Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine #BookReview #YA

 

princeofshadowsTitle: Prince of Shadows
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Publication Details: February 4th 2014 by Allison & Busby
Genre(s): YA; Retellings
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from the library.

Goodreads 

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From the author of the bestselling Morganville Vampires series comes an exciting retelling of the classic love story, Romeo and Juliet.

‘A plague! A plague on both your houses!’

In the Houses of Montague and Capulet, there is only one goal: power. The boys are born to fight and die for honor and – if they survive – marry for influence and money, not love. The girls are assets, to be spent wisely. Their wishes are of no import. Their fates are written on the day they are born.

Benvolio Montague, cousin to Romeo, knows all this. He expects to die for his cousin, for his house, but a spark of rebellion still lives inside him. At night, he is the Prince of Shadows, the greatest thief in Verona – and he risks all as he steals from House Capulet. In doing so, he sets eyes on convent-bound Rosaline, and a terrible curse begins that will claim the lives of many in Verona.

Review

I have to say I was pretty sceptical going into this but I was intrigued regardless. Having read Caine’s Morganville Vampire series (or most of them at least), I was pretty shocked to find this in the library. A Shakespeare retelling, really? Hmm…

You can’t help but love the tale of the two doomed lovers, right? And you know what, this wasn’t a bad retelling. It’s told from Benvolio’s POV, who is forcibly entrusted to keep his cousin and Capulet heir, Romeo, on the straight and narrow. But that pesky boy has a habit of getting into serious trouble and falling in love with all the wrong girls. Then there’s his bff Mercutio with his own doomed love Tomasso, both of whom will be killed if discovered. Poor Benvolio has got a lot on his plate!

On one hand I really enjoyed this book. I liked reading from Benvolio’s point of view. It was an action-packed, fun retelling with a modern twist. The pages flew by. But on the other hand I did find myself cringing a lot. ‘Shakespeare turning in his grave’ was a phrase which often sprang to mind. But I guess there would be no point in retelling it without a new spin on the traditional.

I felt like the whole business with the curse was a double-edged sword. It made the story new and fresh, and Caine does paranormal very well, such is her remit! But for me, it meant that the story lost all its romance. Which is surely the point of any Romeo & Juliet story?

I really respect Rachel Caine for taking on such an iconic story and introducing a fantasy element. It’s a pretty bold move, and I think it mostly worked. Her writing is always so readable. Not one for the purists though, obviously.

unicorn rating 3

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Top Ten Tuesday: If you really loved me… #TTT #WishlistBooks

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is… Top Ten Tuesday REWIND — go back and do a topic you missed over the years or recently or a topic you really want to revisit.

I’m pretty pleased with this topic because I missed last week’s and really wanted to do it. Therefore (even though it will make me cry because of all the pretty books out of my price range) I’m doing: Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card.

  1. The whole collection of Penguin’s Clothbound Classics. I have one so far (Alice in Wonderland). Must try harder! £20 each
  2. David Bowie Is: Companion to the V&A Exhibition ❤ £35
  3. Peter Pan: Yes I already own two different copies of this…but this new one looks so pretty and has interactive illustrations (almost a pop-up but not quite). £25
  4. The Chronicles of Narnia: My set is one of the standard paperback ones, but I want a nice version like this sooooo bad! £75 ish
  5. Red Queen Hardback Book Set: This isn’t out until Oct 25th, and I have Red Queen in hardback already, but Glass Sword in paperback…which is irritating…£29

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  6. Canterbury Classics Leather-bound set: So, so pretty! £105
  7. Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Visual History: Omg I need this so bad. It’s also not out until Oct. I think it will be the first thing on my Christmas list 🙂 £30 (and while we’re at it I’d like the novelisation too but can’t find it anywhere – not the original version anyway).
  8. The Gormenghast Trilogy (Folio Society edition): Need I say anything? £30
  9. The Raven Pop-Up Book: I didn’t know this existed until, well, just, but now I NEED IT! £25
  10. The Compact Oxford English Dictionary: Yep, I’m totally channelling Rory Gilmore here…but who DOESN’T want this beauty!? £260

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I really could have carried on FOREVER!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

The topic for this week is: Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read

A lot of these are for similar reasons! In no particular order…

Harry Potter 

Yes, yes I know. I was tempted to leave this off the list because of the abuse/ ‘omigodyouhaventreadpotter’ reaction it inevitably invokes. But no, I’ve never read any Harry Potter. It wasn’t a conscious decision I made I just never fancied it, and when the films came out I wasn’t that taken with them either.

