Thursday, April 3, 2014

GUEST REVIEW: THE SHADOW PRINCE (Into the Dark, #1) by Bree Despain

Title: The Shadow Prince
Series: Into the Dark, #1
Author: Bree Despain
Publisher: Egmont
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Reviewed by: Ellen Fritz
Ellen’s rating: 5/5


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 absolutely love stories that combine the modern world with mythology and in particular, Greek mythology. As Haden proceeds into the mortal world and specifically, Olympus Hills High, to seduce Daphne Raines, the Hades and Persephone myth seems about to be repeated.

I simply couldn't put The Shadow Prince down. Although comfortably paced, the frequent shifts in point of view between Haden and Daphne move the story along with something exciting to discover in every new chapter. A couple of oracles, a three-headed hell cat posing as a tiny kitty, and an ancient mythological evil are just some of the things that spice up this tale giving it an atmosphere of old-world adventure. As music plays a key role in this book, the Orpheus and Urydice myth is also highlighted. 

The characters are extremely well developed. Daphne Raines is a strong female lead with a healthy sense of responsibility and enough self-confidence when adversity comes her way. Haden, though ambitious, has the ability to feel deeply; something that is not allowed in the Underrealm. This ability to feel, however, might save Daphne from an unimaginable future.

Haden's lack of knowledge of the modern world provides some welcome humor throughout the book. Imagine a completely clueless young man having to get dating advice from the internet! Definitely a recipe for disaster and embarrassment.

The message that is driven home throughout this book is what extent ambitious people will go to to obtain fame and money. With a whole bunch of said ambitious people together in Olympus Hills, it is logical that innocent people are bound to be exploited.

Although this is clearly a young adult book, it is certainly the kind of book that even your grandmother will enjoy. For an enchanting read filled with adventure, action, suspense and a touch of tender romance, as well as some profound wisdom, I highly recommend The Shadow Prince to readers of all ages.



Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, two young sons, and her beloved TiVo. The Dark Divine is Bree's debut novel.

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