Review: Prince of Shadows

January 25, 2018

Prince of ShadowsPrince of Shadows by Rachel Caine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"I understood with fatal clarity how my cousin could have thrown away his life, all our lives, for love. If this was sorcery, then I had learned to love it. Rosaline Capulet tasted like all I had ever wanted in my life, and I knew that for truth."

I love retellings, but the thing about them is that sometimes they don’t live up to the original work that inspired them. Romeo and Juliet is very hard to top, it’s so iconic that even people who care nothing about literature know it. Having stated that, I think this book deserves all the credit.

As you have probably guessed, Prince of Shadows is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, only it’s told from Benvolio’s point of view as he narrates his, Romeo’s and Mercutio’s stories and the events we already know. It has many of the original themes but offers a different perspective of them and a bit more background on each character’s emotions and motives. But what completely transforms the story is the author’s characterization. It makes relating to these characters easier as she provides a modern perception of them.

Romeo is a lovable fool, he falls into insta-love with Rosaline, but sheds it like an old coat the moment he sees Juliet. He spends his days daydreaming and writing little poems in dark corners when he's not fighting Capulets on the street.

Mercutio is a tragedy, his love for another man ends up being his downfall when his family finds out. His father turns his back to him and he feels abandoned by his friends which only depresses him further.

And Benvolio is the Prince of Shadows, a sneaky thief who at night robs the one who cross him during the day. He is the most responsible among his friends and so is expected to keep his cousin in line, which proves to be a challenge when Romeo demonstrates to have no common sense at all. Though that doesn’t mean he is immune to the charm of Capulet women himself.

Benvolio and Rosaline’s love exists parallel to Romeo and Juliet’s, but works very differently. While he thinks of her constantly and admires her from a distance, both Benvolio and Rosaline are wise enough to keep away from each other’s arms until it proves too difficult. They bond out of their shared concern for their families and mutual admiration; it’s almost like a mature version of their cousins’ romance.

All in all, I found this retelling very pleasing, the writing style is a merge of old and new that suits the story perfectly. It has the right atmosphere and all the best parts of the original story while also being appealing to modern readers such as me.


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  1. I absolutely loved this book when I first read it so many years ago, I'm so glad you liked it too. And also, lovely aesthetic.

  2. Kelly | Creme de la Chic26 January 2018 at 18:22

    I have a huge TBR list but I might just add one more book. This sounds amazing!

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