I have no idea why as the sort of thing I usually like. Maybe i’m just being contrary, I don’t know. But if I haven’t read them by now, I doubt I ever will. So please don’t bother to try and convince me 😉

Game of Thrones

I wish I’d read these before I started to watch the series, but seeing as I didn’t, I doubt I ever will. The books sound pretty epic, but I think I’d find the overly descriptive style and the length of them annoying. I’ll stick with the show, thanks.

Outlander

I’m not as sure about this one. I do really want to read this series but the size of them puts me off. I haven’t watched the TV program yet, but I might just watch it instead. A cop-out I know.

The rest of The Maze Runner books

I made the mistake of watching the film before I read the book. I really liked the film, much more than I was expecting to, and I didn’t like the book much at all, so I think I’ll stick with the films…assuming they continue…

If I Stay/ Gone Girl

I’ll never read either of these for almost the same reason. I saw the film adaptations first and don’t feel the need to read the books. In the case of If I Stay, I was pleasantly surprised by the film and enjoyed it a lot. With Gone Girl…ack..it had its moments but man it was long, and the twist was obvious. I don’t see the point in reading the book now.

Various Classics

There’s a lot of classics I’ll probably never touch. I avoided most of the required reading at school (such a rebel), because I just found a lot of them dull, with a few exceptions. I’m mainly thinking about the Brontes, Austen, and Dickens here. They are obviously great stories, but the style isn’t for me. If I’m reading for pleasure, I want it to be just that!

That’s all I’ve got this week. I look forward to checking out what made everyone else’s lists later. Feel free to leave a link 🙂

Lipsyy Lost & Found Vintage Book Shop Update

As promised, I’m dedicating some posts to all the goings on in my Etsy vintage book shop. Because we all love vintage books, right!?

I’ve pretty much neglected my Esty shop for two months and didn’t add any stock or promote it in any way (who’s got time for that when there’s reading to be done), but I didn’t stop buying vintage books, of course! So when two of my items sold, it gave me a kick up the bum to get some more added this week.

I still have so many books to clean up, photograph and add, but I’m getting there slowly. I think I’ll add another five or so in the next few week and hopefully run a bank holiday sale at the end of May. Watch this space!

Anyway, here’s what’s happened since my last shop post.

[Click on the book titles to view in the shop]

Items Sold:

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Oddly enough, the only two books I actually managed to add in the last two months, were the two that sold, to the same customer. Yay!

Le Petite Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1951 (in French, illustrated).

The Complete Plays of Bernard Shaw, 1937

 

Items Added:

The Letters of Junius, 1890

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This book just screams antique. It’s got the gold gilt lettering and ragged pages…and let’s not even get started on the smell!

I don’t know much about this book, other than what I read on Wiki (“a collection of private and open letters from an anonymous polemicist Junius, as well as other letters in-reply from people to whom Junius had written between 1769 and 1772”) so I’m hoping it will tickle someone’s fancy.

 

The Painting of L.S Lowry by Mervyn Levy, 1979

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This is a lovely collection of Lowry’s oil and watercolour paintings.

Lowry was an English artist born in Stretford, Lancashire, famous for painting scenes of life in the industrial districts of North West England during the mid-20th century.

I’m sure someone will snap this up soon, it’s in great condition.

 

My Life by Debbie Reynolds, 1989

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I’m not sure if this will be popular, but I love the pure 80s cover! I’m hoping with the new Star Wars film being a hot topic atm that people will be interested in the life of Carrie Fisher’s mum, no?

