Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: The Shadow Prince: Into the Dark by Bree Despain

The Shadow Prince: Into the Dark by Bree Despain
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Publisher: Egmont

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, is 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, Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has bigger dreams 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 know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. 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. As their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

This story started out somewhat slow for me.  I felt like the author could have moved the action along a little bit quicker.  I understand the necessity of showing what the world is like for Haden, as it plays an important part in understanding him, as well as his actions later on.  However, I think it could have been condensed a bit and/or trickled in throughout the novel a bit so that all of that setup wasn't necessary at the book's beginning.  I wanted to get right on with it, but once Haden leaves the Underrealm on his mission, that's when the story really started to take off and pull me in.

I know a lot of other people found Haden to be too arrogant, but honestly, I felt like the author had to show him this way so we, the reader, would appreciate his internal journey into the new person he becomes.  And I didn't exactly see him as arrogant to begin with anyway.  I saw him as a bit entitled because of the fact that he grew up as a prince of the underrealm.  At the same time though, I feel like a lot of that was just postering, because he was fully aware of the fact that people down home did not universally adore him.  I thought his character journey was really interesting and I really loved him as a character.

Daphne got on my nerves a bit at times because she was constantly making unfounded assumptions about Haden being a horrible person.  Granted, his mission is to convince her to come to the Underrealm, but Daphne has no idea about this.  So automatically assuming he's a villain just because he's a little different seemed too extreme a reaction to me.  I didn't feel as sympathetic to her as I'd like, at least first, but I did end up liking her as a character because she was brave.

The story, however, was very interesting and saved it for me since it centers around the Hades and underworld mythology, but told in an entirely new way.  There was a lot of unique new mythology to the story that made a tired tale very new.  The last quarter of the book was action packed and it really came alive.  Some of the choices made by the characters were so brave and selfless that it upped the love for me quite a bit.  The romance wasn't too fast at all, and the writing was very well-paced.  A good first installment to this new series.  Looking forward to the second.

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