The Shadow Prince - YA Review by Lian S

Reader: Lian S.
Age: 17
Title: Into the Dark: The Shadow Prince
Author:  Bree Despain
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pub Date: 03/11/14
Galley:  Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I initially picked up Into the Dark because of the bizarre summary on the back of the book. The phrase that stuck out to me in particular was "Our heroes-- destined for each other-- know nothing of the stakes their fated courtship entails." It made me think that the book would be utterly ridiculous and overly full with characters acting not because of how they think but because of what they are fated to do.
Because of this, I was pleasantly surprised when I started to read. I found that the characters are relatable, and that they are driven by their own thoughts and emotions, not by the plot. It doesn't quite fit the genres I usually read; romance doesn't generally appeal to me in books. However, the romance in Into the Dark, while being completely obvious from the start, sort of snuck up on me in its own way. I found that I genuinely like the dynamic between Daphne and Haden because it felt so real.
I often don't like modern cultural references in novels because it feels like they make the book incomprehensible to anyone reading it ten years from now. However, this book seemed to create a balance: it talked about songs that are entirely modern but that will last. For instance, a portion of a chapter focuses on the song "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie. I know that song, and most people I know know that song. Because of this, we can relate to it and add meaning to the book.
In short, Into the Dark was far better than I expected, and a pleasure to read.
Memorable or Forgettable:  I read this book about a month ago, and though I have read several books since, I can still talk about it freely. This is because Into the Dark stuck out in my head. There are a lot of images from the book that come to mind like people's conversations and the way I pictured various settings.
It was one of those books that somehow made me pay attention when I read. Because of this, my memories of scenes in the book feel rather like memories of my own.
Cover: The cover doesn't perfectly reflect the contents, in my opinion, but it does fit with the slightly ridiculous summary on the back of the book. I want to point out that that summary is what made me read Into the Dark in the first place. Personally, I think both the cover and the summary do their jobs well.
Age Range: Under 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments:  I am still not entirely sure whether Into the Dark is the title of the book, or of the series. There are two titles here, and it bothers me that I can't figure out which is which.

tags: coming of age / dystopian romance / Into the Dark / ya lit

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