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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ARC Review: The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees

Who does not know The Bard? I think I studied Shakespeare for a significant part of my life, and I have to admit, I did not know that he has a brother. The Juliet Spell gave life to the younger Shakespeare brother, and if you think we owe The Bard a lot of things when it comes to plays, tragedies, and literature as a whole, wait until you have read of his brother.

Title: The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees
Pages: 304
Release Date: September 27th 2011
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Summary (from Goodreads):

I’m Juliet.

At least, I wanted to be.

So I did something stupid to make it happen.

Well, stupid and wonderful.

I wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it—even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.

I didn’t get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren’t any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I’d cast the next best—a Fame spell. Good idea, right?

Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William’s younger brother.

Good thing he’s sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play...and—ahem—maybe a little bit hot. But he’s from the past. Way past. Cars amaze him—cars! And cell phones? Ugh.

Still, there’s something about him that’s making my eyes go star-crossed....

Will Romeo steal her heart before time steals him away?

I will not deny that I have fallen in love with the book just after I've finished reading the summary, and along with that comes setting high expectations for it. Reading re-tellings of one of Shakespeare's most famous work has always been a favorite of mine, and reading about his brother is a new experience even for me.

Miranda wants to become Juliet. She craves for it, and she has been doing just about anything to prepare herself for the part. She wants to get it so much that she decided to cast a spell for fame, but the only problem was, the spell conjured up someone famous instead, or someone related to one, Edmund Shakespeare, The Bard's younger brother. Now as Edmund, an actor himself, struggles to make sense of how to live in a place 400 years ahead of his time, he was suddenly part of the cast as Romeo and Miranda's become Juliet. But is Edmund really not setting foot back in 1590's England?

As much as I find the plot and the whole idea behind the story fascinating, I did not like Edmund. I know boys from the 16th century do not behave the same way as boys in present time do, but all the same, he works his charm on girls excessively, sleeps around, gets emotional too often and is too flirtatious even in today's standards. I felt bad for Miranda for feeling left out and ignored. You would have thought that being Shakespeare's younger brother and having several sisters, he'd know more about dealing with women. But his character, as a whole, is a bit interesting though irritating, despite the obvious and very bad flaws. Exploring Edmund's character is quite a challenge, I am not sure what to expect since very little is known about him in real life, and here he was, being written about by Douglas Rees.

Miranda's just your average teenager whose life revolves around the theater. She's got a supportive mother and an absentee father, but Miranda grew up loving The Bard's works. Who would have thought for a second that she'll fall in love with his brother? I was as frustrated as she was when Edmund was turning a blind eye towards her. Drawing strength from various Shakespeare heroines, Miranda is this vibrant girl with a genuine love for acting. Although she spent quite a lot of time obsessing over Edmund, I think Miranda was mostly the one who got me through the book.

I found myself wishing for a better ending. I don't think Miranda's feelings could have changed that easily. Granted, a year could have done wonders for her, but I'm still torn over how I should feel with the conclusion. It was sad, abrupt, and a bit unexpected. It's like you're gearing up for a resolution on Edmund and Miranda's relationship and then suddenly something completely different happens.

The Juliet Spell is a unique, romantic story with a dash of Shakespeare's infamous tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. It has familiar elements from The Bard's story, of love between two people from different places and different times. Edmund, whether the readers like it or not, will work his charms on the readers, and you'd think Miranda is a modern, unconventional Juliet worth reading about.

I really want to like this book more than I did, but I can't seem to agree with some of the characters. But if you'd like to read a story with a different take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, try The Juliet Spell!

My rating

Content (plot, story flow, character):

Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
Lovely cover. Definitely an unconventional, modern Juliet.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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