Thursday, August 8, 2013

They may be Still Star-crossed, but at least they're still alive.

Book:  Still Star-Crossed
Author:  Melinda Taub
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Date:  Now available
Source:  Publisher via Edelweiss
My grade:  A+

Romeo and Juliet are gone. Will love live on? Despite the glooming peace that's settled on Verona after the recent tragedy, Montagues and Capulets are brawling in the streets. Faced with more bloody battles, Prince Escalus concludes that the only way to truly marry the fortunes of these two families is to literally marry them together. Everyone is skeptical, but none more so than the pair selected, for the most eligible Montague bachelor is Benvolio, Romeo's best friend, still anguished by the loss of his companions, and the chosen Capulet maid is Juliet's older cousin Rosaline, the girl Romeo first loved and whose refusal of Romeo's affection paved the way for bloodshed. Contrary to their late cousins, there's no love lost between Benvolio and Rosaline, yet they forge a bond to end the renewed feud not only to escape their forced betrothal, but to save their lives and the city of Verona itself.

Initial Reaction
I will never look at Rosaline the same way again.

Cover Story
Yes, it has the clichéd girl in the dress, but this is a book that continues the Romeo and Juliet story, so I’m pretty sure the dress is time period appropriate.  The title, of course, is a nod to the bard and ties in to the whole Romeo and Juliet continuing saga.  So, it’s good!

What’s the Story?
This is like a sequel to Romeo and Juliet.  Now, I have read some pretty bad sequels to Pride and Prejudice, but since I’m a sucker for anything that has to do with Shakespeare, I had to get my hands on this one.  This book was no cheesy novel that was just an excuse to write hot sex scenes involving Mr. Darcy!  Oh no!  This book was fabulous!

I really felt like Melinda Taub stayed true to the spirit of Shakespeare in this book.  Not only did she write main characters that were reminiscent of some of Shakespeare’s own, but she showed off her Shakespearean knowledge base by including many nods to characters in other plays.  In fact, this book is probably better suited to fans of Much Ado About Nothing rather than fans of Romeo and Juliet, because Rosaline and Benvolio reminded me very much of Beatrice and Benedick.  Which was just fine by me because I love those 2 way better than I love stupid and whiny Romeo and Juliet.  She also included nods to Don Pedro and even to the grave digger from Hamlet.  There were probably more than that but I’ve either forgotten them or was too ignorant to know that they existed!

The language of this book is quite lovely.  Taub chose to continue dialogue in Shakespeare’s style, but with the rest of the prose in the book, I think this makes Shakespeare’s language a little more accessible to teens.  In fact, I think this would be an excellent book to use as a follow-up to Romeo and Juliet in an English class.  It would be fun to speculate on the after math of the tragedy and would help students who struggled with Shakespeare’s language.

The characters in this book were so much fun!!  The bad ones were really bad and most of them were very multi-dimensional.  It was fun to get to know some of the characters better that showed up in Romeo and Juliet but never made it to the forefront.  It was interesting to see just which characters Taub chose to make good or evil or simply complacent.  In fact, I’d love to sit down with her over a cup of tea and discuss why she made those choices.

The action in this novel was non-stop!  It was very fast-paced and there was enough intrigue going on that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  I raced through this book and honestly, if I had the time, I would probably go right back to the beginning and read it again. 

I was very pleased with everything about this book.  I’m so excited to get a copy for my own library and I can’t wait to share it with my English department.  It’s even inspired me to create a book display of Shakespearean related novels!  It shall be as merry as the day is long!

The Soundtrack

I Hate Everything About You by Three Days Grace

I Hate Myself for Loving You by Joan Jett

Wash It All Away by Evanescence

Half of My Heart by John Mayer

The Space Between by Dave Matthews Band

King and Lionheart by Of Monsters and Men

Live to Tell by Madonna

A Thousand Years by Christina Perri

The Final Grade
My final grade for this book is an A+.  It was a Shakespeare related novel that was worthy of the Bard…..and luckily had a much happier ending than the work that inspired it!  I can’t wait to start dealing this one out at school in the fall!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  I received no compensation, financial or otherwise, for this review.  Not even a hot Montague.

1 comment:

  1. I think we've all read some sequels to classics that just didn't quite live up to our expectations (it's totally true about Darcy haha). This one sounds good though, especially since it sounds like the author was able to create a ton reminiscent of Shakespeare while giving characters her own spin.