Juliet Immortal (Lib)(CD) Audio CD – Aug 9 2011
|New from||Used from|
|Audio CD, Aug 9 2011||
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
About the Author
STACEY JAY lives in the California wine country with her husband and their two boys. She is the author of the Megan Berry, Zombi Settler series and several other books for young adults.
From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
VERONA, ITALY, 1304
Tonight, he could have come through the door--the castello is quiet, even the servants asleep in their beds, and Nurse would have let him in--but he chooses the window, climbing through the tangle of night flowers, carrying petals in on his clothes.
He stumbles on a loose stone and falls to the floor, grinning as I rush to meet him.
He is a romantic, a dreamer, and never afraid to play the fool. He is fearless and reckless and brave and I love him for it. Desperately. Love for him steals my breath away, makes me feel I am dying and being reborn every time I look into his eyes or run trembling fingers through his brown curls.
I love him for the way he sprawls on the freshly scrubbed stones, strong legs flexing beneath his hose, as if there is no cause for worry, as if we have not broken every rule and do not face banishment from the only homes we have ever known. I love him for the way he finds my hand, presses it to his smooth cheek, inhaling as if my skin smells sweeter than the petals clinging to his coat. I love him for the way he whispers my name, "Juliet"--a prayer for deliverance, a promise of pleasure, a vow that all this sweet everything he is to me will be forever.
Forever and always.
Despite our parents, and our prince, and the blood spilled in the plaza. Despite the fact that we have little money and fewer friends and our once-shining futures are clouded and dim.
"Tell me that tomorrow will never come." He pulls me to the floor beside him, cradling me on his lap, hand curling over my hip in a way it has not before. Heat flares from the tips of his fingers, spreading through me, reminding me I will soon be his wife in every way. Every touch is sanctified. Everything we will do tonight is meant to be, a celebration of the vows we have made and the love that consumes us.
I drop my lips to his. Joy bleeds from his mouth to mine and I sigh the lie into the fire of him. "It will never come."
"Tell me that I will always be here in this room. Alone with you. And that you will always be the most beautiful girl in the world." His hands are at the ties on the back of my dress, slow and patient, slipping each ribbon through its loop with a deliberate flick of his fingers.
No urgent, shame-filled fumbling in the dark for us. He is steady and sure, and every candle shines bright, the better to see the tenderness in his eyes, to be more certain with every passing moment that this is no youthful mistake. This is love. Real. Magnificent. Eternal.
"Always," I whisper, so full of adoration the emotion borders on worship. A part of me feels that to love so is sacrilege, but I do not care. There is nothing in the world but Romeo. For the rest of my life, he is the god at whose feet I will kneel.
His cheek presses to mine, his warm breath in my ear making mine come faster. "Juliet . . . you are . . ."
I am his goddess. I can feel it in the way he shudders as my fingers come to the buttons of his cotehardie and pluck them from their holes, one by one, revealing the thin linen of the shirt beneath.
"You are everything," he says, eyes shining. "Everything."
And I know that I am. I am his moon, and his brightly shining star. I am his life, his heart. I am all that and the answer to every unspoken question, the comfort for every hurt, the companion who will walk beside him from now until the end of our lives, reveling in the bliss of each simple chore done in his name, overflowing with beauty because I am blessed to spend my life with my love.
My love, my love, my love. I could hear the words a thousand times and never grow tired of them. Not ever.
"Forever," I whisper into the hot skin at his neck, sighing as the last tie holding my dress to my body falls away.
SOLVANG, CALIFORNIA, PRESENT DAY
Dying is easy. It's coming back that hurts like hell.
"Oh . . ." I press my hands to my forehead, where hot, tacky liquid pours from a cut above my eyebrow.
There is a lot of blood this time. Blood on my hands, smeared onto the dashboard, dripping through my fingers onto my jeans, leaving black spots I can see in the dim moonlight shining through the car's glass sunroof. It's messy, frightening, but, amazingly, the accident hasn't killed her. Killed me.
