YA Corner: Guest Post and Review of Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay

Happy Sunday everyone!  Today I am happy to say that I have a wonderful author guest posting.  Stacey Jay is the fantastic author of Juliet Immortal and the awesome sequel, Romeo Redeemed.   Romeo Redeemed is a stand out sequel to her first book.  You can check out my review of Juliet Immortal here and check out my review of Romeo Redeemed after Stacey Jay’s post.  So, lets welcome Stacey Jay!

Just three days…

When I decided to write about Romeo and Juliet—for reasons I’ve discussed elsewhere on the Interwebs, but which included a strong distrust of Romeo, a character who was “desperately in love” with Rosaline mere hours before meeting Juliet—I knew I wanted to twist the story into knots, but I also wanted to keep some things the same. I wanted to mirror the light and dark imagery from Shakespeare’s play, and I wanted to stick to the same timeline as the original love story.

That meant each of my couples in JULIET IMMORTAL and ROMEO REDEEMED had only three days to fall in love.

Critics of “insta-love” may immediately recoil in horror, but I liked the symmetry, the challenge the constraint provided, and it just felt right for the story to take place in a very short amount of time. A supernatural battle for the souls of true lovers isn’t a drawn out affair in my mind; it’s a cut throat contest that would probably last a week or two at most, and in this case the stakes are even higher because this mission is Romeo and Juliet’s last.

But knowing I had only three days going in, I made some careful decisions when crafting my characters to make the three day time limit easier on myself.

In particular I:

1. Gave all my characters a tragic back story, and some pretty deep emotional wounds, which helped both to make them more empathetic people, as well as very eager for the kind of relationship that would help heal some of their wounds/make them feel less alone.

2. Went in with the assumption that these couples have ended up together in many permutations of reality. Their “how we met story” may be different from one reality to the next, but their happy every after is always the same, giving them a sense that they somehow know each other even when meeting for the first time.

3. Made sure my couples would be compatible in the long haul. They may experience bumps at the onset of their relationship, but in the long run, they are perfectly matched people who will only grow closer as time goes on.

4. Remembered who I was dealing with. Romeo and Juliet may have grown and changed in the afterlife I created for them, but they are still the most famous case of insta-love of all time. It made sense to me that they’d fall in love quickly the second time, as well, though they both made more informed, rational decisions than they did back in the 14th century.

At times the time crunch was a challenge, but I had great fun writing these love stories, and I hope my readers enjoy them as well.

Thanks so much for having me over to the blog, Jackie!

ROMEOwSLEEVEBook Blurb:

Seductive companion to the popular Juliet Immortal, in which former lovers—Romeo and Juliet—meet, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.

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.

Review:

After reading Juliet Immortal I was hooked on Stacey Jay’s writing.  I knew when I found out she was doing a sequel I had to read it.  It definitely doesn’t disappoint.  As sequels go, Romeo Redeemed definitely makes a name for itself.  In the first book you really learn to dislike Romeo and cheer for Juliet.  But, as the title suggests Romeo has the chance to redeem himself in not just the story but in the eyes of the reader.  Romeo’s story takes off where Juliet’s left.  After the choice of protecting Juliet, Romeo is punished by the Mercenaries as becoming a specter.  It is in this form that Juliet’s nurse propositions him to switch loyalties to the Ambassadors of Light, but first he must prove his loyalty by convincing Ariel Dragland to believe in love.  If Romeo fails he not only goes back to his life as a specter but can possibly doom the world.  A lot rides on Romeo’s redemption!

This sequel is the total package.  The characters, story and theme blend splendidly well.  You really fall for Romeo and you feel for Ariel.  In the day and age,  the prevalence of bullying will allow many to relate to the torment that Ariel has faced for many years.  The idea that someone can come along and see past the scars and appreciate you for being you is something most people would cherish.  It is in this you will completely fall for Romeo.  Along with falling for Romeo, you will fall in love with the overall unique take on Romeo and Juliet.  You will recognize characters from Shakespeare’s play and almost feel a certain level of comfort in knowing some of these characters. The time limit of 3 days adds a level of suspense that helps to propel both the love story and the overall pacing of the story.  Stacey Jay’s ability to incorporate some of Romeo and Juliet’s themes and story is a talent uniquely hers.  Overall, Romeo Redeemed is a great sequel in a wonderfully unique story.  I would recommend reading Juliet Immortal first so that some of the details in Romeo Redeemed are more clear.  This is definitely a book for all ages not just Young Adult.  Be sure to go out and pick up both Juliet Immortal and Romeo Redeemed ASAP, you won’t regret it!

stacey_cropAuthor Bio:

Stacey Jay is the author of many books for teens, including JULIET IMMORTAL, ROMEO REDEEMED, and the forthcoming, OF BEAST AND BEAUTY, a twisted retelling of Beauty and the Beast, available July 23, 2013 from Delacorte Press. Learn more at www.staceyjay.com or:

Follow Stacey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Stacey_Jay

Or friend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stacey.jay.ya

Review: Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

I just recently finished a surprisingly good book, Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay.  I say surprisingly because I never really know what I am going to get when I am reading Young Adult fiction.  Sometimes like that with the Hunger Games and Twilight they are well written and mature.  Other times they can read very infantile and can’t keep the attention of an adult.  So, that brings me to Juliet Immortal.

Juliet Immortal is a new twist on the Romeo and Juliet story.  It pits Romeo and Juliet against each other.  One is trying to fight for soul mates and the other is trying to destroy them.  We begin the story with the scene from Romeo and Juliet where Romeo is climbing into Juliet’s bedroom after they are married.  In general, this is probably one of the most memorable and happiest scenes in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  The story then jumps to find Juliet in the body of a young girl who has just pulled the wheel of the car her date was driving causing them to careen into a ravine.  We soon discover that Juliet, a member of the Ambassadors of Light and Romeo, a member of the Mercenaries are on their own without any guidance. This is a first for them.   While they are trying to adapt to their new “freedom” they must also search for the soul mates they were sent to either protect or destroy.

Juliet’s goal is to protect the soul mates that are in danger of doing what her and Romeo did.  Sacrificing one another for “true love”.  Romeo’s goal is to get them to do this.  I thought this was a fantastically inventive take on the classic Romeo and Juliet tale.  Stacey Jay weaves a masterful story.  You are cheering for Juliet and want her to be happy and successful.  You are hating Romeo with all his lies and dishonesty. You question who the real soul mates are and how in the end it will all work out.   There are quite a few twists and turns that you don’t necessarily expect.  But, in the end you feel that all is right with the ending and Ms. Jay sets up her next book in the series, Romeo Redeemed.

I would recommend this book for all readers.  If you have read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (most of us had to in high school or college) then you will enjoy this twist on the classic hero and heroine.  One of which becomes quite a good villain.  I can’t wait for Romeo’s story, Romeo Redeemed.

For more information about Juliet Immortal or Romeo Redeemed go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any other book retailer.

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