So this is obviously a Romeo and Juliet re-telling, except as it were the real R&J couple are Will (Romeo’s) parents. That’s not a spoiler–I don’t mean it in the “they were foes and died tragically in a murder/suicide,” because it’s more the sentiment, like the outlines of their romance.
The very first review of this book perfectly captured something I also wished–that Will and Nora had actually met in the first part of the book, such that their/Will’s instant connection was based on more than a single instance where Will heard a teenaged Nora laugh from her balcony 10+ years ago. I mean. I can barely remember what people sound like, much less the exact cadence of their voice…and then puberty? Love at first sight doesn’t play as well in the modern era as it did in R&J’s time, because as it were we are allowed to spend time with unmarried people of our preferred sex.
The other thing that I found a bit cumbersome is probably what others like about Clayborn’s writing–the expository paragraphs between the action/conversation paragraphs, where we delve into the psyche of either character. For me, they verged on the florid and distracted from the flow of the story, and as a result I ended up doing a bit of skipping forward and then doubling back when I realized that a paragraph had switched to plot.
Lastly…WHO wakes up at 4am (?!?!?!) on a consistent basis? And don’t say doctors, because my next point is: …who sleeps at 10pm? Zero people who aren’t suffering from insomnia. Doctors who wake up at 4am will sleep at 4pm, don’t @ me.
But all that aside, Will and Nora are lovely characters who I enjoyed getting to know. Will’s superpower–that he is affable and charming and has great rapport with people–is funnily the same as one of the protagonists of the next book I read (Winter’s Orbit) and it’s great to see that it’s equally useful for both 2020 Chicago and Year Unknown Space Opera.