ARC Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

March 6, 2014 Review 36 ★★★½

ARC Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Egmontusa
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 512
Release Date: March 11th 2014
Series: Into the Dark #1
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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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 book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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THE SHADOW PRINCE was a novel I wasn’t entirely sure I’d enjoy. I’d been hearing mostly mixed things so went in with basically no expectations. What I got was sort of what I’d expected: a nice easy paranormal/urban fantasy to read that paralleled those I used to read really well. You know, the special snow flake who has to save the world or something and has abilities they know how to use without ever knowing they even had abilities (yeah, I used to really like those). But there was also more to the book than that.

At 512 pages, THE SHADOW PRINCE is biiig. And it takes a while to get through. For the most part I didn’t mind. Chapters passed quicker than I expected once I got past the introductions and early chapters, but the pace overall is fairly slow. Annnnd not much happens. It’s setting up stuff, introducing the characters and their backgrounds, slowly incorporating the Greek/mythology elements.

The mythology in this isn’t so much Greek as it is based on Greek myths. And it didn’t really play too big a part in the actual story. Sort of. I mean, one of the MCs is one of those mythical creatures, and it was hilarious watching him try to adjust to our modern world. It is through Haden that a lot of our understanding of the book’s world comes. But it’s scattered, with big significant events every now and then with… I can’t even remember what happened in between. Character relationship development? Singing stuff (which is hard/weird to translate in a novel I think. And made me think about High School Musical for some reason. I never even liked High School Musical) I don’t know.

Speaking of MCs, both were quite enjoyable. Haden irritated me a lot at the beginning, but once he got to Earth he was very entertaining and grew on me. So many of his scenes made me laugh as he tried to comprehend the strangeness of humans nowadays. The only thing I probably didn’t like after his douchebaginess at the start was his ability to watch someone do something once or twice and then replicate it perfectly. I WANT THAT ABILITY DAMMIT

Daphne was our other MC and narrator. Our special snow flake that doesn’t know it. Her chapters were the best to read (despite the hilarity of Haden’s). I think I just connected to her better. She’s fully aware of Haden’s stalker qualities and pretty level headed and some of the decisions she makes

Girl has her priorities in order and I approve.

Another thing about this: NO INSTA LOVE. And it totally sounds like a book where there would be intalove, BUT THERE ISN’T. I WAS SO SURPRISED. The characters develop a friendship first, and Haden’s first encounter didn’t leave a good impression with Daphne so I’m glad it took him time to get in her good books. Things only just started to look like it could head into romantic territory right before the end. Where all the exciting stuff happened. And then cliffhanger.

THE SHADOW PRINCE is a book I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It reminds me of the books I used to read years ago, but it’s also so much better. Though it may be long and slow, the chapters passed quickly and the characters were entertaining. AND THE BEST BIT: NO INSTALOVE OR LOVE TRIANGLES (yet, the triangle bit could change). My only real complaints are I wanted more mythology and action to move the plot faster. If you plan on reading it I recommend going in like I did and enjoying the light story with no real expectations of what it will be like.

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Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Overall: 3.4

36 Responses to “ARC Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain”

    • Bec

      To be honest, I got so caught up in reading the thing it flew by faster than you would think.

      I hope you like it when you try it :D Thanks

  1. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    Oh gosh…500+ pages? That scares me. I’m reading one of those right now and, frankly, at 100-pages in I have no idea WHY it needs to be so long. The author is dragging. :( But anyway. I’m not so keen on the special snowflake stories anymore. Dang. They’ve only been done a milllllion times. Daphne sounds awesome though. ;)
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Why Cait Is Unbelievably Jealous of You

    • Bec

      I’m used to BIIIG books. Starting of my big reading phase as a teen with massive Epic adult fantasy makes most book I read now look small XD And I like the time setting up the world & the characters.

      Before this I hadn’t read a special snowflake story in so long. It was kind of good to come back. And Daphne was a pretty awesome snowflake :)

  2. Glass

    I have this ARC too, but I always leave it for later – over 500 pages and Greek mythology doesn’t sound very appealing, but no instalove and triangles are a big plus for me. I’ll probable read it next. So, thank you.:)
    Great review.
    Glass recently posted…Reviving Izabel by J.A Redmerski

    • Bec

      Yeah, it was a really great discovery, not finding any instalove or excessive romance in there. Such a refreshing change.

      No worries! I hope you like it :)

  3. Kezia D

    I started it a while ago but I didn’t enjoy the beginning. I guess it just felt so slow and boring and sleep-inducing that I closed it after 2 chapters in :x Plus this book is HUUUUGE >< I'm so glad that you enjoyed it though! I think I won't continue it but it's nice to hear that there's no insta love. We've had enough of that!
    Kezia D recently posted…[Review] Pivot Point by Kasie West

    • Bec

      Yeah, the first few chapters are meh but it did pick up. It’s a shame you couldn’t stick with it :( It is massive.

