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 thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having read Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, in high school and again in college, I was intrigued to see what perspective Caine would bring to the story. Benvolio’s point of view is refreshing and striking in comparison to the story I remember from school.
Benvolio is living a secret life and gets a thrill from stealing from those he deems enemies. The Prince of Shadows makes his way into the homes of the ultra rich and takes what he can from them in order to pay for their sins so to speak. Only his closest friends and his manservant know of his nightly trips away from the Montague home. His greatest achievement however, is stealing from the house of their greatest rivals, the Capulets.
The story begins prior to the story of Romeo and Juliet. In fact, it begins with Romeo believing he is in love with her cousin, Rosaline, and not Juliet. Benvolio is given the job of making sure his cousin has not done something that will mar the good name of Montague by the harsh woman who runs the family with an iron fist, his grandmother. In his effort to watch over Romeo, Benvolio meets Roseline and begins to see how a woman might change everything for him.
The story unfolds with the cast of characters we are familiar with including the Friar, Paris, Tibult, Mercutio, the nurse and the extended families of the star-crossed lovers. The pieces of the story fall into place and send Romeo and Juliet on their inevitable course toward death, but what is happening around them is now the focus of the story. Caine does a beautiful job weaving Benvolio and Rosaline into the tale and I found myself almost ignoring the familiar story and rushing to learn more of the characters we knew little about.
The language is rich and the imagery drew me in as a reader. I was right there with Benvolio as he jumped from rooftop to rooftop, wound his way through the streets of Verona and sweating with him while he was in his grandmother’s rooms. I have always enjoyed Caine’s writing and this just took it to another level. Well done!
My Over All Rating: