The Juliet Spell is about Miranda, a teenage girl who wants to be cast as Juliet in the school play more than anything. After a mediocre audition with a demanding director, she goes home and conjures a spell to help her chances at the lead. Instead, she somehow summons Edmund Shakeshaft – the brother of William Shakespeare – from 1596 England into her home in present day America.
Admittedly, I was initially drawn to this book by the lovely cover and the fact that it had to do with theatre. The theatrical process & terminology was fairly accurate and I enjoyed those scenes revolving around the production of Romeo & Juliet. However, even having read the synopsis of the story, I was still surprised at how the whole book played out. The way Edmund appears into the story is a bit startling, and his whole character itself was quite bizarre. His “old English” accent was at best contrived and inconsistent, wavering in and out of the use of “ye”/”you” and “meself”/”myself”. Introducing a magical component into a story is difficult. It can work itself seamlessly into the story or feel a little awkward and out of place. I understand the use of magic to get Edmund into the plot, as it’s basically the main story, but how Miranda just whips up a spell seems a little out of nowhere.
Despite the quick pacing of the story, I found myself still wanting to know what happens though. As much as I felt Miranda’s use of spell-chanting magic a bit random, the idea of magic in another sense evokes the same mystical idea. It makes the reader realize how much their present day world would look magical to the uninitiated. Things we take for granted, like running water or a television, would seem like it was magic to someone who had never seen it before. With the speed in which technology is being developed now, a mere 10-20 years ago we would have thought that all these MP3 players, smartphones and tablets were magically impossible too, let alone what has been discovered and developed over a 400-year span.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ (3/5 stars)