First Lines: In fair Verona’s streets, the sun was hot. Late summer was upon the city, and the sun, oh, it beat.
I forget how I first heard about this book. I think it cropped up on Goodreads under books I may be interested in. (It’s one of the few times Goodreads is right on that.) It sounded fascinating, and it was just my luck that it happened to be faced out on a shelf at the library, waiting for me.
It would seem that Romeo and Juliet’s deaths were in vain. The families, sworn to be at peace with each other, are brawling in the streets as they always have. And Prince Escalus has had enough of death. He believes the only way to end the feud is to publicly marry the two families together. He chooses the most eligible Montague bachelor, Benvolio, and the Capulet maiden, Rosaline. Both are still hurting from the deaths in their families. Benvolio has lost his best friend and Rosaline feels responsible for all the bloodshed of the summer. But that does not mean Rosaline and Benvolio want to be married. No, they despise each other…but they may have to work together to end the feud once and for all.
I’m a self-professed nerd when it comes to fiction like this. I love reinventing old stories, especially Shakespearean ones. And this book put a different twist on Romeo and Juliet. I mean really, what does happen after the lovers die? Would the families of Verona just up and stop fighting or is it more complicated than that? I loved that this book ran with that idea.
I admit, I may have read this all in one day. It was just so good. I was shamelessly addicted to it. I really loved the language, all the ’tis and thy and thou. It made it seem like it was really Shakespearean (even though it’s much easier to understand than Shakespeare).
I thought the plot was pretty spectacular. (I wouldn’t have finished the book in one day if it wasn’t, right?) There are a lot of twists and turns I didn’t anticipate. And there’s a mystery going on that needs to be solved that was really cool.
But it was the characters that I liked the best. Benvolio is probably the most well-known character going into the story. We know him from the original play. And he’s pretty true to that character. As are the other characters from the original work.
The characters are just so great. They’re all distinct. And you understand what they’re feeling, as the narration jumps between 3-4 characters usually. (In total, I think the book follows 5-6 narrators.) That was really easy to follow, just as a note.
I feel like I’m not doing this book justice. It was amazing. It gave me all the feels. And just talking about it again now makes me want to reread it.