pair had gotten into a car accident, killing Dylan, which allowed Romeo to enter. Between soul mates Juliet is transported to some mist where she in unaware, whereas Romeo stays on earth in some form, and by the time this book takes place it has been 700 years since their deaths in Verona.
Juliet/Ariel escapes the car and runs from Romeo before he is able to catch up and she hops into the car of Ben Luna, who after some questioning and some cleaning up, takes Juliet/Ariel home. We learn that when Juliet takes over a body, she inherits their memories and their mannerisms so she is not suspected. Ariel is a very shy and self-conscious girl who is in her senior year of high school and has scars down one side of her face from grease as a child. Her relationship with her mother is not the greatest, the pair fight about Ariel wearing makeup over her scars and the fact that the scars will hold her back, making Ariel feel like she is not really worth much. We also learn that Ariel’s best friend Gemma walks all over her, but she is Ariel’s only real friend, so she is just happy to have a friend.
Juliet/Ariel soon figures out that the soul mates she is there to protect are in fact Ben and Gemma, both of their auras are glowing red brightly (Juliet is able to see them because of her powers) but things quickly go wrong for the pair. Ben starts showing interest in Ariel, which Juliet is trying to prevent. Other problems arise, Juliet and Romeo’s powers aren’t as strong as they were before, and their higher-up contacts in their respective organizations are unreachable. Romeo is also convinced that he has come across a spell that will free the pair of their duty to the Ambassadors and Mercenaries, but the pair would have to love again, which Juliet does not want to accept. She hates Romeo for what he did to her, taking her fate in his hands. Romeo tells Juliet that he had no idea she would be in a similar fate to him, he was just looking for her happiness. Romeo explains that he did what he did so that they would not end up unhappy – they were both shunned by their families, would have had to leave Verona and may not have been able to survive without any means for money or food.
Stacey Jay captivates readers with this page turner. She takes a, let’s be honest, beaten to death love story and puts a spin on it that keeps the reader wanting more. Jay combines the sophistication and experience of Romeo and Juliet’s 700 years with Ariel, Gemma and Ben’s teen years and comes up with the win. While this book is classified as Young Adult, the gripping story and pace to this novel will make you rush to your nearest library or bookstore to get your hands on its sequel “Romeo Redeemed”.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars.