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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This Month in Books: August 2017 #TMIB #MonthlyRoundup

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August. What happened in August? I went to a few excellent birthday parties including my Dad’s 70th but other than that I’m drawing a blank. LOL. I’m so over the Summertime now and I’m already looking forward to Winter! I plan on started my annual hibernation ASAP. 😉

August 2017 Stats

Total Posts: 14 (+7 from previous month)

Books Read: 6 (=)
Spectacles ~ Sue Perkins
Klaus Vogel and the Bad Lads ~ David McAlmond
The Way it Hurt ~ Patty Blount (DNF)
Retribution Rails ~ Erin Bowman
The Ice Dragon ~ George R.R Martin
Prince of Shadows ~ Rachel Caine

The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (3/6); Fantasy (1/6); Non-Fiction (1/6); Children’s (2/6)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (2/6); Digital (2/6); Hardback (1/6); Paperback (3/6) // Owned (1/6); Borrowed (3/6); For Review/proofs (2/6)

Most Surprising: Spectacles
Most Disappointing: The Way it Hurts
Most Exciting: Retribution Rails
Most Swoon-worthy: Retribution Rails
Most Beautifully Written: Prince of Shadows

Reviews

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Book Promo: Manipulated Lives by H.A Leuschel
  2. Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books of 2017 (so far)
  3. This Week in Books 09.08.17

Promos, Guest Posts & Other Highlights

Awards

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TBR Shelf Update

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Last year I decided I HAD to do something about my physical TBR shelves. Each month I’ll be doing a quick update to see how I’ve done. See my original post here, and my updated TBR list here. 

Previous TBR Count: 82

Books Added: 4

Books Read: 1

Remaining: 85

That was my month, how was yours?

Look out for my reading round-up next week!

This Week in Books 30.08.2017 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Hi everyone, happy Wednesday. I didn’t get much reading done at the weekend as I was at home celebrating my Dad’s birthday, but a good time was had by all. So I’m afraid my Now, Then & Next answers are the same!

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Now: The Last Dog on Earth ~ Adrian J. Walker

I did manage to read most of this on the train and  I’m almost done. It’s surpassed my expectations…it’s really funny (and naughty!).

Every dog has its day…

And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can be.

Reg, an agoraphobic writer with an obsession for nineties football, plans to wait out the impending doom in his second floor flat, hiding himself away from the riots outside.

But when an abandoned orphan shows up in the stairwell of their building, Reg and Lineker must brave the outside in order to save not only the child, but themselves…

 

Then:  Prince of Shadows ~ Rachel Caine //  The Ice Dragon ~ George R.R Martin

I enjoyed both of these. I need to catch up on reviews this week!

Next: ??? Probably Weycombe ~ G.M Malliet

Weycombe is the chocolate-box village of everyone’s dreams. For American Jillian White, a gated life of pleasure and comfort with her titled English husband was a fantasy come true.

But the murder of a local estate agent mars the village’s so-pretty surface. Are people actually dying to live in Weycombe? Jill investigates, piecing together clues along the snaking paths and winding lanes of her adopted village. She knows truth has many versions, depending on who is doing the telling. And that few can be trusted in Weycombe, where nothing is as perfect as it seems. 

New on the Shelves

Bought: I spotted this in Asda over the weekend and couldn’t resist…I’ve heard great things about it.

darkmatterA mindbending, relentlessly surprising thriller from the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy 

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined–one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human–a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of. 

I’m Waiting On…

 

Miles Away from You, because…it sounds like an important read. And Iceland ❤ ! I’m not sure about the style though – could be hit or miss for me.

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It’s been three years since Miles fell for Vivian, a talented and dazzling transgender girl. Eighteen months since a suicide attempt left Vivian on life support. Now Miles isn’t sure who he is without her, but knows it’s time to figure out how to say goodbye.

He books a solo trip to Iceland but then has a hard time leaving the refuge of his hotel room. After a little push from Óskar, a local who is equal parts endearing and aloof, Miles decides to honor Vivian’s life by photographing her treasured Doc Martens standing empty against the surreal landscapes. With each step he takes, Miles finds his heart healing—even as he must accept that Vivian, still in a coma, will never recover.

Told through a series of instant messages to Vivian, this quirky and completely fresh novel explores love, loss, and the drastic distances we sometimes have to travel in order to move on.

Expected Publication: March 20th 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers

 

So that was my week in books, how was yours? If you’re participating feel free to leave your link in the comments so everyone can take a look!

This Week in Books 23.08.17 #TWIB

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Happy Wednesday blogfriends! I’m excited this week because I’ve only got one more day of work and then I go home for a lonnnng weekend to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday. SEVENTY! 😮

Let’s see what books have been doing the rounds this week…

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Now: The Last Dog on Earth ~ Adrian J. Walker

Nothing to report yet as I’m only a few pages in.

Every dog has its day…

And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can be.

Reg, an agoraphobic writer with an obsession for nineties football, plans to wait out the impending doom in his second floor flat, hiding himself away from the riots outside.

But when an abandoned orphan shows up in the stairwell of their building, Reg and Lineker must brave the outside in order to save not only the child, but themselves…

 

Then:  Prince of Shadows ~ Rachel Caine //  The Ice Dragon ~ George R.R Martin

I enjoyed both of these. The Rachel Caine book really made want to watch Baz Lurhman’s R&J again. It’s been a few years!

