Mar 3, 2014

ARC Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

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.

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 was very happy to receive an ARC of Bree Despain's newest series, Into the Dark! The Shadow Prince is a beautifully written tale with a Greek mythology twist! What more could a girl ask for?

Lately most Greek mythology twisted YA reads deal with the ever popular Persephone myth, Bree does this as well--I think because this is the myth that has a lot to speak of, there's love in it, so it's commonly used in most books--but she takes it a step further and twists the myth of Orpheus. Remember him? He went to the underworld after his wife died and played the lyre, Persephone and Hades were so moved by the music that they allowed him to take his wife with him, but was told to never look back at her. And he doesn't...until the very last second. Bree puts a whole new spin on this myth here and I love what's she done with it!

Hade is an Underlord of the the underworld. Hades himself has long since been dead and Persephone is gone as well. Haden's father is the ruler of the underworld and when the Oracle proclaims that Haden will be the Champion that goes to earth and finds the Boon--their "temporary" Persephone, not everyone accepts it well. There's some bad history centering Haden, in where in his father shunned him for something so trifle. Haden has six months to get Daphne to fall in love with him and willingly come to the underworld with him before six months are up.

Daphne is your typical average girl--typical--but her life gets turned upside down when the father she's only seen four times in all her seventeen years comes to collect her. He's got a court order that says she has to live with him now for some time. Having never left her small hometown, she's both excited and fearful. She's not too keen on living with her father who happens to be a famous rock star, too. She gets to attend an elite private school with a very prestigious music program. Life is heading in the direction she wants it to be, because she wants to sing!

And that's about when Daphne and Haden collide with one another. Haden frightens Daphne at first, because, yeah, he acts a little stalker-y, but he's also very clueless about the human world. Seeing him try to adapt to it was quite entertaining. It's obvious that these two will wind up star-crossed lovers and Haden will do whatever possible to protect her, but there's no insta-love here. Yay! But I also wasn't too pleased with how quickly Daphne's feelings towards Haden change. When they first meet, he appears out of nowhere and is acting strangely, before ending it with "Will you willingly come with me?" and then not too long later, Daphne is finding friendship with him. They spend time together at school a bit and she's no longer afraid. I just thought that fear vanished a little too quickly.

Another thing that miffed me a bit was when Daphne's dad was trying to be a dad. He made some good attempts at trying to establish a father-daughter relationship and she completely rebuffs him. Yet, he was making an effort. It kind of struck a personal note with me, but I won't get into it. Basically, I would not have minded myself if my father would've made that kind of effort. I think I might even have been a little more happy about it. Of course my "daddy issues" are a far cry different from Daphne's. So moving on! :)

There's lots more mystery building up in this one as well! So much that it's hard to describe simply without spoilers. Daphne makes new friends who wind up getting tangled in this web of secrets that seem to be surrounding her. Secrets from her father, secrets from her new friends, even secrets from her old friends and they all tie together. It was done in a nicely roundabout kind of way too, not just for simple convenience.

There wasn't a whole lot of romance going on in this one. Still book one, so that's a good thing. But as I did say, Daphne and Haden do have a connection of sorts and it's obvious that it's going to head in that particular direction. Will there be some obstacles in their way? Definitely! Will some of those be other romantic partners? Who knows! All I know is that I am definitely looking forward to the next book!

This was definitely a worthwhile read! I loved the combined myths of Persephone and Orpheus. These days, it's usually just the Persephone myth getting all the book action, so kudos to Bree for taking it at a different spin!!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars 

Into the Dark: The Shadow Prince releases March 11, 2014


  1. This sounds interesting. I think I would agree with you about the turnaround time when it comes to Daphne's feelings. I like it when it takes the characters a little bit to come together. Great review. I will have to keep my eye out for this one.
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

  2. I'm reading this right now, almost finished in fact, and while I'm really glad you liked it, it is not turning out to be my cuppa :/ I've still got about 20% left though, so maybe it will WOW me. I do really like the Underworld aspect and the opening chapters are fabulous. Great review, Jessica!

  3. great review. I can't wait to read this one myself.


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