I love writers who are confident enough to use Shakespeare’s characters in a new piece of fiction. The premise for this novel was completely unexpected. Not to give too much away, the forces of good and evil have enrolled Romeo and Juliet in an eternal battle of opposites. They are able to inhabit the bodies of others in order to fulfill their missions. Juliet is challenged with ensuring the full bloom of true love which brings a young couple under the protection of the Ambassadors of Light. In addition to destroying lovers before they reach full commitment, Romeo is determined to kill Juliet or turn her to the dark side.
Stacy Jay cleverly creates opposing forces that are complex with murky motivations. As the novel progresses, the reader is unsure if even Juliet is on the right side.
Because Romeo and Juliet have lived through many lives, they speak in a combination of Elizabethan wordage and the vernacular of today’s teens. This can be a bit jarring at times but does suit the story line.
Romeo is an over-the-top villain but, once his complete experiences and motivations are revealed, it seems clear that he is a tortured soul, uncertain of the choices he has made, and quite likely insane. Juliet has not come to terms with her own death and her foolish life ending behavior. After dying so young and inhabiting the bodies and minds of other girls, she not only is unsure of who she is but seems to be suffering from posttraumatic stress syndrome.
The story and the characters are complex and challenging. The reader must pay close attention to each reveal as the plot progresses.
Jay blends suspense, romance, terror, and humor effectively. I enjoyed this book and would definitely read something by this author again.