The Shadow Prince (Into the Dark #1)
This is a very interesting take on mythology and the Persephone myth! I have never read another idea quite like this one!
Haden Lord lives in the Underrealm and has been disgraced by all of his people, even his own father, the king. So it is a surprise for everyone when Haden is chosen as the Champion, whose job is to go to the mortal world and bring back a boon (a girl). As there are no girls born in the Underrealm). But this time is different as Haden has to bring back a specific girl: Daphne Raines. Bringing this girl back could mean the future of the Underrealm, and bring back Haden's honor.
Daphne Raines has lived in a small town all her life and has never been allowed to leave it (thanks to her mother). Then, her famous father that she never knew shows up, proclaiming that Daphne has to live with him. She moves to a whole other town and into an arts school. But things get odd when mysterious murders occur and she suspects that another new student has something to do with it.
My favorite thing about this book is the awesome world-building and ideas. I also mentioned a few of them in my little mini-summary, but there is so much more involved in this book. Overall, all the the ideas are completely unique and the way they were used in this book was very well done!
This book was told in alternating point of view from both Haden and Daphne. Haden is basically Zuko (from Avatar: The Last Airbender, for those who don't know). He did something as a child that everyone basically judges him for, so he does everything he can to restore his honor, to no avail. He sees being the Champion as his opportunity. I felt a bit sorry for him and hated how much those of the Underrealm treated him. Especially since he shouldn't have to regret what he did (I will not say what he did exactly, as that would be a spoiler). It was very interesting to see him in the mortal world, as he had no idea how to be mortal and what many objects were. As he didn't know how to act, he did act like a jerk at times, though mostly because he isn't really used to the way humans act.
Daphne is a pretty average YA main character. There's not much I can really say about her. She has the usual YA story. It really bothered me that she was just so perfect and I couldn't quite understand why she left with her dad that she didn't know (I know her dad has legal paperwork, but I kind of wish she would have fought more). Overall, she is an okay character.
The romance wasn't bad. I, again, can't say much on it. Not because of spoiler, but because of how I just don't have very many feeling towards it. Did I want them to be together? Sure, but this isn't a new romance. I've read many books with very similar romances, so it didn't wow me.
Overall, this was a very interesting take on mythology and the ideas were so unique! The main girl character and the romance are the usual for YA, but they still worked with the book. As for the sequel, I am definitely planning on reading it!
At first I was really into the book, then I tapered off a little, but then by the end I was so completely absorbed I wanted to read it again….the same day I finished. I loved the plot and the incorporation of the Greek myths. I thought the concept that Bree Despain comes up with is very unique and creative. I also liked how even though it was a dual point of view. I really felt like it was Haden’s story. Yes of course Daphne’s parts are important but it really felt like he was the character developing the most and it felt so refreshing. I was adored the side characters both good and bad.
I had a weird kind of love for Haden. Weird being he kind of comes off as a bit of jerk but at the same time there is innocence about him. He lives in a cut throat world that is really looking to cut his particular throat. He wants to prove himself but is impulsive and gets carried away. He has kind of entitled issue that has been bred into him. The thing that makes him different then the rest of the underlords though is he has conscious that comes out the more you read. So for some reason I formed a fondness for him. He wants to be heartless but he just can’t and as the story progresses I fall more and more in love with him. He is definitely boyfriend book material.
Daphne annoyed me in the beginning. I had trouble connecting with her from some reason. I kind of felt like she was a brat. I seemed to like her more when she was by herself rather than interacting other people. She is very judgemental and it bugged when she would say things about Tobin like, I guess i don’t really know him... you’ve known him for a week!!! I kept telling myself it was her situation and she would grow on me. Which she did about halfway through the book. The more she interacted with Haden the more I liked her and the more I understood her. She is one pretty tough girl and I think that her toughness was just coming through to me the wrong way. So by the end I was invested in her character.
Lexie, Tobin, Simon, Garrick, Joe, Dax and even Brim. There are a lot of important side characters and I loved how they added to the book. I admit while some I love other I couldn’t stand.Tobin completely annoys me. Especially when he goes off on Haden. I wanted to be like hello Daphne you should be pissed that this crazy guy is possessive over you even though you’ve known him, what one day. Oh wait maybe 3 even though you didn’t talk to him on the weekend. I could probably go on about my dislike of Tobin but I won’t. Simon is properly creepy for a sort of badish guy. There are moments I almost feel bad for Joe. Lexie is pretty awesome, I love when mean girl joins the band of merry men. Garrick, well, I don’t like him. I save the best for last. Dax. I loved the part he had in the story, I want to hang out with him. the awesome bromance between Haden and him kept me invested in the book. When Dax’s story finally comes out I love him even more.
I absolutely can not wait for book two and it’s epic awesomeness. The romance is very light in book one because it’s developing. Yes my friends DEVELOPING how crazy is that. I have a feeling that things are going to start moving and shaking in book two on that front. I can’t wait to see where it goes. I also can not wait to see how the story progresses. Big things are revealed towards the end and I wouldn’t say you’re left on a cliffhanger because you’re not I just want to keep reading!
So let’s say great plot, great side characters and a great male lead. I will admit I felt a little sluggish at one point in the book but I was quickly resucked in. Even with my early issues in Daphne I would say to definitely pick up the book. If you are Greek mythology lover like I am you most certainly like this take.
The construct of the world is very interesting – we have the Underrealm, which is basically Hades, filled with all these vicious nobles and lords who consider emotion very degrading. Humanity is basically frowned upon there and Haden grows up with the disapproval of the entire Court. They are eager for war with the Skylords, their enemies – and consider Orpheus the Traitor because of his role in sealing off the Underrealm. In the Overrealm, Olympic Hills seems like a paradise but a lot of secrets lurk in the town. A string of accidental deaths right after Haden’s entry makes matters very complicated, with Daphne outright suspicious of him in the start. As the story progresses, she starts to warm up to him and they become friends. He is essentially wooing her but then starts to fall for her. The romance is very subtle, and hardly overwhelms the main plot, that is, Daphne’s role as the Cypher and how Haden is tied into her destiny. In fact, I loved the fact for how simple their relationship is – and even if Haden comes off as boorish (a la Thor) and pirate-like to her, he starts to mellow himself to let their friendship grow. It’s not all soulful gazing and all – it is how they understand each other’s pain and lend support to the other. Despain’s writing of Haden was also quite good – the book is a dual POV, so it is quite entertaining to get into Haden’s head too. He is cute, with all the Googling and Youtubing about how to do different things in the Overrealm. Daphne is a smart, strong, independent and goal-oriented girl – she doesn’t believe in destiny and tries to find a way to shrug off the responsibility that Haden says she will have to assume. As for the writing, it was splendid – I was engrossed throughout and loved how the Greek myths were incorporated into it. The Hades-Persephone and Orpheus-Eurydice tales were more like extended into this story, and it echoes even in the title of the series. That one was a goosebumps moment, by the way, and you will have to read it to feel it. Overall, I enjoyed the story immensely and with that amazing ending (without a cliffhanger), I am already in love and eager to see how the series progresses, for their is so much potential in the story. Another great work from Bree Despain!