 

Next: ??? Probably Weycombe ~ G.M Malliet

Weycombe is the chocolate-box village of everyone’s dreams. For American Jillian White, a gated life of pleasure and comfort with her titled English husband was a fantasy come true.

But the murder of a local estate agent mars the village’s so-pretty surface. Are people actually dying to live in Weycombe? Jill investigates, piecing together clues along the snaking paths and winding lanes of her adopted village. She knows truth has many versions, depending on who is doing the telling. And that few can be trusted in Weycombe, where nothing is as perfect as it seems. 

New on the Shelves

Borrowed: Aren’t book-loving friends the best!?

killingthedeadSet in a girls’ boarding school in Massachusetts a haunting and sinister story YA story for World Book Day from prize-winning author Marcus Sedgwick. 

1963. Foxgrove School near Stockbridge, Massachusetts. One of the oldest and finest academies in the country – but what really goes on behind closed doors? Nathaniel Drake, the new young English teacher, Isobel Milewski, the quiet girl who loved to draw spirals, her fingers stained with green ink, Jack Lewis, who lent Isobel books – just words, just ink on paper, Margot Leya, the girl with those eyes – who are they, what part have they played in killing the dead? 

 

Netgalley: This will be a #Horroroctober read so I was pleased to be approved for it.

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When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they’re not going back to the city…or Seda’s friends and school. 


As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.

Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

I’m Waiting On…

 

Gunslinger Girl, because…Hello, just look at it! having just finished the excellent Retribution Rails, I’m gagging for more YA Wild West. Does anyone else think it’s going to be the next big YA trend? I just hope it’s not done to death like dystopian was.

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James Patterson presents a bold new heroine–a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow’s West. 

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great….

In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.  

Expected Publication: January 2nd 2018 by jimmy patterson

 

So that was my week in books, how was yours? If you’re participating feel free to leave your link in the comments so everyone can take a look!

This Week in Books 16.08.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Wow, Wednesday again! Let’s see what books have been doing the rounds this week…

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Now: Prince of Shadows ~ Rachel Caine //  The Ice Dragon ~ George R.R Martin

I’d been eyeing Prince of Shadows in my library for a while and finally picked it up during a lunch break last week. Enjoying it so far, but early days. I also started The Ice Dragon, which is a beautifully illustrated book by the Game of Thrones author, for younger readers. I found it in a charity shop last week.

Synopses (from Goodreads):

 Prince of Shadows

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…

… And will rewrite all their fates, forever.

The Ice Dragon

From ancient times the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child — and the ice dragon who loved her — could save her world from utter destruction.

Then:  Retribution Rails ~ Erin Bowman 

As expected, this was a great read. Fun and fast, and something different from a lot of the YA out there.

Synopsis:

REDEMPTION IS NEVER FREE…


When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece’s path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

In this thrilling companion to Vengeance Road, dangerous alliances are formed, old friends meet new enemies, and the West is wilder than ever. 

 

Next: ??? Definitely The Last Dog on Earth .

Synopsis:

Every dog has its day…

And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can be.

Reg, an agoraphobic writer with an obsession for nineties football, plans to wait out the impending doom in his second floor flat, hiding himself away from the riots outside.

But when an abandoned orphan shows up in the stairwell of their building, Reg and Lineker must brave the outside in order to save not only the child, but themselves…

New on the Shelves

Bought: Got a few more excellent charity shop finds last week…

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Netgalley: Continuing my ‘read more NF’ target, I requested this. I also thought it would be a good one for Horror October!

thewitchWhy have societies all across the world feared witchcraft? This book delves deeply into its context, beliefs, and origins in Europe’s history

The witch came to prominence—and often a painful death—in early modern Europe, yet her origins are much more geographically diverse and historically deep. In this landmark book, Ronald Hutton traces witchcraft from the ancient world to the early-modern stake.
 
This book sets the notorious European witch trials in the widest and deepest possible perspective and traces the major historiographical developments of witchcraft. Hutton, a renowned expert on ancient, medieval, and modern paganism and witchcraft beliefs, combines Anglo-American and continental scholarly approaches to examine attitudes on witchcraft and the treatment of suspected witches across the world, including in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Australia, and North and South America, and from ancient pagan times to current interpretations. His fresh anthropological and ethnographical approach focuses on cultural inheritance and change while considering shamanism, folk religion, the range of witch trials, and how the fear of witchcraft might be eradicated.

I’m Waiting On…

…A Guide for Murdered Children, because… OK so it was the unicorn that did it initially, but then I read the synopsis and I wanted it even more. It’s available to request on NetGalley now. Fingers crossed.

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We all say there is no justice in this world. But what if there really was? What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to this world, inhabit adult bodies and wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had killed them, stolen their lives?

Such is the unfathomable mystery confronting ex-NYPD detective Willow Wylde, fresh out of rehab and finally able to find a job running a Cold Case squad in suburban Detroit. When the two rookie cops assigned to him take an obsessive interest in a decades old disappearance of a brother and sister, Willow begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is afoot. And when he uncovers a series of church basement AA-type meetings made up of the slain innocents, a new way of looking at life, death, murder and missed opportunities is revealed to him.

Mystical, harrowing and ultimately tremendously moving, A Guide for Murdered Children is a genre-busting, mind-bending twist on the fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.

 Expected Publication: March 20th 2018 by Blue Rider Press

 

So that was my week in books, how was yours? If you’re participating feel free to leave your link in the comments so everyone can take a look!