  4. Rashika

    *gasp* YOU DIDN’T LIKE HIGH-SCHOOL MUSICAL? Okay so once I grew past the age of 10 I didn’t like it either but still :P

    I don’t like special snowflake female leads though (I did.. like 4 years ago.. but then I became smarter :P)… but if a female lead can identify someone’s stalkery habits and keep a level head, she cannot be all that bad.

    I am glad this book worked for you in spite of the few quirks.

    Great Review, Bec!! :)
    Rashika recently posted…Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

    • Bec

      I typically don’t like most musicals. And I just… never liked HSM. I was forced to watch it once.

      I think it depends on the type of snowflake for me… I don’t read them as much as I used to, but some of them are still good books that just happen to have that prophecy/Chosen One element to it. Daphne wasn’t a terrible one outside those few things.

      Thanks!

  5. Paulina

    OKAY NO DISSING HIGHSCHOOL MUSICAL! I’m 17 and I still love it.
    I haven’t heard of The Shadow Prince and it doesn’t really sound like a book that I would be interested in :( But I’m glad you enjoyed it!
    Paulina @ Tangled In Pages

    • Bec

      I’m not dissing! I’m just saying I never liked it… You can love it all you want XD

      Aw, that’s too bad :(

    • Bec

      Oh yeah, it is. But I go so caught up I barely noticed until I started thinking critically for the review.

      The no instalove was the best surprise. Sort of like that true love twist in Frozen :P

  6. Tanja

    Now this sounds like something I’d love. Damn why didn’t I request the arc. Anyhow I love mythology books and while it seems that this one gets boring at moments, I need to meet that girl. She has her priorities set straight. Praise the lord (your usage of gifs is as always amazing). Great review, Bec :)
    Tanja recently posted…Cover Reveal: A Whispered Darkness by Vanessa Barger

    • Bec

      Ahh hindsight. It’s a wonderful and annoying thing.

      This wasn’t boring so much as not much happened. I was quite happy to keep reading, though the first chapter or two was a bit rocky.

      Thanks!

  7. Kirsty-Marie

    I so wanted to love it, I did, and I love Greek Mythology, (and like you said, this is more based on a Greek Myth) and yeah it was really interesting and the twist with who Daphne was, was great. (Well, I thought so) but, I really, really freaking hate music in books. Not actual real bands or lyrics, or anything like that, but when it’s the made-up-band-name-and-lyrics that tend to annoy me because it’s just slightly cheesy. Besides that, I disliked the characters, I really couldn’t deal with them at all, (I didn’t even really like Daphne, (sorry.) Well, I did in the beginning, but by the end, nope.) The interactions just felt a little forced and awkward to me (even without Haden). I really had high hopes for it, and while it did deliver in some ways, it really disappointed me in others. I think I rated it the same (see, can’t even remember my own rating. Made such an impression on me, this one.) Great review! :)
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Death Sworn

    • Bec

      I’ve never encountered music in books before really, so this was new to me. I don’t even know what music is like in real life… :P

      Don’t apologise! You’re entitle to your opinion. I went in with low hoped and was just looking for something light and not too serious to read, which THE SHADOW PRINCE gave me :)

      Thanks

  8. Anna

    This looks like my type of book! :) I saw another blog do quite a good review of it as well, and after reading your review I’ll be adding it to my TBR list! I’m glad theres no insta-love, but I have to saw… I’m a sucker for love triangles (I can’t help myself!). Also I love greek mythology! It’s always a good day when I find another book I want to read, so thanks!! :D
    Anna recently posted…Review: Until Darkness Comes by Melynda Price

    • Bec

      Hooray!

      Ahaha, you and Alise should talk. She’s a fan of love triangles too. I only like the really good ones where YOU can’t choose because you love everyone involved.

    • Bec

      Thanks! Yeah, cliffhangers are all the rage right now. And I’m a masochist and love them XD

    • Bec

      ahaha it’s great isn’t it XD We need more sensible heroines.

      They’re not even really friends first. Most of the book Haden is trying to get Daphne to at least like him as a friend because he really stuffed up their first meeting and made Daphne think he was a psycho murderer.

      The mythology is still there! And you learn bits and pieces as you read. But it’s not a constant element to the story (that might change with book two).

      Thanks!

    • Bec

      Thanks!

      It is a big positive! The myths it is based on were ones I was unfamiliar with so it was really interesting to read about :)

    • Bec

      Fantasy is my favourite genre :D There’s some amazing ones out there so I hope you find something you enjoy.

      Thanks :)

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