Bound to the Shadow Prince by Ruby Dixon

Bound to the Shadow Prince by Ruby Dixon
Published by W by Wattpad Books on July 2, 2024
Genres: Fantasy, Monster, Romance
Pages: 536
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble// BookBub
Add to: Goodreads // StoryGraph

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In order to protect her kingdom from the wrath of a vengeful goddess, Princess Candra must remain locked inside a tower for seven years. Seven long years without a friend―or a lover―by her side. And shut inside the tower with her? A Fellian, the enemy of her people, a fearsome warrior race complete with wings and claws and fangs. Nemeth is terrifying, cruel, and disturbingly magnetic. Candra should kill him for his supplies, but she’s desperate for his company…and his touch.
As time inside the unchanging tower rolls on, Candra uncovers the man behind the stony facade. And when their tenure hits an unexpected snag, Candra and Nemeth are forced to make a difficult choice. They’ll need to face an outside world they no longer recognize, one that threatens their lives and their surprising love.


I was so excited to pick up Bound to the Shadow Prince by Ruby Dixon. One, because I really liked her Ice Planet Barbarian series. Two, because I really enjoy darker and monster romances. Three, because I thought this was going to be vampy. While I did enjoy the book, it was very different compared to what I expected and the ending left a bit to be desired.

Let’s start things off with what this is and isn’t. I’ve seen some folks grumble because they thought this would a fairytale retelling. It isn’t and I never thought it would be. I hate that so many romantasy readers simply expect everything to be a retelling or a twist. It’s still good if it is original content. Secondly, this is a monster romance. The wings, claws, and fangs aren’t attached to just a regular human looking man. This isn’t a vampire with wings or a fae with wings. The Fellian are more akin to gargoyles. This was great. I loved reading about a monster meant to appear as an actual monster and not just a human with extras.

Romance-wise, this was pretty standard. I enjoyed it! It was very much enemies-to-lovers. Nemeth is this stoic, serious Fellian. Candra is the opposite – flirty, loud, and brash. They dislike each other and spend months unable to trust one another despite only having each other for company. Eventually, forced proximity kicks in and they start to get to know one another, care for one another, love one another. And that’s when the sparks fly! The smut was good but over repetitively. There are only so many times I can hear about how great Nemeth’s body part is.

Thankfully, the romance was well-tempered with plot, even if it did flounder toward the end. The entire premise is that these two nations have managed to anger a goddess and so, for generations, they send a royal member of their respective families to serve penance in a tower for seven years. We then get the added layer of a King clamoring to start a war and using this period of penance as a cover. It’s such a fantastic premise. Candra and Nemeth are abandoned and isolated with no idea what the world outside their tower will be like. Anything could have happened. Literally anything. This is why the ending disappoints me. This went from a 4 to 4.5 star book down to 3.5 stars. The final 20% felt incredibly rushed as though Dixon was trying to wrap everything up with a bow. She created this great premise, then switched to focus on the romance, and it felt like she didn’t know how to transition back to the plot itself without turning this into a duology. Honestly, it would’ve worked better if this were a duology with book 1 focusing on life within the tower and building the romance and book 2 focusing on life outside the tower. Something else that absolutely needed to be mentioned are possible content warnings. At around the 80% mark, things became incredibly uncomfortable because it was not something I was expecting to read. It isn’t anything explicit, but still did not feel as nice as the previous 80% of the book. If even a vague CW was provided, I wouldn’t have found it so jarring.

Bound to the Shadow Prince by Ruby Dixon is a successful foray away from alien romance and into the darker monster subgenre of romance. The spice was good and ample. The plot made sense and had a lot of potential. The characters were endearing. I think this is something I can recommend, especially for fans of tropes such as forced proximity or enemies-to-lovers.


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