Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain


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.

Publication Date: March 11, 2014

The Shadow Prince was a fun and fresh take on the Hades and Persephone myth. I’ve read several retellings of the story that missed the mark for me, but this was one of my favorites. I thought the world building was fun and different and the characters were likable.

Haden has had it tough in the underworld and he’s given a chance at redemption when he’s selected to bring back Daphne as his “boon.” He has six months to convince Daphne he’s not a creepy stalker and have her pass through the gates into the underworld willingly. He has a tough job because Daphne is very independent and has ambitions to become a famous musician.

Haden and Daphne had great chemistry and I liked the awkwardness surrounding their initial meetings. Haden comes off as very Thor-like as he tries to acclimate himself to the customs of modern society. The Shadow Prince was surprisingly funny and I liked the fish out of water scenes with Haden and his friends. The romance between Haden and Daphne developed naturally and I didn’t feel like it was insta-love between the two.

There’s some cheese in The Shadow Prince, but I had just finished an intense book, so I actually dug the corny parts of the story, like the play on the town names to represent mythological places. The high school drama was a little irksome, so I was glad the mean girl stuff was resolved quickly and didn’t become a major part of the story.

There were lots of twists and turns in The Shadow Prince and it was difficult to distinguish between allies and foes. I enjoyed Haden’s character development and that he began thinking for himself instead of trying to appease his tyrannical father. The ending resolved a few conflicts in the book, but left open a few major plot points for the sequel. If you like YA Greek mythology retellings, I’d highly recommend The Shadow Prince.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!


  1. I've been curious about this, but didn't know whether or not I wanted to give it a try. But I love books that involve mythology :) Great review! It sounds really good.

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  2. I just read a take on Persephone myth and enjoyed it and nice to hear about another fresh take even though I don't know a whole lot about the original myth

  3. I do like a good retelling of Greek and Egyptian myths. :) I'm grabbing a sample of this one. Right. Now. Love the review, Heather. Thanks for sharing. WRITE ON!