Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading .... Romeo Redeemed

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Just Finished Reading .... Romeo Redeemed

Romeo Redeemed
by Stacey Jay
Published by Delacorte BFYR
on October 9, 2012

Source: Received an e-ARC from the publisher on NetGalley. Read my FTC disclosure here.




My summary: Romeo Redeemed is the sequel to Juliet Immortal, which I loved.  Juliet Immortal reworks the Shakespearean play by imagining that Romeo, taken in by the evil Mercenaries of the Apocalypse, actually murdered Juliet in order to achieve immortality for himself. Poor Juliet is then claimed by the Ambassadors of Light. For centuries, she and Romeo are reincarnated into other bodies by their respective groups, so that they can battle for souls. Juliet must find and protect true soulmates, while Romeo tries to convince those same soulmates to kill one another. As Juliet Immortal opens,  Romeo and Juliet find themselves reincarnated into the bodies of two teenagers at the same high school, and their battle resumes anew.

It's hard to summarize Romeo Redeemed without Juliet Immortal spoilers, but I'm up to the challenge! Romeo is back with a new mission -- in the body of Dylan Stroud, he must go back in time to the moment just before the events of Juliet Immortal and save the life of Ariel Dragland, the troubled girl whose body Juliet was reincarnated into in the first book. At first, Romeo/Dylan is only romancing Ariel to save himself, but as he begins to fall in love, he must protect her from the manipulations of the evil Mercenaries.

My take: Many YA stories have drawn on the whole Romeo and Juliet tradition of tragic, forbidden teenage love. I liked Juliet Immortal's creative remix of the Romeo and Juliet story and was eager to read this sequel. Romeo Redeemed is a more ambitious book than its predecessor. Romeo Redeemed uses three points of view rather than two, plays with parallel universe theory, and delves even deeper into the play that inspired it.

Juliet Immortal did a very good job of making the reader detest Romeo and I liked the way that this book slowly turns those feelings around. Ariel, scarred as a child, has a whole mass of insecurities and issues, and doesn't make Romeo/Dylan's job very easy. Her fragility makes her the perfect target for the manipulations of the Mercenaries.

I was fairly confused about the whole Mercenary/Ambassador thing in Juliet Immortal, and I didn't understand it any better in Romeo Redeemed. (In this review, Heidi @ Bunbury in the Stacks explains the whole thing very well.)

Given the triple POVs and the two separate storylines, there's also a lot crammed into this book. One major plot point that isn't even shown in real time -- it's just related through dialogue -- and that made the last third of the book feel a little rushed to me.

Those small complaints aside, there's a fantastic twist at the end that neatly ties everything together -- a twist I didn't see coming at all. The way that Juliet Immortal and Romeo Redeemed take the very familiar story of Romeo and Juliet apart, mix it up and then cleverly put it all back together was very impressive. I thoroughly enjoyed both of these books, as they play on some very familiar YA tropes  in a way that's really fresh and creative. If you love tangled love stories and retellings, definitely check these books out.

22 comments:

  1. These books have been on my radar for awhile, but now I really, really want to read them!

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  2. I've seen many books that use the Rome and Juliet story but I don't usually read them. But for some reason I find myself more and more interested in this series. I've always liked Stacey Jay so I don't think she'll disappoint me. Great review!

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    1. I've only read The Locket but I really enjoyed that!

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  3. I definitely couldn't have predicted that ending! Glad to know I'm not the only one confused by the Mercenaries/Ambassadors.

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    1. Great ending. And yes, I really didn't get the whole explanation behind the Mercenaries and the Ambassadors. But that didn't spoil the books for me.

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  4. I kept meaning to read Juliet Immortal and never did. This sounds like a good series though. I love Romeo and Juliet so I think that I would like these books. Great review hon!

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  5. I wanted to read Juliet immortal so badly, but heard over and over again that it was really confusing so I never did. Then when I heard about Romeo Redeemed I told myself that I HAD to read this series. I'm disappointed that you were confused (because I'll probably be even worse off than you) but I will read this series anyway, because there's nothing I love more than a redemption story! Plus, I hate Romeo and Juliet as it is, so I'd love to read a retelling that might make me like these characters :)

    Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

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    1. It's just that one aspect of the story that is confusing. I tried to keep it all straight, then just decided, okay: the Ambassadors are good and the Mercenaries are evil and I'm just going to enjoy the story. That worked fine.

      Give it a try -- they are really good!

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  6. I do enjoy re-tellings if they are done well. I think I will read both books back to back. Probably work best for me I think.

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  7. Hmm, I'm not sure if I would enjoy this one. For some reason I've never felt compelled to read Romeo and Juliet or anything that has to do with them, even movies..

    I will have to think about it. They do sound ok though. Thanks for the review!

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    1. No book is for everyone :)
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. That's weird - a prequel that ties in to the story of the first book. I'm not sure how I feel about that lol

    Will there be a third book? If so I would probably wait and try to read them all at once. My brain gets easily confused O_o

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    1. It's not exactly a prequel. It's as if an event at the start of book one split into alternate realities. Ariel dies at the start of book one and Juliet goes into her body. In book two, Romeo has to go back to that moment before Ariel dies.

      I hope I've got that right. I think so :)

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  9. I agree with Jenn above that I am not usually very interested in reading Romeo and Juliet re-tellings. The problem is you make everything sound very GOOD and I think why am I not reading that!

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  10. I thought Juliet Immortal fell apart a bit at the end, but I'm still kind of dying to know what happens in Romeo Redeemed. Ariel was one of my favorite characters in book 1 (even though she wasn't REALLY present) and I want to watch her heal.

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  11. I've been dying to read Juliet Immortal for so long time ago, but I just can't find a copy at my local bookstore :( Hopefully I can read them soon!

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  12. This is a great review, Jen! I'm glad you enjoyed both of these books as much as I did. It's just crazy to me how Stacey Jay was able to take this story that I didn't even like and totally rewrite it, while at the same time being so respectful and true to the original tale. It's so unusual!

    I didn't go into as much detail because I was trying to review both books spoiler-free, but I'm happy to be able to gab to people who have read. I kind of love that Ariel was a bit crazy, I think she needed to be in order to be the right match for Romeo. We could see the good and bad in her, which helped us to understand how Romeo went so bad even with all of his potential for good.

    Thanks for the link and the lovely comment! =)

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  13. Great review, I actually liked Romeo Redeemed more than Julia Immortal. While I didn't have the confusion you experienced, I do agree everything wasn't completely fleshed out.

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