In fair Verona, we lay our scene...
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has a bittersweet ending. Our teenage heroes lay dead, but over their broken bodies their shattered parents make peace. No longer will the Montagues and Capulets wage war against each other. They’ve seen enough death. That’s how the play ends. With peace.
Of course, a truce is easier said than done. After all, this battle has been raging between generations. Not everyone is content to pick up their swords and go home. Blood is still boiling, and someone is determined to reignite the feud between the families. At least, that’s what happens in Melinda Taub’s unofficial sequel to Shakespeare. Still Star-Crossed takes place after Mercutio, Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet have all died. Desperate to maintain the tenuous peace, Prince Escalus decides the only way to end the bloodshed is for a wedding to take place between the two households. He orders Rosaline, Juliet’s cousin who once rejected Romeo to wed Benvolio Montague. They start out claiming they hate each other (although they doth protest too much SEE WHAT I DID THERE) and decide to work together to end the violence in order to avoid the altar.
This is a quick review, because there’s not much to say. I picked up the book because I was interested in the idea of a sequel to a play where the main characters killed themselves. I enjoyed Still Star-Crossed for the brain candy that it was, but I was never really engaged in the book. Of course Rosaline and Benvolio figure out whodunit, of course they manage to bring peace back to Verona and of course those crazy kids fall in love. The book is written in the Shakespearean dialect, to varying degrees of success. Her prose is easy to understand, but an imitation of Shakespeare will always come up short. Taub’s love of Shakespeare shines through, especially when she weaves in characters and references to the Bard’s other plays-delightful Easter eggs for her fellow book nerds.
Still Star-Crossed wasn’t the worst way I’ve ever spent an evening. It’s a quick, mindless read and those can be fun from time to time. But those looking for something deeper won’t find it here.