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I Belong

Early Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

The Shadow PrinceTitle: The Shadow Prince

Author: Bree Despain

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Into the Dark (Book #1)

Publication Date: March 11, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 512 Pages

ISBN-10: 1606842471 (EgmontUSA)

ISBN-13: 978-1606842478 (EgmontUSA)

Reviewed by: Bridget


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.

Quick & Dirty: Wonderfully woven story with interesting characters, captivating mythology, and action-packed adventure. This is a unique retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth and it was written beautifully!

Opening Sentence: I did the unforgivable the day my mother died, and for that I’ve been punished every moment of my life.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Haden Lord has spent most of his life as the disgraced child of the king of the Underrealm. When his mother died he did something unforgiveable and his father disowned him. Now years later he wants nothing more than to redeem himself in the eyes of the court and to gain his father’s favor once more. Every year there is a champion chosen to enter the mortal realm and bring back a boon to help populate the Underrealm, but this year the stakes are even higher. The chosen boon for this year is the girl that can restore order and immorality to Haden’s race. An Oracle is brought to choose the champion and Haden is chosen. He has to venture to the surface where he has six months to bring back Daphne Raines, the girl that will change everything. She has to choose to come of her own free will and somehow Haden has to convince this strong willed girl to give up everything and follow him home.

Daphne has always had big dreams to leave the tiny town of Ellis, Utah and pursue a career in music. But she has a very overprotective and stubborn mother that never lets her go anywhere. As luck would have it, her long time absent father appears on her doorstep with a court order saying that she is to go and live with him. Daphne’s father happens to be a world famous rock star and he has gotten her into a very prestigious school with a renowned music program. Daphne jumps at the opportunity to finally start living her life, but once she moves to the strange private community of Olympus Hills she isn’t so sure she made the right choice in leaving home. Daphne has never believed in fate, but when strange things start to happen and Haden Lord enters her life she starts to wonder if there is such a thing as destiny.

Haden is a beautiful boy who is very broken. He has been shunned for most of his life and it has made him bitter. He can’t believe that he is lucky enough to possibly get a second chance to redeem himself, but once he enters the human world he realizes that everything he was taught was wrong. In the Underrealm it is considered a weakness to show emotions and music has been outlawed. When he hears music for the first time it stirs so many emotions inside him that he doesn’t know what to think. Torn between living the life he always thought he wanted and becoming the man he has always feared he would become. I thought that Haden was a very intriguing character and he was easy to swoon over. With his dark eyes and stunning body he is a looker, but his awkward moments and brooding personality totally won me over. I thought that he was the perfect hero and I can’t wait to see where his journey goes from here.

Daphne has so many great qualities. Growing up in a small community taught her to appreciate people and to not take things for granted. But she has always felt that she was different than everyone else. She has an amazing connection with music and a spectacular voice. Everyone has their own song and Daphne can hear them when no one else can, she knows it’s not normal but she has always been that way. Daphne is sweet, beautiful, and confident, but she also has a feisty personality as well. She doesn’t let what other people think about her bother her, and she is always humble about her amazing talent. I thought that she was very easy to connect with and I loved being inside her head.

The Shadow Prince was full of wonderful characters, interesting mythology, and action-packed adventure. When I read the synopsis of this book, I was instantly intrigued because I love the Persephone and Hades myth. But there have been a lot of retellings of it recently, so I was interested to see if Despain could bring her own unique spin to the tale and I am happy to announce that she did. The world she created was captivating and I loved how she intertwined music into everything. Music has a wonderful way of bringing out emotions in people and Despain really used that to her advantage in this beautifully woven tale of love and destiny. My one complaint is that this was a fairly long book and at times it did drag a little for me. But with the mystery and tension that filled the pages, I found that even though there were times I got a little board, it would pick back up quickly and I would be fully engrossed in the story once again. I completely fell in love the story and I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on the next book. I think this was a great start to what is hopefully going to be a wonderful series. I would highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys a good YA paranormal read with lots of fascinating mythology weaved into it.

Notable Scene:

There I see a young female, sitting against a strangely shaped tree. She cradles a large object on her knees, and strums the strings that stretch from its wide base up a long wooden neck. The object reminds of the pictographs I often pass in the murals that cover the walls of the palace. It vaguely resembles a lyre—the great weapon the Traitor had used to deceive Hades all those centuries ago. But the object the girl holds does not seem like a weapon. Her picking and strumming the strings are what create the reverberating sound. I remove my sunglasses to be able to see her better in the shady grove, and I watch, curious, as she opens her mouth and starts to speak.

No, not quite speaking. Her voice sounds different from that. Her words are drawn out, ebbing and flowing at times and flitting at others, blending with the sounds that come from her strumming. It grows in intensity, swirling around the grove and washing over me. It pulls at me, evoking something I have not felt since I was in the presence of the Oracle: the feeling of wonder.

When the girl stops speaking and the sound dies away, a gasp slips out of my lips.

She stands, her abruptness making it clear that I have given myself away.

Into the Dark Series:

1. The Shadow Prince


FTC Advisory: EgmontUSA provided me with a copy of The Shadow Prince. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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2 Responses to “Early Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

  1. Melinda Jane HarrisonNo Gravatar

    I’ve been waiting for someone to review this book as it’s on my watch list. Thanks. What a great review. I just pre-ordered it. This is one of my favorite myths to retell.

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  2. BridgetNo Gravatar
    Author Comment

    I think you will really enjoy it. Despain does a great job putting her own unique spin to the myth :)!!!

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