{ARC} Book Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

September 23, 2014 Review 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{ARC} Book Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree DespainThe Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
Series: Into The Dark #1
Published by Egmont USA on 2014 March 11
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 496
Format: E-book {ARC}
Source: Edelweiss
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four-stars

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.

A pulsating romance of epic proportions, Bree Despain’s The Shadow Prince will leave her fans breathless for the next book in the Into The Dark series.

OMFG! The Shadow Prince is another book that had me reeling in the world of awesomeness.  I was actually ashamed by the fact that I went into it with a pre-conceived notion that it’s going to be another crap mythos. Can’t blame me because just months ago, I was unfortunate to read another Greek myth based novel entitled Silent Echo. What’s worst is the fact that this book is also about a singing heroine which is so reminiscent of Portia, the heroine of Silent Echo.  I thought I was in for another hellish ride but was so relieved that The Shadow Prince was able to prove that it’s not just your run-of-the-mill mythos.  It has spunk and certainly offered something new to the table.

While the Percy Jackson series is a tale of all the greek gods and goddesses, The Shadow Prince is a rendition of Hades and Orpheus’ story.  Haden, The Shadow Prince, is the son of the interim ruler of the Underworld, King Ren.  Disowned and stripped off of his royal privileges, a sudden twist of fate has offered him a chance to restore his lost glory and honor.  That chance involved bringing a mortal girl in the person of Daphne Raines to the Underworld to retrieve something that has been stolen from Hades. While Haden is endowed with godly powers, it certainly wouldn’t help in ensuring Daphne’s willingness to go to the other side with him.

I just couldn’t express how much I love this book.  Charged with an atmosphere of tension and interesting vibe, its beginning immediately pulled me in. It’s such a powerful opening salvo that I found it hard to put the book down.  And as I navigated through the whole book, it wasn’t just the beginning that drew me in.  The main characters were perfect for me despite that some of the second characters were kind of left out. Haden is your typical underdog, but what sets him apart from those typical pitiful boys is that when he’s consumed with uncertainty and self-pity, he just powers through even if it puts him in a very bad but funny situation. This book has enough humor to set me off to mental land.  OMFG, the way he adjusted to the mortal world and attempted to get Daphne’s attention were heartwarming and something I needed after reading a lot of books that had eyerolling jokes.

Daphne didn’t disappoint either.  I liked that the author created her without using the generic pattern of YA heroines which is pathetic, simple, naïve, has a low self-esteem, and that entire BS.  Daphne is tall, confident and knows how to use her strengths when they’re needed. She’s ambitious without being bitchy.  She asserts herself without being bossy. Really, she’s just a very likeable character who spends her day not thinking about boys. Instead, she makes her day worthwhile by doing her passion, thinking about her family and obsessing about the mystery that surrounds Olympus Hills.

The second characters were kind of average though. For me, they’re okay but I think the author could still do something to make them okayER. I am already on the verge of really loving them but not quite there yet if that even makes sense.

Another selling point of this book is the world building. On one hand, Despain managed to paint a very vivid picture of the Underrealm without resorting to an infodump. And then she constructed another one called Olympus Hills. It’s pretty impressive because Olympus Hills is supposed to be another high end community where celebrities lived but Despain made it in a way that it has the feel of coming out straight from a fantasy book whilst maintaining a semblance of realism.

While the plot may not be that original considering that it’s about the retelling of Orpheus and Hades’ story, Despain was creative enough to weave something extraordinary out of it.  It has equal amounts of romance, creepy mystery, funky humor and of course, a mythos that you would certainly love.  Though pleased with the plot, I must say that it’s not perfect. Near the end of the book, our characters were put in a situation where they just solved it too easily.  Maybe things would’ve been more awesome if Despain tried to infuse more action into it than just going the easy way out. But anyway, my love for this book is enough to make me overlook that problem.

And that ending, it was very satisfying and thrilling. It explained a lot of things, but still contained enough secrets to make you restless for the next book to come out.

All in all, The Shadow Prince is another book that I don’t want to end.  I hope Bree is sensible enough to get her a—working double time and release the sequel.

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