Got another confession, folks. Ready? I didn’t like Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. No, really. I absolutely hated that play, and by the end, I was literally so happy when Romeo and Juliet died. Why did I hate it? Well…it was a lot of things, really. The teacher I had when it was assigned reading – back in freshman year of high school – was obsessed with Shakespeare, like she would have married him if he had been alive. It was also something to do with how fickle Romeo was, he was desperately infatuated at the beginning of the play with Rosaline and then one meeting – one – and he’s all of sudden head over heals in love with Juliet.
Anyway, I didn’t like the play, but I might have changed my mind had we had to read this as a supplement. Prince of Shadows is the tale of Romeo and Juliet, only from Romeo’s cousin and friend – Benvolio’s perspective. He’s a man who hates his position in life – not the heir to the Montague name – but still at his grandmother’s beck and call to keep the heir – Romeo – in line. To take out his frustrations he travels the rooftops of Verona at night (kind of sounds like Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon) and steals from those he feels have wronged.
What really made this book for me was not only the insight into what Benvolio was dealing with but also the curse that Mercutio put on both the Capulets and the Montagues. You get to see the origins of his hate for both families and you sort of understand more about what was really going on with Romeo and Juliet – I always knew that they couldn’t have been that much in love. There had to be some sort of mystical thing going on.
Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Thanks to this book I have a new liking for Romeo and Juliet. The last fifty pages were absolutely crazy but so well written I was in awe. Rachel Caine just became one of my new favorite authors.
Bookshelf worthy? The only reason I’m saying no is because I’m not that big of fan of Shakespeare. But if you are, get it.