cover image Prince of Shadows

Prince of Shadows

Rachel Caine. Penguin/NAL, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-451-41441-0

Having recently concluded her Morganville Vampires series, Caine heads in a different direction with this evocative and ambitious retelling of Romeo and Juliet, told primarily from the perspective of Romeo's cousin Benvolio Montague. Her Benvolio leads a double life: he's a masked rebel and thief by night, and when he meets Tybalt Capulet's sister, Lady Rosaline, it sparks the potential for another Montague-Capulet love affair. As the families' feud escalates, the plot both follows and expands on that of the original, capturing the families' stifling attempts at matchmaking, fleshing out scenes that take place behind closed doors, and bringing fascinating depth, complexity, and context to the familiar events, including heartbreaking backstory for Mercutio's intemperance and rage, as well as his dying curse. Romeo and Juliet%E2%80%94all but marginal characters in this retelling%E2%80%94are far from the only star-crossed lovers whose stories unfold; placing them in the periphery lets Caine focus on the broader ramifications of and machinations behind the violent, revenge-driven culture that plagues the streets of Verona. Ages 18%E2%80%93up. Agent: Lucienne Diver, the Knight Agency. (Feb.)