This is an ambitiously creative crossover of classics, time travel, and the definition of love.
The scope of this book is impressive!! Time-travel always leaves me flummoxed — like how does your brain not spin while you write things in the future to rewrite the past but also preserve the past but also capture the future!!!! The foreshadowing here! The details! The way a seemingly random event NOW turns out to be a pivotal moment later. It all ties up so neatly at the end too, with the twisty plot coming together and characters’ arcs and tales weaving together in a satisfying conclusion.
The story follows a mashup of famous classics. We’re set in the not-so-distant future in London. Enter Romeo x Juliet but also Wuthering Heights! (I also think there were other Shakespeare plays mentioned?) Add time travel into that and it’s super creative. It both modernises the old classics and also pays homage to their century-old origins. Ellis is such a sweetheart and Jules is so badass.
I do think knowing the original classics would give the reader more depth as they read Waking Romeo. I unfortunately don’t know either classic 😭 so I’m sure I didn’t catch a lot of layers and references.
As for the idea of having faith? Nobody worships God anymore; we just worship the past.
It also really delves into the topic of love. What it is. What it means. Unpacks instalove — the good and bad versions. And it said a lot about how we mentally rewrite situations to feel better about them. Like Juliet (Jules) is a grungy teen who tried to kill herself when she thought her “true love” (Romeo) died. While they both survive (though Romeo is in a coma), Jules starts writing their story as a play in the style of Shakespeare. But she writes a romantic version of true love. Reality? Not so simple. Add in a ton of time-travel and brain-bending as they manipulate fate — it’s a whirlwind.
Overall, it’s a mind-twisty story full of reveals and secrets that will definitely keep you guessing!
“Hell is…” he says again, like he is trying to say more, yet cannot.
Jules answers him with a gentle, “I love you.”
What if Juliet Capulet met someone who made her doubt true love? What if Wuthering Heights was a message to a time traveller? A cosmic reimagining of Romeo and Juliet and homage to two literary classics in a compelling novel about fate, love and time travel from an award-winning author.
YEAR: 2083. LOCATION: LONDON. MISSION: WAKE ROMEO.
It’s the end of the world. Literally. Time travel is possible, but only forwards. And only a handful of families choose to remain in the ‘now’, living off the scraps that were left behind. Among these are eighteen-year-old Juliet and the love of her life, Romeo. But things are far from rosy for Jules. Romeo is in a coma and she’s estranged from her friends and family, dealing with the very real fallout of their wild romance. Then a handsome time traveller, Ellis, arrives with an important mission that makes Jules question everything she knows about life and love. Can Jules wake Romeo and rewrite her future?
A highly original mashup that delights as it disorients … and asks what would have happened if two great literary love stories were somehow intertwined.
Thanks to Allen and Unwin for the Review Copy!