Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Shadow Prince (Into the Dark #1) by Bree Despain: review

Goodreads rating: 3.84
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by EgmontUSA
Series: Into the Dark #1
Source: for review/won/signed by the author
Genre: YA paranormal

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.

INITIAL THOUGHTS: I think my main problem with this one is that the writing style isn't up to par with current YA novels. I love the story and the unique use of Greek mythology, but it was hard to get past the awkward moments in the writing style. Still, a very promising start to a high-stakes YA series!

This will likely be a short review because, honestly, the story wasn't super-memorable. I remember loving her first series when I first read Bree Despain. When werewolves were the thing, I really enjoyed that series, and now that mythology is making a comeback, I felt like Despain was just following the pack. Greek mythology is SO overused, and especially in twisting the story of Hades and Persephone. A couple examples of this exact story is The Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter and the Everneath series by Brodi Ashton. All three of these books are literally about the same two characters. Anyway, not the point. The other thing I mentioned above that bothered me was that the writing is just not as good as I remember it, and I think it's because, since I read her first series, the bar for writing style in YA has been significantly raised.

I wasn't really into Haden. It felt like he should've been a tougher character. And I didn't really connect with Daphne either. I think that has something to do with the writing style again; it's hard to make a character likable when the dialogue is a little off word-wise. I wish I remembered more about this book. I remember the ending being a little crazy and cliffhanger-y. While this wasn't my favorite book, I'm hoping the author and editor have learned from current YA lit and have improved her writing style somehow. Still, I'll eventually get to the sequel.

YA readers who love YA paranormal with Greek mythology.

Everneath trilogy by Brodi Ashton
The Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter
Falling Under duology by Gwen Hayes

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