Prince of Shadows: A Novel of Romeo and Juliet by Rachel Caine (2014)

Prince of ShadowsCaine expands the world of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, selecting Romeo’s cousin Benvolio as the narrator who assumes the title character’s role. As the Prince of Shadows, dubbed so by his close friend Mercutio, Benvolio spends his nights avenging slights by stealing and publicly, but anonymously, humiliating the offender. Romeo rounds out the threesome but he has a limited role in the novel.

Instead, Benvolio provides the backdrop to the well-known story, delving into Montague family politics. Rosaline, too, has a larger role. The real surprise came in the mystical turn the book took about half way through. It turns out Mercutio’s dying curse (A plague on both your houses) had meat to it. We all know Romeo and Juliet ended tragically, but will Benvolio and Rosaline succumb to the same fate?

And enjoyable read more for the language and descriptions than the plot. Mercutio is a scene stealer as well.

Library copy | 9780451414410 | Ages 14+ | New American Library

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