 

Most Popular:

Best Loved Books – Reader’s Digest, 1980

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This book has had the most views and favourites over the last few months, but has yet to sell. C’mon people, it’s four books in one!

 

If you have an Etsy store, link me and I’ll follow you 🙂

Coming Up!

This month I’m going to be concentrating on books I’ve had on my TBR for quite some time. I decided that for a few reasons; firstly, I don’t have ANY ARC deadlines this month – for like the first time ever (woooo me!); and secondly, I’m well and truly failing at the TBR Pile Challenge that I signed up for at the beginning of the year.

It’s my own fault because I set a rule for myself that I’d only count the books that had been on my TBR shelf for over 4 months, in an attempt to read all of those books I’ve had forever (some up to 5 years!) but haven’t got round to yet. Well, that obviously didn’t happen because I kept buying new books and adding them to the pile and obviously reading them before the older ones. Sigh.

So, in a last attempt to get my TBR pile down, I am dedicating the rest of the month, and some of August to those dust-gathering TBR Pile books.

Here’s what you can expect to see on Lipsyy Lost & Found in the next month or so. Click on the image to go to the Goodreads page.

The Princess Bride – William Goldman

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Released: October 20th 1999 by Bloomsbury (first published 1973)
Genre(s): Classics; Fantasy; Adventure
Time on TBR Pile: About 1 year

A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts – The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic.

As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she’ll meet Vizzini – the criminal philosopher who’ll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik – the gentle giant; Inigo – the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen – the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.

The Foreshadowing – Marcus Sedgwick

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Released: May 23rd 2006 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published 2005)
Genre(s): Young Adult; Historical Fiction; Fantasy
Time on TBR Pile: Over 1 year, maybe 2.

It is 1915 and the First World War has only just begun.

17 year old Sasha is a well-to-do, sheltered-English girl. Just as her brother Thomas longs to be a doctor, she wants to nurse, yet girls of her class don’t do that kind of work. But as the war begins and the hospitals fill with young soldiers, she gets a chance to help. But working in the hospital confirms what Sasha has suspected–she can see when someone is going to die. Her premonitions show her the brutal horrors on the battlefields of the Somme, and the faces of the soldiers who will die. And one of them is her brother Thomas.

Pretending to be a real nurse, Sasha goes behind the front lines searching for Thomas, risking her own life as she races to find him, and somehow prevent his death.

The Assassin’s Blade – Sarah J.Maas

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Released: March 4th 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre(s): Young Adult; Fantasy
Time on TBR Pile: Since its release, 4 months.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides

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Released: September 16th 2003 by Picador (first published 2002)
Genre(s): Contemporary
Time on TBR Pile: About FIVE years!

“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license…records my first name simply as Cal.”

So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of 1967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

Godmother – Caroline Turgeon

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Released: 2009
Genre(s): YA; Fairy Tale Retellings
Time on TBR Pile: 5 months

Lil is an old woman who spends her days shelving rare books in a tiny Manhattan bookstore and lonely nights at home in her apartment. But Lil has an intriguing secret. Tucked and bound behind her back are white feathery wings–the only key to who she once was: the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball to unite with her Prince Charming.

But on that fateful night, something went terribly and beautifully wrong. Lil allowed herself the unthinkable: to feel the emotions of human beings and fall in love with the prince herself, going to the ball in place of Cinderella in her exquisitely gorgeous human guise. For her unforgivable mistake, she was banished to live among humans, far from her fairy sisters and their magical underwater world. But then one day she meets Veronica–a young, fair-skinned, flame-haired East Village beauty with a love of all things vintage and a penchant for falling in love with the wrong men–and suddenly it becomes clear to Lil that she’s been given a chance at redemption. If she can find a soul mate for Veronica, she may right her wrong and return to the fairy world she so deeply longs for. . . .

The Little White Horse – Elizabeth Goudge

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Released: December 31st 2001 by Puffin (first published 1946)
Genre(s): Classics; Children’s Fiction
Time on TBR Pile: About 1 year

A new-fashioned story that is as wonderful as the best fairy tales

When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she’s entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort—a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it—and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?