New Release Book Review: Waking Romeo by Kathryn Barker

I saw this cover (fabulous) and read a review on this novel a while ago and I was intrigued enough to want to read it and I’m so glad I did. This was a fabulous read, something so different to anything else I’ve read, time-travel, dystopian fiction, romance, built on a classic novel, so many different aspects that made up this unique novel. The world has essentially ended, humans have destroyed the earth and resources are limited, but with the invention of pods, people can travel forwards only, into the future, hopeful of a better life.

When the book starts it is 2083 and Juliet (Jules) is not in a good place, the love of her life, Romeo is in a coma after a tragic accident 2 years beforehand that left Jules with a dead arm and feeling even more on the outer than she did before. The actual events of that night and those leading up to them are uncovered slowly as the story progresses, but all is not as it would appear and Jules will face a lot of truths, ones she has deluded herself into believing, ones she has written into a story The Love Story of Juliet and Romeo, written in the style of Shakespeare, and ones that she has been told are the truth but aren’t.

Ellis, a deadender, a traveller from the future, but also from the past, is charged with the mission to wake Romeo and is transported back to 2083 where he encounters Jules and together they work to do just that. Jules was under the impression you could only travel forwards in time and needed a pod to do so, but Ellis throws this and many other of her beliefs into disarray.

There is a lot to get your head around in this novel, especially the jumping back and forwards in time, the different timelines and how they play out, the memories and Jules’ story, but if you go in with an open mind then you’ll be in for one hell of a ride. This would have been a five star read if it hadn’t been for the final couple of chapters where for the first time I did struggle to get my head around the time travel/ consequences aspect, but I will get this out of the library again and reread those chapters, and hopefully, it will all become clear.

I loved the way the author has played with Shakespears story, but not only Shakespear but another classic author, Emily Bronte for who Ellis was the inspiration of her classic story.

An ingenious novel.

AWW 2021

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