Rachel Caine – Prince of Shadows

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A thrilling retelling of the star-crossed tale of Romeo and Juliet, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series.


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.

I’ve never read a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, and I think this was really well done!

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This is from Benvolio’s POV, where he’s the Prince of Shadows and kinda like a Robin Hood for Verona. I’ll admit, this part of his character wasn’t that interesting, although that may have been because it wasn’t touched upon much. The story keeps up with the events of Romeo and Juliet really well and there’s a REALLY COOL TWIST (well, i thought it was cool) that has some supernatural elements to it that was kinda random but fit the story well so all is good.

Like in the play, the story starts out with Romeo complaining about Rosaline and Benvolio telling him to forget about her while Benvolio himself develops an infatuation with her when he retrieves Romeo’s letters.

Now in the play we don’t see Rosaline’s character, and all we know is that she rejected Romeo’s suits and that she’s Juliet’s cousin, but in the book she’s really sensible, rational, and overall a cool character.

We get to see Romeo and Juliet’s romance, albeit bits of it. For example, at the masquerade party, Benvolio sees the couple together but THEY’RE NOT THE MAIN CHARACTERS so they don’t get touched on much. Yay.

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Seriously though, they really pissed me off in the play. Lol anyway, Mercutio (my all time fave character) made me so heartbroken in this retelling! He was probably the most changed in the story from the original. In the beginning he was his jocular self, but after a certain (kinda BIG) event happens everything spirals from there. He gets all dark and brooding and yeah, he was always emotional and volatile even in the play, but he gets REALLY moody after that event. It was so sad, my bae.

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But it was SO GOOD too because it contributed to the plot! And in a really awesome way! I loved how everything fit together!! There was a reason Romeo and Juliet fell in love so quickly, and urghkdja;l;fjks I just thought it went along with the original play so well (until it didn’t, but that was in a good way).

Alright so there was a part toward the end where the main couple (that’s Benvolio and Rosaline. While I admit it’s mostly infatuation, there’s something else at work there and it really explains the insta-attraction well imo but can be a little confusing too) are trying to save themselves that was like “Wot” but it worked out in the end.

Ah the ending was so cute even though Romeo and Juliet died still haha.

Recommended for people who like Shakespeare fanfiction (The author didn’t butcher anything really bad tbh) and maybe people who like Historical Fiction? The thing is, there isn’t much about the book other than it being a cool retelling with twists, so if you’re not that into retellings or if you’re looking for an original book maybe you should look away.

Rating: 5

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