Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Review- Into The Dark-The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain and Giveaway US/Canada Only

Into The Dark- The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
Available Now
Hardback 496 pages
Greek Mythology/ Realistic/ YA

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Goodreads-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.

Greek Mythology lovers hold onto your hearts!! This is the Hades and Persephone myth redone in a fresh, very unique way that will have you questioning what team you are on and which side of the mythology to believe. It will have you rethinking everything you thought you knew about the Greek Gods. And just when you thought you'd read it all! Just when you thought no one could write something new with those meddling Greek Gods (who am I kidding, right?)! Bree Despain's first book in the Into the Dark Series exceeded my expectations and won me over with it's great characters, both main and secondary and a wonderfully rich world that is sprinkled through the underworld but also the above world and further.

Characters- Lord Haden/ Haden - Haden is like the runt of a set of twins. He used to be the favored one, but then he did something to lose the favor of his father, King Ren, and now he is just barely above a servant as far as status goes. He is an Underlord. He comes from the world of Hades. He's been chosen to seek out The Cypher, a girl. But his teachings have not prepared him for life in the real world. He takes everything literally at first and he comes across strange, stiff, even laughable.  Haden is all duty at first but as the novel goes on, he starts to think for himself and it's great to see his character grow and change.

Daphne- For Daphne, it's all about the music. She's got a great voice and once she's singing and playing everything else falls away. She resents her father, The Rock God, who has seen her four times in her life, and she hates the little town of Ellis Fields, she lives in. She wants to make her own way in the music world, but she's got to get out of town first. And her mom has her on a very short leash. I like Daphne a lot. She is not the type of girl that needs to be rescued, doesn't fall for the "Daddy's rich and he's sorry so I'll forgive him" and she doesn't drop at the gorgeous guy's feet. No insta love here people!! She is a bit unpredictable so look for her to make some interesting choices.

Tobin- This is Daphne's first real friend and I can only picture him as a young Frank Sinatra as he is wearing the hat and sings a song from Sinatra for his audition for the music program at the Olympus Hills High. He is not an insta love character either. But there is instant camaraderie between him and Daphne and she seems to trust him readily. He seems to be a loyal friend but I am not completely sure he's trustworthy. He's got his own agenda. He adds a delicious unknown element to the novel.

Dax- Dax is very close lipped about his trip to the human world. He is a disgraced Underlord. He failed his mission six years ago. No one knows what happened. He is supposed to help Haden navigate the human world, but most of the time, he's just gone. No one seems to know where. But he is Haden's friend.

There are other secondary characters that are very well developed as well, the dad- Joe Vince, Demi, the mom, Lexie, Simon, just to name a few.

The setting: The story begins in the Underworld, a harsh place. To me it reminds me of scenes from Gladiator with the soldiers all lined up. It's all stone and torches and men and boys in armor. And unrelenting adherence to rules, power and discipline. It's easy to imagine this place as the Underworld. Devoid of anything positive.

In contrast, the human world is....well human. Ellis Fields where Daphne starts out the story is a small town in Utah which she desperately wants to escape. But her mother doesn't want to let her out of town. She thinks everything Daphne needs or will ever need is right in Ellis Fields.

And then there is Olympus Hills. The place that Daphne goes to live with her father. It's where the very, very rich and ultra famous live. All the streets are named after Greek Gods and myths. The high school is named Olympus High. 

The World: This is a contemporary setting with most of the action taking place in the human world. But some of it takes place in the Underworld. Bree Despain uses our basic knowledge of Hades' Realm and builds on it, creating a mythology that includes Tartarus, populated by frightening creatures. Zeus and Hades have been fighting a war for centuries but Hades was killed. The only way to leave the Underworld is Persephone's Gate. The war, technically is at a stalemate as no one can leave the Underworld. The story blends the Hades/Persephone myth is intertwined with Zeus and Hades fighting, the question of belief in the Gods keeping them alive and the Orpheus/Eurydice story. But I have a feeling there is much, much more in there and I need to read it again as I read it so quickly. There are Fates and destinies, Oracles, prophecies, deals with the "devil", giving away your first born,betrayals, missing girls, regrets, weather elementals, electricity and thunderbolts. And so much more.

