Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

Title: The Shadow Prince
Author: Bree Despain
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Source: EgmontUSA via Edelweiss

Goodreads rating: 4.04 (100+ ratings)
Goodreads | The Reading Room

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.
Review by Nara

As far as I'm concerned, no guy is worth waiting anywhere for, not following, for that matter- prince or not.
Okay, I've been sitting here for 20 minutes unsure of how exactly to start this review. So screw the intro paragraph and let's get straight into it.

A very interesting twist on Greek mythology; it was intriguing to see a book where Hades is a (relatively) good guy rather than completely evil. And the way the author created her own flavour of the Persephone myth was great! Also rather awesome was the ability that Daphne had. She's able to hear the distinctive sound that every living creature emits, and in people, is able to interpret their mood from the tone of the notes. How creative of Despain!

The dual POV was actually done rather well. The only thing I disliked about it was that there was some backtracking so you'd see the same scene twice- once from Daphne's point of view and one from Haden's. That's probably more of a personal thing though, because I do hear that some people quite like that style of writing. The two voices were very distinct, with Haden having a slightly formal tone compared to Daphne's modern one. It was clear at all times who was narrating, which is obviously the way that a dual perspective should be.

Okay, so I realise that Haden is from the Underrealm and therefore doesn't understand normal human behaviour, but seriously, early in the book, every time he interacted with Daphne I was like GAHHH! NOOO DON'T DO IT!!! *facepalms* It was rather entertaining to see him try and acclimatise to the "human world", especially with him utilising Google to its full potential i.e. by Googling "how to get girls to like me" and getting the result "act like a bad boy" and such.

The romance was a bit weak- I mean, it wasn't terribly done, but it definitely wasn't anything fresh either. The ole feeling sparks and heat when the love interest is nearby cliche is used when Daphne and Haden first meet, and I do feel like they hadn't really spent too much time together before declaring (in their respective minds, not actually out loud to each other) their love. Or at least their "falling" for each other. Then again, the romance wasn't really the focus of the book at all, so I thought it was fine that it was a bit shaky. There were other more interesting aspects of the plot to look at.

This book certainly felt a lot like an introductory book to a series (which I feel will probably be at least a trilogy) and there's therefore a large portion of the book focused on setting up the overarching story arc and introducing all the characters. Hopefully the subsequent instalments will have a bit more action and character development.

Liked it

Overall: 7/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 4/5

Looking for more YA/MG Greek mythology?
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Half-Blood by Jennifer L Armentrout