Romeo Redeemed (Juliet Immortal #2) — Stacey Jay

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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.

Romeo has made a lot of mistakes. But he’s finally trying to atone for them by joining the side of the Ambassadors of Light. His mission? He must inhabit Dylan Stroud’s body and make Ariel Dragland fall in love with him…in three days. To make matters worse, Ariel hates Dylan. He made a bet with his friends that he could convince the school “Freak” to sleep with him and she very nearly fell for it. Romeo finds himself transported to Dylan’s body just as Ariel’s trying to kill the both of them. If that isn’t enough, Ariel has some very dark secrets of her own that prevent her from letting anyone get too close and Juliet is set on revenge for Romeo’s past transgression.

This book is likable simply because of how adorable Romeo is. I’m not one of those people who gets all hung up on the idea of immortals/vampires/what-have-you being old perverts attracted to teenagers. In my mind and for the sake of the story, they’re teenagers as well; brains not fully developed, raging hormones, the whole shebang. This book is purely a love story and you know that going in, so you can’t really complain about the fact that what you see is what you get. That being said, I appreciate the love-story aspect of this book, but not much else.

Like I said, Romeo is such a gem in Romeo Redeemed. He’s funny, repentant, charismatic, and moral (you know, unlike the Ambassadors of Light). While he says all the right things to make Ariel fall in love with him, he accidentally kind of falls for her in the process. And they’re pretty cute together, except for the whole falling in love in three days things. In my personal opinion, not possible. But then again, given the roots of the story–the love story to end all love stories–Romeo actually takes his time this time around. I’d say he gets to know Ariel far better than he ever knew Juliet.

As for Ariel, I have mixed feelings. She and Romeo are really great together sometimes. A lot of the strengths Romeo admires in her are her most likable characteristics. But Romeo tends to overlook her sociopathic tendencies. She considers and attempts to commit murder on multiple occassions. This girl is highly unstable and I don’t think she can blame that instability on the voices she occasionally hears. After all, she only hears them when she’s angry and even then, they’re so overwhelming that she passes out. The voices don’t make her angry and they don’t ask anything of her or force her to take action. All they do is overwhelm her. What begins as an interesting plot device ends in disappointing underdevelopment. According to the Ambassadors, Ariel holds the fate of the world in her hands…but how? Jay never really expands on this. Ariel hears voice…so what? She’s not really put off by the idea of killing people, but does that mean she’s a danger to the entire world?

The whole idea of the Mercenaries and the Ambassadors is hard to swallow. They’re also underdeveloped and it’s hard to believe that these protective beings of Light don’t mind manipulating people and killing innocent young girls. And Juliet really drew the short straw. Nurse claims to care about Juliet more than anyone else, but I don’t see any evidence of that. The ending of Romeo Redeemed feels very forced and unnatural. Even thinking about it now makes me cringe a little, but I suppose it suffices as a happy ending. Basically, I’d read Romeo Redeemed with a grain of salt. I appreciated the love-story aspects of it and enjoyed reading about Romeo’s attempts to seduce Ariel. The supernatural twists are just a little too much for me.

Read Nikki’s review of Juliet Immortal

Pages: 375
Publication Date: October 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: NetGalley
Rating [rating: 3.5]

Teaser Quote: “Her laughter. It makes me so stupidly happy. Like a small child. Or a dog. I should be ashamed of myself–enjoying her so much when all I’ve done is lie and put her in danger–but I’m not.

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