Me, now. Her, sometime again soon, depending on how long it takes to ensure the safety of the soul mates I've been sent to protect. Or how long it takes Romeo to convince one lover to sacrifice the other for the boon of eternal life.
It might not be long. He excels at his work.
Either way, Ariel Dragland will wear this shell again. Until then she'll wait in the realm where I've spent most of my eternity, in the mists of forgetting, that place outside of time where the gray stretches on forever.
I've been assured by my contact in the Ambassadors of Light that there are worse places, realms of torment where the boy who bartered our love for immortality will suffer someday. Nurse never uses the word hell, but I like to imagine that Romeo will number among hell's inhabitants. Of course, she never mentions heaven, either, or whether I might go there when my work is finished . . . if it is ever finished.
There are a lot of things Nurse sees fit not to mention. Including the exact workings of the magic that pulls me from the mist again and again, now more than thirty times in seven centuries. All I know is life comes suddenly. One moment I'm numb and bodiless, the next I'm slipping into another's skin, another's life--the ultimate, dreadful disguise.
I shiver as the memory of Ariel's last moments sweeps through me. I watch her snatch the wheel from the driver's hands before a deadly turn in the road and pull hard to the right, hoping the dive into the ravine will kill them both--her and the boy who hurt her. My eyes flick to the driver's seat. The boy--Dylan--slumps forward, the downward tilt of the car making his limp body curl around the wheel. He is still, not a puff of breath escaping his parted lips.
It seems one half of Ariel's wish has been granted.
I shiver again, but I can't say I'm sorry. I know what he did, can feel Ariel's shame and rage rush inside me as the rest of her life pours in to fill the empty corners in my mind.
Behind my eyes flash images from her eighteen years. I focus, sucking in every detail, taking her memories as my own.
Tiptoe, tiptoe, always on tiptoe. Up the stairs, across the kitchen, down the hall to the room where the crayons live and I can breathe. Where she isn't watching. My mother, with her sad, sad eyes.
Seven, ten, fifteen, eighteen years old and still there is nothing finer than a blank sheet of paper, the white promise that the world can be what I make it. A magical place, an adventurous place, a possible place. Erasers take away the mistakes. Another coat of paint to cover them up. Black and red and purple and blue. Always blue.
Mom sees in blue. She sees the scars she made. I was six. She sees Gemma, my one friend, as a mistake, not a lifeline. She sees my hours alone and feels more powerfully every hour she's wasted. I am the waste, the thing that's eaten her youth alive. Refused to cough up the bones.
Sometimes it seems all I have are bones, scraps, a frame with nothing to fill in the empty space. Sometimes I hate her for it, sometimes I hate myself, sometimes I hate everyone and everything and imagine the world melting the way the grease melted my skin.
Skin and bones. Mom and I are both so thin. Hugs hurt, but there aren't many. Not for years. There are surgeries and pain and bright lights and then days trapped in the house with the shades drawn on our shame. There is the darkness inside, that baleful intruder that comes just when I dare to believe I might one day be whole.
There is school and the misery of being a person unseen, the jealousy that I can't be wild and beautiful like Gemma, that I am always an audience, never a player. There is the frustration of words that won't come out of my mouth no matter how hard I try. A D in public speaking. The one step up to the podium is an impossible climb. Everest. Higher. I hate Mr. Stark for his frustrated sighs, hate the class for their muffled laughter. I want to hurt them, to show them how it feels to have your insides twisted into knots you can't unravel.
Gemma doesn't care, tells me to get over it, stops sharing her adventures, closes the window into her vibrant world, forgets to pick me up for school at least twice a week. I'm losing everything. My only friend, my perfect GPA, my mind. How much longer can I live like this? Can I make it four more years, sleeping in that room, commuting to the nursing college in Santa Barbara, learning to live with more sickness and pain, when all I want to do is escape?
