Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rooks and Romanticide by J. I. Radke

Rooks and Romanticide by J.I. Radke

Review by Lauren

Source: copy sent for review; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: In an alternate world, Romeo and Juliet are gunslingers. Verona gives way to a steampunk Victorian London. The victims of turf wars are dumped in an alley they call Lovers’ Lane, and the moment the son of his family's enemy touches his face, Cain's revenge is poisoned by love. Fate would have it no other way.

Levi Ruslaniv is the heir to the Ruslaniv family gang, but ridiculous ancient feuds do not interest him. Cain Dietrich’s vengeful hatred for the Ruslaniv family is rooted deep, since he believes the Ruslanivs arranged for the murder of his parents. But his encounter with Levi pierces him deeper than hatred ever could. 

With bullets and blazes of glory, schemes, spies, and pack mentalities, loyalty runs as deep in the veins as passion or revenge, and there is only one way to end the fighting. From the start it was inevitable—a bloodstained fate for children with bloodstained hands, and the streets of New London will never be the same.

Review: This is a fascinating alternate world and retelling of Romeo and Juliet. In this version of the classic tale, the feuding families help rule over New London and have been fighting and causing much bloodshed for years. Levi Ruslaniv's face is hidden from all but his family and close friends. People know that Lord Ruslaniv has two sons but most could not identify them, including the Dietrich family. This family is ruled by Cain Dietrich, whose parents were brutally murdered three years before. Not knowing his enemies' face allows Levi to get close to Cain, but it's not long before the two of them are fighting feelings for one another.

Levi keeps his true identity a secret from Cain, but he also refuses to use his closeness to the Earl for any type of revenge, even though his gang, BLACK, is curious as to why not. As for Cain, he thinks he's hired a rogue gunslinger, one who can go between New London and share information. Unfortunately, nothing can stay a secret for too long.

The romance between Levi and Cain is passionate and intense. Readers realize that Levi can't hide for long, though, and so it's always full of suspense when the two get together. The writing has a slight historical feel to the words, which creates a realistic sense to the time. It also keeps the romantic moments in the book from becoming too erotic or gratuitous. The attraction between Levi and Cain is an important part of the story, but it's not the only thing. As these two families are enemies, it means readers cannot see a happy future. It means that there will continue to be bloodshed and violence throughout New London. Cain is desperate for revenge on those who killed his parents and imprisoned him for almost a year. Levi understands Cain's pain, but he also has loyalty to his own family.

I enjoyed seeing the pattern of Romeo and Juliet take place in this novel, without it being too overly predictable. Instead, it's a matter of events occurring and realizing it's influenced by the original text. Rooks and Romanticide is a suspenseful, passionate, and exciting read. I would recommend it to many and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I'm curious to see what Radke writes next.


Melliane said...

It's always great to have a good retelling like that. It's the first time I hear about this one but I really like the idea!

Kindlemom said...

I adore retellings of this tale more than any others for some reason. Maybe it is the forbidden love aspect, I don't know but I so want to read this now. I love that you described it as a passionate, exciting, suspenseful read!
Wonderful review!

Erika Sorocco said...

Ooh this sounds like an interesting retelling!


Brandi Kosiner said...

The world building and the premise sounds good

Liviania said...

This sounds cool. I love Shakespeare retellings.

Rebecca Harasym said...

Sounds like a great book! I think most people love the story of Romeo and Juliet and so this adaptation of it sounds awesome. Thanks for the recommendation!


Midnight Cowgirl said...

Sounds like a really interesting retelling!

Krysten Quiles said...

This sounds SO good!

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

Very interesting to see a LBGT Romeo and Juliet retelling. That is something new.

The Bookish Manicurist said...

Sounds like a great, futuristic spin on a classic story!

Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

Lindy Gomez said...

This sounds like a great read! I love that the author managed to not make it predictable , yet still had similar aspects to Romeo & Juliet! Excellent Review Lauren :)

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

Kirsty-Marie Jones said...

Alternate world and a somewhat Romeo and Juliet retelling (although, have to say, I'm not too keen on Romeo and Juliet, but I seem to be a sucker for retelling's.) sounds great! :)