Title: The Shadow Queen
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publication: February 16th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.
In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.
But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
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After finishing this book, I was undecided and was contemplating whether to give it 3 or 4 stars, but I ended up giving it a 4 because of its amazing concept. I love how mardushkas, people who wield magic, are able to use magic anywhere just by saying something and literally do anything such as “lend me your powers, water.” If you didn’t know, this book is a Snow White retelling which does not really interest me because I have never read a retelling before.
It turns out that this one is enjoyable. It really is like Snow White without the apple at the end which is kind-of disappointing. Instead of the apple, the author used another thing to substitute for it, symbolizing the highlight of Snow White– the apple. Even without it, I am impressed by the quick world-building of Redwine, and I love her rendition of its world.
“A warrior doesn’t focus on the odds stacked against her. She focuses on her heart, on her will to face the evil in her world and defeat it, and then she finds a way to do it.”
The characters, too, were an amazing rendition. Lorelai, a mardushka, as Snow White. Kol, a Draconi (or being able to turn into a dragon), as Prince Charming. Irina, also a mardushka, as Evil Queen. They were a great impression of the original cast, but no dwarves, so there’s that. Lorelai started off as a helpless princess, and her character development was evident as I flipped those very pages. She became the woman as I expected her to be because most fairy tales end like that, thus it’s pretty much expected.
This book being filled with magic made it way better than the original Snow White, but the book feels completely lacking. The inconsistency is the only thing consistent in this book. There are a lot of times when this book finally becomes interesting, then suddenly it’s all gone. There are also times when it’s just plain uninteresting like the first part ofo the book which really did not grab my attention.
“My heart already belongs to you. Come and take it.”
Just today, I learned that this series is going to have a different retelling per book, but it’s a series. So I was like, The Lunar Chronicles, is that you? However, I don’t know how that series work, so maybe this one will be quite different to that. Also, I have never read a book written by Redwine and I’m not really planning to, but I’m glad that I read this one because it was worth it because Snow White just got more interesting than before.
To conclude, I recommend reading this book because it’s a successful retelling of a fairy tale. Having not read any retelling yet other than this, I know that this one has potential. I can’t wait for the next books in this series and what fairy tale it will be based on. Considering that the series is called Ravenspire, a land in the series, the characters from the next books with a different set of characters will be based here. If you like a fast-paced fantasy book with an amazing set of characters, be it the main characters or the villain, then this one is definitely for you.
4 swords for an interesting concept!
About the author:
C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and any movie starring Johnny Depp. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband and children. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day.
Do you like fairy tale retellings? Have you already added this book to your TBR? Comment below and let’s talk about it.