Jan 31, 2014

ARC Review--Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine

A thrilling retelling of the star-crossed tale of Romeo and Juliet, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series.

In the Houses of Montague and Capulet, there is only one goal: power. The boys are born to fight and die for honor and—if they survive—marry for influence and money, not love. The girls are assets, to be spent wisely. Their wishes are of no import. Their fates are written on the day they are born.

Benvolio Montague, cousin to Romeo, knows all this. He expects to die for his cousin, for his house, but a spark of rebellion still lives inside him. At night, he is the Prince of Shadows, the greatest thief in Verona—and he risks all as he steals from House Capulet. In doing so, he sets eyes on convent-bound Rosaline, and a terrible curse begins that will claim the lives of many in Verona…

And will rewrite all their fates, forever.

I received this e-ARC from the publishers via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.

I got to admit, Rachel Caine's Prince of Shadows totally took me by surprise. I was expecting a paranormal version of Romeo and Juliet. The cover has an eerie feeling to it, so I thought...ooh, something spooky! Not so, really.

In some ways, this is the story of Romeo and Juliet through Benvolio's eyes. But it's also much more than that! The story begins before Romeo even sets eyes on Juliet. In fact, he's already "in love" with Rosaline. The Montagues and Capulets are already duking it out daily with fights and the Prince of Verona isn't too happy with the families.

We learn that Benvolio, cousin to Romeo and friend to Mercutio is the Prince of Shadows, sort of a Robin Hood before Robin Hood's time. He steals from the rich and usually gives to the poor. Sometimes he and Mercutio keep some of the booty and sell it elsewhere. 

I think Rachel did a fabulous job with this one! Anyone can rewrite/rework a classic, but Rachel takes it to another level and tells the story from another eyes. We still know what to expect to happen and it does, but there's more umph to it! It's been years since I read Romeo and Juliet, but I remember parts of it well enough and of course watching the movies, although it was the 1968 version I kept picturing, one that I watched in high school and in college after reading the book. So yeah, Romeo was Leonard Whiting in my reader's mind and so on and so on! Rosaline and Benvolio were the characters I developed my own image for, since I couldn't really recall who played them since they were secondary characters at that point.

Again, I praise Rachel and her writing abilities on this one! She still weaves in bits of the Shakespearean language throughout the story dialogue, yet also tweaks it a bit so you can understand it better. Even as an English major I had a hard time understanding Shakespeare! Famous lines of course are all there in their famous glory. 

The romance between Rosaline and Benvolio was sweet. Where Romeo and Juliet seemed to be all about the passion, there was more of a tenderness and growing to love one another with Benvolio and Rosaline. They only had a few stolen moments throughout the novel, but still, those moments were very precious.

The ending to the story was predictable, in a sense we already know what happens to Romeo and Juliet, but there's still a good 20% of story to go after we find those two in the tombs. What happens with Benvolio and Rosaline is where Rachel's creativity takes over and a shocking surprise is revealed! This tiny twist is what totally made the story for me, where before I was growing a bit bored with it for awhile since there was a lack of paranormalness or weirdness going on.

This definitely gives you a new look on the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet. It was kind of nice too, to see another story happening amidst this classic tale. Definitely worth a read for all fans of the Romeo and Juliet tragedy and of course Rachel Caine fans!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

Prince of Shadows releases February 4, 2014



  1. I've never heard of this before but it does sound interesting. I like that she took a classic and not only redid it but like you said, wrote it from a different perspective.
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

  2. Oh yay! I love Rachel Caine, but I was really anxious about this one, mainly the execution, but it looks like it was done well. Not so anxious about reading it now, haha. It's great that although it is basically a retelling, that it is from someone else's perspective, and not just about Romeo & Juliet. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

  3. It's great that she can do a good job retelling a classic yet still surprise the reader with her own twist.


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