Prince of Yawns: Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine

I’m just going to put it out there: I hate Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Yes, I hate his most famous play, despite the fact that many English teachers have championed it, it just doesn’t work for me and it probably never will.

However, a retelling of this famous tale from a minor character’s POV to me seemed like it could be interesting.  Especially since said main character is said to be a thief, sad to say he and most of the book made me yawn more than anything else.

Prince of Shadows isn’t a horrible book.  Yes, it’s bad.  But I have read much, much worse.  What Prince of Shadows is is more or less a disappointment.  Which I think was because of a few bad choices.

Mainly point of view.  I’m sorry but Benvolio was beyond being dull.  The fact that Caine tried to make him more interesting by giving him this Robin Hood-ish back story but never fully expanding on it was just sad and sort of embarrassing.

A Robin Hood character is something I can almost always get behind.  Of course, there does need to be a little bit of effort behind making these Robin Hood-ish type of characters exciting.  Merely having them occasionally breaking in with no real good reason and never going into the characters history isn’t going to get me to love him.  A lion tattoo and a half season of build up might help though.

Yeah, I just referenced that show.  I had to when I’m talking about Robin Hood.

Really, if the book would’ve been written in third I think Caine might’ve pulled it off.  I really found for the most part that I wanted more of the side characters.  And that doesn’t mean the title characters from the tragedy.  Romeo is still as idiotic as ever and Juliet, well, the amount of screen time she gets she just seems ridiculously young

The character that really seemed to drive the book forward was Mercutio.  Really, his subplot was the entire catalyst for the rest of the novel.  While I get why Caine couldn’t have the entire story told from his perspective, I do think that if we would’ve gotten more of his point of view-through third person-it would’ve beefed this book up tremendously.

As it was, I often felt like I never really got to know these characters other than boring old Benvolio.  And god was he dull.

Really the dullness almost made this a DNF which was ridiculous since there was so much this novel had going for it.  I give Caine huge props for creativity.  I love the plot twists that there were with this one, but the way it was presented just drives me nuts.

A book like this should have you on the edge of your seat, instead of making you almost fall asleep in drool.  But that’s how I felt when I read this one.  It wasn’t a bad book, per say, but it took me the entire week just to read it-though admittedly I  was working and really had no time to read except during lunch and I was more or less trying to check and catch up on my email then.

Still though, even with work, I can usually knock out a couple of books a week.  But this one just left me in a reader’s slump.  Again, not a horrible book but it was just one that was….well. as bland as its main character.

The pacing was also a major issue in this one and I think contributed to the boredom.  While Caine seemed to dwell on before the play and first two acts of Romeo and Juliet all the actual action scenes in the Shakespeare play were crammed in the last fourth.  Which just made the book feel almost fragmented.  I get that there had to be some build up to the action scenes, but come on the pacing could’ve been better.

Same with the romance plot.  It just seemed to come out of nowhere. Sure, there were a few scenes that our two leads had together but based on the jacket you’d think they’d interact a lot more than they did.  As it seems they were more or less thrown together just to sell the book because hey YA needs romance.

And it wasn’t that this particular romance was that offensive, it just was sort of jarring compared to the rest of the book. And I think the overall story would’ve been better without it.

Overall, I don’t think Prince of Shadows was that horrible of a book.  It’s not one that I can recommend willingly, but it’s not a bad book. I think I’d give it an average rating (C).  It’s not going to be one of those books I remember.  I have to give kudos to Caine for trying something new, but this one just really didn’t work for me.

 

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