Romeo Publishing Company, $19.85, ISBN 978-0-6151-4730-7
Contemporary Paranormal Fiction, 2007
I am going to feel really guilty about this review because author James Edwards clearly views Romeo and Juliet: A Modern Day Sequel as a labor of love. He spends money on self-publishing it, starting his own company to do so, and he invests time and more money promoting the existence of the book. How am I going to tell him that this so-called modern sequel makes me laugh in ways that he may not appreciate? God, I need an aspirin. And maybe a confessional with a handsome priest come this Sunday morning.
Like the title of this book suggests, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are going to get back together in this modern-day sequel. After melodramatically dying the last time we saw him, Romeo finds himself not dead but alive and well in modern day Hawaii. Under the tutelage and guidance of a wise Buddhist Zen Master (yes, the Z and the M are capitalized as per the way they are in this story), he realizes that Juliet is out there in the world, reincarnated and waiting to be reunited with him. Fate, destiny, or maybe the understandable need to chat dirty over the Web leads him to “Emilie”. He feels an instant connection with her that has nothing to do with electrical sparks or anything remotely related to furious typing on one’s keyboard.
Emilie is actually Emma Gallant, a Hollywood actress who is currently posturing in waif-like distress over her gilded cage existence as well as the attentions of an egomaniac fellow actor who is actually Tybalt reincarnated. When Tybalt pulls off a stunt that will drive Ming the Conqueror into seizures of envy with the sheer magnitude of its diabolical dastardy – Tybalt causes the Internet accounts of both Emma and Romeo to be canceled, oh the horror – all seem lost. Or are they? Meanwhile, there are also flashbacks to Romeo and Juliet being reincarnations themselves of some legendary Egyptian and Atlantean lovers. No, really, and don’t ask. Just go with the flow and have fun. You will feel more happy about this story that way, trust me.
“Campy fun” is how I would describe this book. It’s going to outrage purists, if the explicit cybersex transcript between Romeo and Emma hasn’t already shocked them into a dead faint, but that’s only if one is to actually compare this book to the original. And let’s face it, what’s a little cybersex compared to the fact that Juliet is, what, thirteen in the original? At least Emma is of clearly legal age here. We are all about the sex, baby, when it comes to Romeo and Juliet! As for the characters, they could easily have walked out of some men’s ideal version of a romance: the woman is shy, passive, and even submissive at times while the big and brave man does all the decision-making, rescuing, chest-thumping, and hot loving.
The writing is actually very clean and readable, which makes this book much more easier to appreciate as a guilty pleasure. A part of me will always feel guilty for announcing to all who drop by here that I don’t think this book is high art or anything even close to that, so I can only hope that the fact that I enjoy this book as some kind of campy Romeo and Juliet: Suck It, Bitches pulp fiction is some consolation to Mr Edwards. I would suggest something to be done about Hamlet next. Let’s make him a kung-fu master and pit him against some ninjas!