It is clear that Rachel Caine has a unique story to tell with Prince of Shadows. But it wasn’t clear which story she wanted to tell from the various storylines this book has. For starters, the story of Prince of Shadows is imbalanced and it forgot what “prioritizing” means.
The synopsis was clear that Prince of Shadows will be about Benvolio’s royal thievery exploits and his romance with Rosaline Capulet. Alas, that wasn’t the case. Instead, we get a book that can be summarized as:
• 35% of Mercutio and Thomasso’s gay love story
• 35% of Romeo and Juliet’s love story
• 10 % nonsensical stuff about the a curse that suddenly sprung up
• 10 % of Benvolio and Rosaline’s love story
• 10% of Benvolio’s ala-Robinhood exploits
You know what? I really couldn’t have cared less if there are 3 story arcs in this book if it was longer, say around 400-500 pages so there’s a right balance to everything. Unfortunately, we’re only talking about 200+ pages here. As a consequence, you get half-baked characters, carelessly done romance and an indecisive plot.
Prince of Shadows covered three love stories and not one of them has caught my attention. There’s a gay romance that should have been interesting, but it resulted into something tragic that eventually led to the Capulet and Montague Houses being cursed. That last bit really didn’t click well with the overall story. But Rachel Caine didn’t stop with that and also covered in a lengthy detail the romantic adventures of Romeo and Rosaline and afterwards, of Romeo and Juliet. They fell in love at first sight, they have clandestine meetings and of course, they died. Lastly, we have Benvolio and Rosaline’s affair that was more of a side story than being the meat of Prince of Shadows.
Regardless, I did find some enjoyment from this disappointment of a novel. I haven’t read the original version of Romeo and Juliet yet and most of my knowledge about the story was acquired from short classroom discussions and of course, from watching movies like Claire Danes and Leonardo Di Caprio’s Romeo and Juliet. For what it’s worth, I did learn some things from Prince of Shadows. For example, I didn’t know that Romeo’s first apple of the eye was Rosaline and that he has a cousin named Benvolio who also fell in love with the girl. That sort of stuff. I am not sure if that’s important but additional knowledge can’t hurt, right?'
Thanks to NAL for the free e-ARC