But then . . . there is him. His smile, his voice singing so strong, cutting through the curtains where I hide with my paints, curling into my ear, spinning dreams I want to come true.
It's a joke.
We're kissing--slow, perfect kisses that make my heart race--when the text comes, asking if he's taken the Freak's virginity yet. He tries to hide the phone, but I see it. I start to cry, even though I'm not sad. I'm angry, so angry. He offers me fifty dollars--a piece of the bet--if I let him have what he's come for. I explode. I try to run from the car, but he grabs my hand, squeezing as he pulls back onto the road, telling me to "chill the hell out," promising to take me to a better place.
But there is no better place. I know that by now. There are only mirrors reflecting disappointment, shattering it in a million different directions, filling the world until there is no way out. It will always be this way. Always, even when I finally leave the house on El Camino Road.
The road, the road is . . . impossible. I won't let him drive it a second longer. I won't let him steer through the hole in the mountain down to the beach, where the cold, dark ocean waits like a nightmare creeping. I won't let him.
Not now. Not ever again.
From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Top Customer Reviews
The point of view change from the past to the present. Two point of views from Juliet who is now in Ariel's body and Romeo who is in Dylan's body. It's incredibly heart breaking to see these two characters duke it out when you know they're literature's epic characters of romantic love of all time. Especially when one side is good and the other is evil. I sympathized with Juliet who was trying very hard to help the soul mates that she was in charge of. She not only felt like Juliet Capulet but she also acted like Shakespeare's Juliet. I loved how Stacy Jay tied the play and modern day settings into one. It was brilliant to say the least. I also couldn't help but feel pity for Romeo. After being poisoned by the very evil that Juliet is fighting, he eventually realized in the end it was wrong.
I don't recommend this book if you don't enjoy instant love and instant lust. If you enjoy a different take on Romeo and Juliet then be sure to pick this one up. It had me turning the pages for more. I'm truly looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
Juliet Immortal was nothing like I thought it would be, but that wasn't a bad thing! Although a little confusing at first, Stacey Jay quickly sucked you into Juliet's world where Romeo was to be hated, her very existence was for saving other soul mates, and falling in love with the super-awesome new boy (Ben) was impossible.
I just adored everything about Juliet. She was sweet, caring, incredibly intelligent, yet she had a fire in her that was hard not to admire. And I expected to hate Romeo way more than I did, but I just couldn't dislike a boy who was obviously suffering from his past decisions every single day.
Overall, I really enjoyed Juliet Immortal! I felt that some things were simply breathtaking while others were a little unbelievable, but that didn't lessen the enjoyment factor one bit. Even if you haven't read Romeo and Juliet before, you should still pick up this book! :)
BUY or BORROW?: Definitely a book for any Shakespeare-lover's bookshelf!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I was interested in this idea. How could an author possibly take Romeo and Juliet's tale and create a supernatural element? And being from California, it's nice to read about cities in your home state. Well, the idea sounded fairly standard: instead of the rival families, Romeo and Juliet are now part of warring factions-- he for the Mercenaries of the Apocalypse, she for the Ambassadors of Light. There are some fascinating ideas about the two sides, but their history, however, is confusing and a little comical. It took me about an hour to fully immerse myself in the mythology. The names alone require patience.
Poor Romeo is reduced to a blathering, over the top villain who likes to taunt Juliet. Juliet was a more complex character. Through her, Ms. Jay deals with issues some girls deal with: fitting in, finding yourself, and becoming a strong person. Juliet is capable of holding her own in a fight (which is refreshing considering the amount of female characters written who have the male lead fight for them), but when she meets a boy named Ben whom she feels an instant connection with, she becomes interested much like she was in Romeo in the play. I didn't understand their instant attraction; it felt like it was plunked into the story because there had to be a love interest.
