The Dark Rose - Valentine Ramsey From my Amazon review:The Dark RoseI am really quite torn on how to review, or even rate, this book, basically because I’m undecided on whether or not I liked it. So…This is an odd, contemporary/modern, rewrite of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. With vampires. Yes. Vampires.So for the good points:Clearly, a lot of hard work went into creating this book/story. It so closely mirrored the original at times that I wonder if a copy was kept close at hand. Despite this seeming to be a poke at potential plagiarism (which I will address later), I assure you, it is not. It is merely an observation to explain the effort made to stay true to the spirit of the classic.It is ‘almost’ perfect in its editing/proofreading/grammar. There are a few typos, a few incorrect possessives, and a few of what I consider ‘made up’ words. But overall, it’s fairly readable. The errors aren’t blatantly intrusive as many indie/self-pubs can be.The story is certainly an original twist on Romeo and Juliet. That’s not to say that there haven’t been other star-crossed lovers stories with vampires, but this is truly ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ There is no doubt, as made clear by their names – Dominic/Dom (something something) Romeo Gray, and Pandora/Pan (something something) Juliet Rose. Verona Blvd is prevalent, as are all of the characters from Shakespeare (renamed of course). I’d liken the story to Romeo and Juliet fanfiction. Now, for the not so good points:I really disliked the modern slang mixed with Shakespearean prose. I read Shakespeare and other classics in high school and college, but really don’t enjoy it in what I surmise to be a YA romance. Oh, the quotes I could give from this. To be honest, I found the only way I could get through much of the dialogue was to roll my eyes or to poke fun at how ridiculous it was. As I said, this had to take a lot of work to remain true to the original.Unfortunately, with this oddball dialogue comes the dreaded ‘almost’ plagiarism. You know, “A Rose by any other name…” There were so many times that I felt myself wanting to go to my library to pull out my copy to compare, but I did restrain myself.It took me more than 12% to actually decide to try to continue on with the book, in an effort to give it a fair trial. That first 12% I spent searching out and making fun of the awkward dialogue. After that, a more normal story seemed to want to make an appearance, but every time I thought I could settle in to read an interesting YA vampire story, we’d go back to stilted prose. It’s a shame, really. If the book had been written more straightforward, rather than a weak attempt to merge modern and classic, I would have completely liked it.All in all, I would say that the book is a blend of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Twilight, and the Leonardo DiCaprio/Claire Dain version of R & J. Different, that’s for sure. Good? Not so sure.I’ve given it 2.5 stars (well, at least that’s what I would give it if they did half stars). A full point lost simply for the modern Shakespearean prose that the story could have done without, and been eminently more readable.