Author: Stacey Jay
Publishing Information: October 9, 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings
Series information: Book 2 in the Juliet Immortal Series
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
Recommended For: Fans of Shakespeare, romance, and tragic heroes
Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart (Via Goodreads).
Warning! There will almost definitely be spoilers for Juliet Immortal in this review, be wary as you read! Also, if you haven’t read Juliet Immortal, go ahead and read it because it’s quite lovely.
Romeo is dying. Actually, dying is an understatement because in actuality he is beginning to decay from the inside and it really isn’t pretty. As his body decays, his mind still holds the guilt for every bit of turmoil he realizes he forced Juliet into. You see, back when Romeo and Juliet lived in Verona, back when he tricked her into killing herself, he really thought he was saving her. He trusted The Friar and believed he was helping Juliet escape from a life of shame and exile. The Friar lied to Romeo and told him that Juliet was going to be living free from sin in Heaven. Unfortunately we know this is not what happened and it was through Romeo’s actions that Juliet suffered.
Finally, after Juliet’s (second) demise, Romeo is given a chance at redemption. He must save Ariel, yes the same Ariel whose body Juliet inhabited in Juliet Immortal, and turn her from the darkness she is slowly falling into. The irony and complication in this task is that Romeo is inhabiting Dylan’s body and in order to save her from the darkness, he must make her fall in love with him. Those of you who remember Dylan from book one can grasp the severity of this cause as Dylan is a jerk (to say the least) and Ariel has an extremely hard time trusting him. The worst part? Romeo has three days. Three days to turn Ariel into a trusting individual, Three days to make Ariel love him, and three days to save them both.
I’m going to be honest here, I really love tortured male leads. I love the whole “I am not worthy” and the angsty, long-haired, “I have a serious edge but really I will snuggle your cat when you’re not looking” kind of guy. It’s just my thing. So Romeo? He’s my kind of dude. He is apparently Ariel’s kind of dude as well because it doesn’t take long for her to fall for him too, and let me tell you Ariel was quite the character herself. In fact, one of my favorite things about this novel was the characterization of Ariel. She had some major STUFF going on in her head yet she was still written like a teenage girl filled with “normal” teenage insecurities. There were moments in the story where there was no doubt in my mind that she and Romeo were destined to be together and it was not because of their mutual goodness. Instead, Ariel stood out at times as a perfect match to Romeo’s dark nature, she was quite kick-ass, and at times, a tiny bit scary. I really fell into their romance, they were even more passionate and “meant to be” than Juliet and Ben from book one and I adored the way that one played out.
“Set me as a seal on your heart,” I whisper against her lips. “For love is as stong as death.”
Juliet Immortal was full of some plot twists, most of which I saw coming. The glorious difference in Romeo Redeemed was that I really didn’t see the twists in plot, and character, coming. I was happily surprised at how things progressed and I really loved the way the novel concluded. The ending in this novel was in no way a rushed epilogue but things progressed a little slower and unfolded in a really wonderful way.
It is often that I enjoy sequels more than book one in a series. In the case of Romeo Redeemed I can’t say that I enjoyed the sequel more simply because for me the novel worked as a wonderful compliment to Juliet Immortal, not so much a continuation of story but more of a necessary companion. The duality between book one and two was apparent and in retrospect I really can’t see reading one without the other. Romeo Redeemed was a delicious read, it was equal parts of romance and intrigue and I highly recommend you give it a chance.