The narration flows, yet it does have the tendency to be just as over-dramatic as Juliet's crazy counterpart. This feels like an extension of the play: Romeo and Juliet Immortal.
If you're a Shakespearean Romeo and Juliet fan, tread VERY cautiously with this one. If you're looking for an entertaining albeit contrived read and can digest some heavy-handed material, this is worth a look.
Despite the cheesy summary, Juliet Immortal is an absolutely compelling read. Juliet's voice is so honest and so real. She is full of uncertainty, especially because she was burned so badly by Romeo. As readers we want Juliet to succeed and fall in love despite the obstacles because she is so likable, even with her faults.
Then there is Romeo who is delightful as a villain. He's bad, but also sexy. And quite dangerous. Yet, his motivations for joining the Mercenaries are legit. I felt that he wasn't a cliched villain, and I genuinely came to like his scenes.
I thought Juliet Immortal was incredibly romantic. I loved how it turned it's source material, Romeo And Juliet, on it's head. I loved the chemistry between Juliet and Ben, especially because as readers we just want her to be happy. I loved how big of a role love of all types - romantic, friend, family- played in this story.
The ending is great too. It left me completely satisfied. There were no cliff hangers. No sequel bait. There is an actual conclusion and resolution. Juliet Immortal is an excellent read if you love a strong romance and new takes on old stories.
Pros: So I'm pretty conflicted over this book. At the very beginning I easily adored it. It starts with action and suspense and dives right into the plot of the story. The style the romance takes on is very different from that of typical YA. Romeo is basically a sociopath, and Juliet, though once having loved him, is completely aware of this. They're both now part of an ongoing "war" between the Ambassadors of Light and the Mercenaries. The book starts with them being thrown into another one of their missions for their respective sides, except that this time around things are weird. Romeo is stronger, Juliet is weaker. She can't reach her Ambassadors so they can explain things to her. Her mission isn't making sense and is harder to handle than usual. Romeo's acting weirder than usual, etc. All of this, I enjoyed and I found the story overall to be very captivating. I'm a sucker for *genuinely* tragic romances, and I don't see enough of that in most books that claim to have them.
Cons: The writing is simple, sometimes a little cheesy, but what I really didn't like was the resolution of everything at the end. It was kind of confusing and all over the place. It was interesting, but still, it felt really disorganized. I wish the events at the end had been much neater and less thrown together. The author should also try to explain things a little more there because I'm left with a few questions that I doubt are going to ever be answered, since it doesn't look like this will have a sequel- although I'd read that if it did. Heck, several of the characters themselves ended up with attitudes that went something like, "I don't understand what just happened but I'm cool with it!"
I say give it a shot, it isn't entirely typical, but take it lightly. I'm not someone who is generally a fan of the story of Romeo and Juliet because of how it's been hyped into a story of True Love over the centuries, but I very much enjoyed this one anyway.
The novel begins when Juliet is thrust into the body of Ariel Dragland. Juliet's job is to help Ariel's best friend Gemma solidify her love for her soul mate. Unfortunately, Gemma's soul mate happens to be Ben, the guy that Juliet falls head-over- heels in love with - something that is taboo for an Ambassador. Juliet not only has to fight off Romeo, whose job is to sabotage the relationship and convince one of the lovers to kill the other and become join Mercenary cause, but Juliet also has to battle within herself to keep from falling further and further in love with Ben when he is meant for Gemma. Not only is this battle against Romeo particularly difficult, but it's also different than the other Battles she's fought. Things aren't quite the same, her powers are weakening and so are Romeos, she can't communicate with the Ambassadors, and the stakes seem to be much higher than just the soul mates Juliet has been sent to protect.