What I thought: I was completely entertained trying to figure out the story, especially what Dax's story was and whether Garrick can be trusted or not. The story is told from Daphne's point of view and Haden's alternating chapters, sometimes overlapping incidents where both of them were participants. If you are looking for a great romance, this isn''t it. This is a slow building one, and though we don't see the day to day, we get the sense of how it develops. I love the way that Greek Mythology plays into every bit of the story. From streets to the high school to the hotels to the cities, to the rock opera. Bree Despain has woven the mythical world of the Greek Gods into The Shadow Prince and yet leaves plenty of room for the new mythology she has created out of the old. It's a great blending of both. Her characters, both Daphne and Haden are well developed, and likable. Daphne, is strong willed and not easily swayed by money, fame, or looks. She is very self assured, even standing in front of a crowd singing. Haden starts out a little cave man like, but quickly lets his human side out. It is not hard to believe once we find out why he is no longer the favorite son. Even the secondary characters are compelling enough that we want to know more about them, have them on the page more. The ending leaves us wanting more, but without a cliffhanger ending. 

I recommend this YA novel to lovers of  Greek Mythology and retellings. It's a well written story, with just enough mystery, romance and intrigue to make you want to keep turning the pages quicker and quicker as more and more is revealed as you reach the end. I can't wait to read the next book in this series. 

Thanks to Egmont for and Advanced Reader's Copy for review. This in no way influenced my opinion. The opinions expressed in the review are my own.
About the author-
Bree Despain-
The Short: Bree Despain is the author of the Dark Divine trilogy and the upcoming Into The Dark trilogy. Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, two young sons, and her beloved TiVo. 

Find the author-

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Don't forget to enter the giveaway for one hardback copy of the novel, US and Canada Only.
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  1. I hadn't heard any good things about this one but I really like Bree Despain so that was disappointing. However, it sounds like it's NOT awful so I may need to read it after all!

    1. Hmm, I checked out the reviews on Good Reads and the ones I saw were all good. I did see a couple of two's but for the most part they were good. I always worry when I am writing a five and I haven't seen any of my bloggy friends review the book. But I think you'd enjoy this one. I've been hit or miss on YA lately but this was a hit!!

  2. You had me sold at Greek mythology Heather! I can't get enough of it, and Hades and Persephone in particular. The characters sound fantastic as well, I love when the secondary cast is as strong as the main characters. Really looking forward to this one!

    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I have seen some people say the characters are blah, but I didn't get that at all! And the secondaries are great! They have their own story going and a different myth. I am so excited for the next book!!

  3. I'm really interested in this one, Heather! I like how the Greek Mythology is worked into the story not blatantly obvious. I'm also curious to unearth the secrets of some of the main characters too. I'll be sure to check this one out.

    1. Oh, I hope you like it Rummanah! There is a lot of mythology, and yet it isn't obvious what's going on. Unless you are a scholar of mythology, I don't think you will pick up on everything. I hadn't heard of most of it, I don't know if it was creative license or true mythology.

  4. So far I have been reading mixed reviews on this one and I can't get a good read on it. I don't think this one is for me as I am totally burned out Greek mythology right now especially Hades and Peresphone they are everywhere. Glad to read a positive review on this one.

    1. Well if you're burned out on it, then you won't like it. Don't read it!
      Go read something else!!! When you want to read about the Hades/Persephone myth, try this one, it's really different.

  5. This sounds so good, Heather! I heart Greek Mythology a lot. Plus this was already on my radar without your rave review, but now I feel like I NEED it. :)

  6. wow 3rd or 4th time I have seen this book in the past few days. Lots of mixed reactions too it. Glad you liked it. I love the Mythology elements in it.

  7. I am SO excited to read The Shadow Prince. I love anything and everything Greek mythology and this book sounds amazing! I have my fingers crossed on this giveaway, I would love to get my hands on this! :)


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