The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain tells the story of a disgraced Underworld prince and a small-town girl who dreams of being a rock star, with a twist on the Persephone and Hades myth! While the writing is fast and readable, I found The Shadow Prince so filled with tropes and foolish decisions that I just couldn’t cheer for the characters. I also was disappointed to see another YA romance that starts off unhealthy and a little creepy and doesn’t improve much. If a guy has your name scarred onto his arm, that’s a red flag :-/.
Note: I received The Shadow Prince from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain (Into the Dark #1)
Published by Egmont on March 11th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 512 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
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Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.
Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.
Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.
- The Shadow Prince is long for a YA book but it reads really fast. I never noticed the page count and didn’t feel that The Shadow Prince ever lagged. I actually was surprised when I checked Goodreads and realized just how many pages it actually is.
- While The Shadow Prince borrows heavily from the Persephone and Hades myth, there is also a dash of less commonly used myths thrown in, including Orpheus and Pandora. I’m not a huge fan of Persephone and Hades, so it was nice to see elements of these other Greek myths to spice things up ;-).
- I’m a music geek, so Daphne’s incredible talent for music was fun to read about and a little envy inducing, haha. Daphne also hears a song from every living thing and can tell moods based off of a person’s song, which was just cool!
- Daphne is supposed to be this strong and spunky girl and then she goes and makes absolutely stupid and random decisions several times. It felt only too obvious that the plot needed her to go along with something and so she came up with some strange justification for doing it even though it was a really bad decision. You see this early on when she drops everything to go live with her father who she’s seen only a few times in her life, and it just gets worse from there.
- The Shadow Prince is written in dual PoV between Daphne and Haden, which I’m generally okay with. However, there are many times when the perspective switches and the other character recaps what just happened with the previous character. The Shadow Prince is written in present tense, but these recaps end up being in past tense since the character is going over what just happened I guess? It was strange, repetitive, annoying, and just downright unnecessary. I’m quite capable of remembering what just happened ya know?
- Haden is just such a tool. His whole mission is to go out and find this “Boon” to trick into coming back to the Underworld where she will wither and die of vitamin-D deficiency. He knows that she will die if she comes back, he’s seen every other Boon die within a few years, and yet this doesn’t really seem to even occur to him until half-way through the story when it is convenient. I was bothered all along with this whole idea of Boons and even calling the girls that because, well, ugh, and Haden doesn’t get much better once he starts falling for Daphne with all the necessary YA tropes thrown in for good measure.
The Shadow Prince might appeal if you are really geeked about Greek myth retellings and music, but be prepared for a lot of typical YA problems. It is a fast and easy read if you’re looking for something fluffy, and it certainly wasn’t difficult for me to get through if you discount the eye-rolling. Why can’t YA main characters make somewhat decent decisions??
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.