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Into the Dark Book #1: The Shadow Prince

Review

Into the Dark Book #1: The Shadow Prince

The Thousand-year War with the Skylords has finally ended, leaving Hades dead and the Key to Hades stolen. Ever since, the Underworld has been in a state of disarray --- Hades’ descendants have been locked in the Underrealm, godless and powerless.Their only opportunity to travel out of the Underworld is by going through Persephone’s Gate once every six months. These journeys to the mortal world usually focus on capturing boons --- or young women --- to rule the Underrealm in the place of Persephone and help continue the line of Hades. There is a rumor, however, that the next quest to earth is about much more than capturing a boon. It may mean the end to the Underworld’s isolation --- and the resurgence of war!

Haden has been waiting his whole life to be chosen for a quest to the mortal realm. He’s positive, though, that it will never happen. Ever since embarrassing his father --- the ruling king --- as a child when he showed too much emotion, Haden has lived in the shadow of his twin brother, Rowan. Haden’s shocked, then, when the oracle declares that he is the chosen one to save the underworld from destruction. At first this causes much outrage and uproar, but Haden’s father reluctantly agrees to let him go --- he doesn’t want to tempt the fate of the oracle. He burns the name “Daphne Raines” on Haden’s arm --- the name of the boon Haden is supposed to capture.

INTO THE DARK takes all the classic myth elements and ramps them up for a intriguing modern retelling.

Daphne has been living in small town Utah for her entire life and dreams of becoming a singer and musician. Therefore, when her estranged rock star father offers to enroll her in a specialized music program at a ritzy high school in California, Daphne jumps at the chance.

Haden and Daphne bump into each other almost immediately, and at first Haden thinks his quest will be easy. After Daphne spurns his ill thought-out advances, though, Haden realizes that he really doesn’t know anything about getting a young woman to trust him --- or even like him. For her part, Daphne is creeped out by Haden’s lack of emotion and dark, swirling eyes, and decides to stay very far away. Events keep propelling Haden and Daphne together, though, and they develop a budding romance that may not only define their destinies, but also the mortal and heavenly realms.

There is so much more happening in INTO THE DARK that cannot be summed up as a simple retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. Author Bree Despain plays with the ideas of prescribed destinies, viewing supposed weaknesses as strengths and putting the needs of others before your own selfish ambitions. As serious as the destruction of the entire mortal and heavenly realm may be, Despain also takes time to insert some teenage angst and humor into the story, as well as a growing romance that doesn’t seem contrived or over the top. There is a reason Greek myths remain compelling after numerous centuries, and INTO THE DARK takes all the classic myth elements and ramps them up for a intriguing modern retelling.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on February 27, 2014

Into the Dark Book #1: The Shadow Prince
by Bree Despain

  • Publication Date: March 11, 2014
  • Genres: Mythology
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA
  • ISBN-10: 1606842471
  • ISBN-13: 9781606842478