Thursday, October 17, 2013

**REVIEW** Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub

Release Date:  July 9, 2013
Published By: Delacorte Press
Length: 352 pages
Review Copy: Hardcover, provided by publisher for honest review


Buy it:
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  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.

  Saying that this is in league with Romeo and Juliet feels wrong.  Not because it was not a good read but because it is something that is unique and wonderful in its own way.  Reading this was the heartbreak and damage that the star crossed lovers left behind, it was seeing the aftermath of their tragic ending.  This was its own brand of beauty and I fell in love with it.  I am writing this review several weeks after I first picked this up, and the story still stands out.  That has to say something and to me it speaks volumes.

  What I love about this plot is that it doesn't forward to modern time but rather in Verona not too long after the tragic loss of Romeo and Juliet.  However, Taub did not glorify their death and created characters that were strong enough to realize the lovers weakness: Love.  They speak on what they had and how foolish they were and also what they have left behind.  What was meant to bring the city and two warring family together has continued to push them apart.  Then to top it all off you have a mandated wedding of our two characters and vigilantes that are bent on keeping the family's apart.  The problem: the characters have no desire to marry and no one knows from what family these vigilantes belong to.  Take all of this and thrown it together and you get the most awkward yet true building relationship.

  I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Rosaline now.  The best thing about her has to be that she even for the time in which this was based, was a strong willed woman.  There was no giving in to any guy or anybody really because she despite her standing knew her worth.  This isn't to say that her pride did not get in the way sometimes because it did.  However, she also knew when to give in a little and take a chance.  Ultimately I think that Rosaline's brains and strength are something that most people would like to avoid but it was the one thing that really made her unique.  The only thing that saddened me about her was her thoughts on Juliet and Romeo's romance  There was no resentment but pity and some anger, for the trouble she felt that they caused. She refused to look at it in the black or white of everyone else though and did feel for the loss of young life.

  Benvolio was amazingly crafted as well.  He mourned the loss of Romeo and his other family members but he did not blame them for their love.  He was a little more duty bound than Rosaline but he also openly had more free will as he was a man.  He seemed to think that young Romeo would have been better off if the beautiful Rosaline had never denied him, simply because she seemed to be much less impulsive.  Though his encounters with Rosaline were not very pleasant to start, he did try and be as civil as possible and she did not make this easy.  He was not constantly the hero but he developed into the kind of guy that I would certainly want to fall into the arms of.

  Taub did a phenomenal job of continuing on the story after Romeo and Juliet, I believe that she has done Shakespeare's characters great justice.  The writing was wonderful and I did love that she used some of the original language but not so much as to overpower the book.  This is not an epic love story where there is nothing but romance and tragedy but it does have romance that is built and/or learned as the book progresses.  If you are a fan of Shakespear pick this up for sure but more importantly if you are looking for a read with strong developing characters you need this on your shelves!

  Rosaline would never breathe a word of it to her family, but her grief for Juliet was no greater than that she felt for Juliet's Montague lover.  Every time Rosaline thought of Romeo, she was engulfed in a wave of guilt so great she half wished it could wash her away all together.
 She was beautiful.  There was no point in being modest about it, as all who'd seen her had been telling her so since she left the nursery.  But what of that?  She'd trade places with the ugliest girl in Verona if she could.  Juliet had been beautiful too.
  "I am betrothed to no man," she snapped.  "And certainly not him. 
  Benvolio crossed his arms. "On this we may agree, lady."
  Lord Capulet raised his hands to quiet them both.  "You will marry!" he thundered.  "Insolent children, you will do as you are told.  For the sake of your families."
  Benvolio snorted.  "The last thing my family needs is for me to bring home a snake."


  1. I love Romeo and Juliet. I can't really get behind their love for one another, but the story itself I find amazing. Stolen or not, Shakespeare really had a knack at tragic stories. I love the idea of "sequel," what happened after the three days and nine deaths within Verona. I love forcing these two families together through marriage - something the Friar attempted and failed miserably at. But anyway, I like that Taub was able to pull it off. I'm definitely going to have to pick this book up.

  2. What?! How have I not heard of this book before? I'm definitely picking this book up! I've always wondered what happened to these two families after the tragic deaths of R and J. I'm so glad you reviewed this one, Tiff.


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