Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Review: Prince of Shadows

Prince of ShadowsAuthor: Rachel Caine
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: NAL Trade

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 stood in the dark corner of my enemy’s house, and thought of murder.

“Sir Montague,” the taller one said. “You stand in danger here. You’re in Capulet territory, and walking alone. Unwise, sir. Very unwise.”

It was the beginning of the end of the good days.

Any kind of retelling is right up my alley. A Romeo and Juliet retelling is at the top of my list along with my other favorite, Jane Austen retellings. I was a bit hesitant to pick up this book because I have read so many Romeo and Juliet retellings in the past; however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this was Benvolio’s story, Romeo’s cousin. This story painted Benvolio in the limelight and not Romeo; it actually made Romeo out to look like a silly boy with silly fantasies and a knack for finding trouble, which was a new take for me as well. Not only is Benvolio written to be smart and debonair, but he has an alter ego as well: The Prince of Shadows. He steals from the rich and gives to the poor, while pocketing a few trinkets for himself!

This book was everything I hoped for and more. Rachel Caine does an amazing job of making this retelling unique. She still tells the story of Romeo and Juliet, in just the way we all expect, but by telling it from someone else’s perspective she gave herself this new creative license. I have only ever read the story from one of the main character’s perspectives and this was such an interesting change. I felt like I was reading a brand new story, even though Romeo and Juliet is as old as time itself. Benvolio was an impressive character and personally I loved watching him take control of Romeo’s silly antics and boss him around. This book makes Benvolio out to be the hero, and I think it’s about time another character gets the spotlight.

What I loved most about the book was the fact that Caine made this story completely her own but kept parts of the original tale that we all love. The Montagues and the Capulets were already having it out every day in the streets when this book opened up, and Tybalt was already a much hated character whom everyone wanted to fight and destroy. None of this went away and even more was added. Rosaline played more of a role in this story than in the original, and she was just the opposite of Juliet. This book is for everyone who once enjoyed the original tale or any retelling after it!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at NAL Trade in exchange for my honest review***

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