Title: Prince of Shadows: A Novel of Romeo and Juliet
Author: Rachel Caine
Release Date: February 4th, 2014
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Genre: Re-telling | Romance
Read: from January 16 to 26, 2014
Source & Shelf: Edelweiss | Kobo
ISBN: 9780451414410 (Hardcover)
Challenge: NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge
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.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Prince of Shadows follows the story of Benvolio Montague who is Romeo’s cousin during the day and a thief known as Prince of Shadows in the night. One night he enters Rosaline Capulet’s bedroom and his life turns upside down. Not only is Romeo madly in love with Rosaline but the battle between the two houses is getting dangerous.
This was a nice re-telling of Romeo and Juliet without these two being the main love interest. I enjoyed the fact that the main couple was Benvolio and Rosaline – even though their romance grows slowly in the book (slow but rational) – two characters that in the original story are kind of forgotten.
I read Romeo and Juliet a long time ago and remember having a really hard time with the English – as a foreign person, the old Shakespearean style can be quite difficult. And I clearly remember enjoying it a lot.
And Prince of Shadows follows the exactly same style though carefully written without being too difficult for foreign people – like me. The dialogues had this musicality to them reminiscent of Shakespeare’s own style. I absolutely adored the descriptions, the dialogues and the way the story was told by Benvolio.
I only have two negative points in the story: the curse and the ending.
It took quite a long time for the concept of “curse” to even be mentioned in the story. At first you think this is a normal romance without anything beyond that with a twist of fate. But it has a small supernatural element to it that can’t be ignored and that is the curse that Mercutio casts. It starts as something small, nothing too much but then it gets stronger and daring. It transforms into something powerful that both Benvolio and Rosaline can’t escape and it can be fatal.
After the whole “battle” between Montagues and Capulets after Romeo’s and Juliet’s death and Benvolio and Rosaline attempt to stop the curse, I felt the ending as something sudden and anti-climax.
The characters were amazing, especially Benvolio. His character made the book interesting, kept a nice and easy pace and was a character that felt so human and so plausible I completely forgot that Romeo used to be the main one in the Shakespearean love-story.
I also enjoyed the fact that Rachel Caine took some liberties and created a whole new and fresh story. She kept faithful enough to the original but at the same time wrote something unique.