Juliet Dove, Queen of Love
By: Bruce Coville
I was attracted to this book because as a young girl/early teen I was very interested in books about girls and falling in love. While looking for something that my young self would have wanted to read I stumbled upon Juliet Dove, Queen of Love. After reading the back of the book I realized this was a fantasy book as it included magic and a "pair of wisecracking rats" that "help Juliet solve the puzzle of the powerful bauble." Since fantasy books are not usually my most favorite genre I decided to give this one a read. Maybe mixing a young love type story with fantasy would make the genre more likable for me....
Juliet Dove is a very shy girl in the sixth grade (right away I can identify with her as I was so painfully shy in school.) She is so shy that her words sometimes come out angry and have earned her the title "Killer." She lives in a little town called Venus Harbor. Her father known as Prof. to the neighbors holds a Poetry Jam on Valentines day and wants all his children to recite a poem. This is not in Juliet's plans as she is shy and tried in the year before only to fail.
Juliet is at school one day when she hurts the feelings of a girl and instead of apologizing she decides to take off and avoid them. She starts running away and ends up in a mysterious magic shop. In the shop are an owl and a lady. The lady has a beautiful amulet that Juliet for some weird reason starts to "need" upon touching it. The lady gives her the amulet and tells her to speak of it to know one and leave.
After putting the amulet on Juliet starts noticing weird things. All the boys in her class seem to be fighting over her attention, she sees weird fog appear, and a lady in the night, and two talking mice show up at her house. Roxanne and Jerome were sent to Juliet from the magic shop she visited. Mr. Elives, the old man shop owner sent them because he was worried after his owl told him a strange women gave a little girl an amulet. He fears there is danger around the amulet and does not know how the women got in his shop while he was gone. We also learn that the shop moves around and does not stay in one place, although the mice don't tell us how that happens.
Juliet agrees to take the amulet off, but it won't come off. It is stuck on Juliet and Mr. Elives decides to let Roxanne and Jerome stay with her until they figure out why. The story takes a turn when he sends her to the librarian storyteller visiting. The story starts to bring in the Greek Gods as the storyteller thinks this necklace once belonged to Helen of Troy and caused the war.
Juliet starts getting even more worried and sets out with her brother and the rats to find out what the amulet is for and how to get it off. Coville takes us to different worlds, where the Gods and Goddess' live and on an adventure to find the key to the amulet.
When the key is found, however, that is not the end of Juliet's adventure. But instead we get another twist because the amulet holds cupid himself. Once it is open things really start to heat up and cupid's powers get transferred to Roxanne and Jerome (the rats). She also learns that Eris, Goddess, of discord, is the one that gave her the amulet and in turn has caused all the problems. She also learns Eris has big plans for her at the Poetry Jam.
Eris tries to ruin the poetry jam but Juliet actually gets on stage and tells a great poem about love. This broke the spell on Juliet, but did not release Cupid from his prison. Juliet travels once more to the other realm and with Aphrodite's touch the full spell is broken and Cupid is released to find his one true love.
This book had many twists and turns and kept you guessing about what was really going on. One minute we were in another dimension talking to goddess' and the next she was at the house. This fast pace made it a little unbelievable for me as it felt very rushed but I think it also added to the mystery of the story. It was an easy read and would be very cute for young girls to read. I also liked how it included some mythology, which i did not know it would prior to reading it. Mythology has always fascinated me and I think after this book young readers would be interested as well. I have read Percy Jackson and I think this book makes mythology exciting for girls as it centers on the Goddess' and their stories.
The talking rats surprised me at how big of a part they played in the story and I did not like when they took over Cupid's qualities and sported a bow and arrow of love. This part alone made me stop reading and think what why did that happen and that is not believable. They even saved the day when Juliet was almost captured by Eris by shooting her with arrows and at that point I realized why they had to become like Cupid but I didn't believe it very much. They are also very bossy. When meeting the rats for the first time they yelled at Juliet, stating, "and if you know what's good for you, you'd better, talk to us." In the end though they become lovable and it was almost sad for Juliet to let them go back.
The story has a great mystery to but I am not sure it was that believable to me. The concept of talking rats and the quick I think it is a good book and I would be interested to read other Magic Shop Books by Coville as there are several.
Check out Coville's website he writes many books that would be very interesting for a young fantasy reader.