One thing I think the novel managed to accomplish quite well was illustrating the blurring lines between good and evil. The novel begins with a strong dichotomy between Juliet and Romeo, but as the book progresses, we see these two opposing characters evolve - each possessing characteristics or committing actions that are both benevolent and malicious. Juliet becomes a little more selfish in her desires for Ben, and Romeo shows more and more of his humanity toward the end of the novel. Similarly, as more information is revealed about the Ambassadors (whom are presented as the good guys) and the Mercenaries (who are presented as the bad guys), we see less of good versus evil and more just two forces that exist in opposition to one another.
One of the more interesting relationships in the book was between Ariel (Juliet) and her mother. I thought the book gave an interesting insight into mother daughter relationships, as the reader simultaneously explores the one between Ariel and her mother (as it is experienced and moderated by Juliet) and how this interaction makes Juliet examine the strained relationship she had with her own mother centuries earlier. Rebellion against one or both parents in common for teenagers and I thought it was interesting that the author utilized this relationship in the book to also show that parents are human, make mistakes, and are, like other characters in the book, not all bad.
While the story line is a creative take on the Romeo and Juliet story, the characters felt a little flat compared to other novels in the genre, and the story line wasn't as tightly woven. Even the message of the book, illustrating how nothing is ever all good or all bad, was simplistic. I think this book might be more appealing to the younger end of a teen audience, although parents might want to read it first, since there are some mentions of teen drinking and some sexual content. If you have limited reading time, I would suggest skipping this book.
Here's the premise: Romeo and Juliet fell in love in medieval Italy, but their story ended rather differently than the version we all know. Romeo sacrificed Juliet to gain eternal life in a supernatural faction called the Mercenaries. When Juliet died, her soul was claimed by the Mercenaries' rivals, the Ambassadors. The Ambassadors' goal is to make sure soul-mate couples get together and commit to each other. The Mercenaries' goal is to destroy these couples by getting one of the lovers to sacrifice the other, as Romeo did to Juliet. Ambassadors possess the bodies of living people while carrying out their missions. Mercenaries can only possess the bodies of the dead.
As Juliet Immortal begins, Juliet is sent into the body of Ariel Dragland, an insecure teenage girl who is beautiful but can't see it because of a burn scar on her face. Juliet, while in Ariel's body, begins to fall in love again for the first time in 700 years, with a classmate named Ben. Trouble is, Ben is one of the soul mates she's supposed to be helping, and his counterpart is Ariel's best friend Gemma. Yet Ben and Gemma barely seem to like each other, and between that and Juliet's growing feelings, she has a difficult task ahead of her. Meanwhile, Romeo is being creepy as usual, but has some troubling information to impart about the Ambassadors and the Mercenaries.
There are scenes in Juliet Immortal that are absolute gems. Juliet's heart-to-heart conversation with Ariel's mother is one of them, as is the scene in which Juliet forgives herself for the events of long ago. These scenes reminded me why I like Jay's writing in the first place, and made me wish even more fervently that I could like the book.
Unfortunately, it bogs down in Juliet's angst, which is fueled by her missing something that's obvious to the reader long before Juliet figures it out. There's a contrived reason that the biggest piece of evidence is not visible to her, but there are enough other clues that she should have at least considered the possibility that all was not as it seemed. I wanted to shout at her through the pages to stop brooding and *think* for a minute.
Then, in the later chapters, the metaphysics and the backstory become confusing. Bombshells are dropped regarding the common roots of the Ambassadors and Mercenaries, the real nature of Romeo's character and of his dastardly deed, where Juliet's mentor is hiding and what she's really up to, and alternate universes. Yet none of this is explored or explained as much as it could have been.
The ending added to my frustration. I don't want to go into detail since there's no way to hide the spoilers here, but it felt like a cop-out and I was left still feeling sad about certain of the secondary characters. However, I did like Juliet's ending taken in isolation, and would have loved to read a straight 14th-century retelling that ended like that.
Stacey Jay is a good writer and I'm not giving up on her. I'll definitely keep following her Annabelle Lee books. Juliet Immortal, though, left me more frustrated than satisfied, and I can't really recommend it despite its originality and some terrific scenes.