*I received a copy of this from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
I love myths being retold in books, but they have to be amazing. They have to be unique enough to grab my attention, have to make sense, and they have to stay slightly true to the actual myth. I thought The Shadow Prince was an enjoyable read, and I'm really intrigued for the next one. However, there were elements I wasn't a fan of and sometimes it was a slow read.
Rating: 3.5 stars!
The Shadow Prince was based on the myths of Hades and Persephone, as well as Orpheus and Eurydice. Personally, I don't know these myths. I mean, I've heard about them before, but I've never looked at them too closely or actually read the original stories. So, my critique on the mythological plot of this story is based on how well I thought these myths worked with this story-line, and not how they compare and contrast with the original stories. And I thought the mythological aspect was fantastic! It was my favorite part of this story. I really loved how these myths were intertwined with one another, and I thought it worked! I especially liked hearing about Elysium, considering I'd literally just learned about this philosophical version of Hell from a 16th century play in my English class. It was just so unexpected and awesome! And I'm so excited to find out what happens in book two! I can't wait to see if the characters take back the Key, who the mysterious motorcycle dude is, and what will happen with Haden's unbreakable vow.
I loved Haden! His character was really intriguing, and I found myself enjoying his POV. It was unexpectedly funny. Coming from Hell (literally!) to the human world, his life is turned upside down. Between listening to music for the first time, learning to drive, and navigating the most evil of places—high school—Haden also has to find a girl named Daphne Raines and get her to come to the Underrealm with him. It's his quest, because he's THE Champion. And if he doesn't do this, there'll be consequences for all, in his world and the human one. Haden is under a lot of pressure, with trying to navigate a world he doesn't know to making a human fall in love with him so she'll want to leave everything behind and literally go to hell with him. As he spends more time on earth, he starts to understand what love means and what's right. He goes through quite a bit of character development, and I liked watching him grow from a coldhearted, misunderstood "bad boy" to a true hero.
The secondary characters—Dax, Garrick, and Tobin—all had places in this novel. Though, they weren't much better than cardboard cutouts. Dax is Haden's guide, a funny guy with a huge secret. Garrick is Haden's half-brother, a Lesser born to serve the Lords. And Tobin is an amateur sleuth who is trying to find his sister. He's supposedly Daphne's "new best friend" but they actually don't spend much time together. Really, it seems these characters were only there to provide more details and give the two main characters a much more three-dimensional quality. The only one I liked was Dax.
My least favorite part of this book was Daphne. Yup, the main character. I really, really disliked her! She comes from a poor family, has lived in this one-stop town her whole life, and is trying hard to build her future on music. However, she is not a kickass heroine. When learning about her role in all of this, she's all like: You've got to be kidding me. This is going to ruin my life plan. I didn't ask for this. Fuck all of you, I don't want any part in this. Leave me alone to my pity-parties and brooding about how I'm unwanted and how much I hate my dad. Please, Daphne, keep whining about how much your life sucks. That'll make your readers like you. No, but seriously, I understand denial and anger. I get it, most people would respond in that way. Heroes and heroines never want that kind of burden, but they accept it because they care about others and want to do the right thing. However, Daphne just doesn't care. I really disliked her POV. Everything is generally about her, she's always self-justifying, and she always has the answers. She's like an expert on everything and everyone. She can't accept kindness, and she's incredibly pig-headed. Her dad plans this amazing father-daughter date for her, and she goes: Now he wants to spend time with me? Fuck him. I don't need him. I don't even care that this is the most thoughtful thing he's ever done for me. Dude, he's trying. Get over yourself. Whenever something happens, she always seems to have an answer. Or she'll try to make another character feel stupid for trying or for thinking something different. I hate self-righteous and indignant characters!
Okay, I'm done venting about Daphne. I just, dislike her personality. However, even though I'm not a fan of the heroine, I enjoyed the story. It had a certain quality to it, but that could just be because of how much I loved the mythological aspect. The plot was slow at some points, especially revolving around Daphne and Haden's "budding" relationship. Honestly, not a fan of that at this point. It just seemed too fast. However, I read this pretty quickly. It was generally fast-paced, and the suspenseful situations were played just right. Although, many of these situations and how the characters came out of them were too easy. They didn't really have to work hard to find all the answers. But I'm definitely excited to see what happens next!