Author: Ryan North
Released: November 10th 2016
Length: 400 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
What if Romeo never met Juliet? What if Juliet got really buff instead of moping around the castle all day? What if they teamed up to take over Verona with robot suits?In this New York Times bestselling version of Romeo and Juliet, you get to choose where the story goes. Packed with exciting choices, fun puzzles, secret surprises, terrible puns and more than a billion possible storylines, Romeo and/or Juliet offers a new experience every time you read it. And, as an added bonus, all the different endings feature beautiful and quirky illustrations by some of the best artists working today, including New York Times bestsellers Kate Beaton, Noelle Stevenson, Randall Munroe, and Jon Klassen.Whatever your adventure, you're guaranteed to find lots of romance, epic fight scenes and plenty of questionable decision-making by highly emotional teens.
New York Times bestselling Romeo and/or Juliet is a choose your own adventure type of deal, a ridiculously entertaining take (or takes, since there are plenty of them) on a classic that’s pretty ridiculous in and of itself. A classic it may be, but the word timeless doesn’t apply to this particular work, and the older I get, the more annoyed I am by Romeo and Juliet both.
Ryan North took the famous tale and explored its weaknesses, but he also added pretty much everything that crossed his mind, from ghosts and robots to naked, sword-wielding fathers. The best thing by far is that you make your own choices as you go, from the character you want to play to the path you want to take. I can’t begin to imagine the amount of work that was required to put this book together, but the effort paid off. From the very first page Romeo and/or Juliet is an exercise in hilarity.
If you choose to play as Romeo, prepare to be a lovesick teen obsessed with ridiculous poetry. As Juliet, you will be a ripped, self-obsessed girl interested in muscles and boys. Juliet is a bit of a pushover, always ready to do everything her mother tells her to, but you’re there to make things better and push her in more dangerous directions. It’s your game after all!
Some of the paths end quickly, always with painful and ridiculous deaths. On some of them Juliet and Romeo don’t even meet, and on some they meet but things go in strange directions. Sometimes the book pushes you to change characters, usually when one becomes boring or the other’s life seems more eventful. In any case, North addresses his players the entire time, not hiding the fact that he’s the one actually running the narrative.
Regardless of where you end up, you’ll jump right back to the beginning eagerly. I tried retracing my steps several times, but it didn’t always work. I got tangled up more times than I can count. The easiest thing to do is laugh until you cry at Romeo’s and/or Juliet’s misfortune and go right back to kill them again. Not all paths have tragic endings – there are a few possibilities for a happily ever after as well. After a time, though, you begin hoping for the other kind, mostly because they’re far more entertaining.
Romeo and/or Juliet is the weirdest, funniest book I’ve held in my hands in ages. Sometimes it gives the impression of trying too hard, but overall you’ll want to take this journey again and again until you discover them all.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.