Title: The Shadow Queen
Author: C. J. Redwine
Publication: February 16th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher vie Edelweiss
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.
I received a digital review copy of this book from HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Storyline? Great. Story telling? Good.
I was totally awestruck right from reading the prologue of this book and so I braced myself for something grand. But then, the narration started to became a little difficult to visualize. It was too “wordy” but lacked vividness and I ended up feeling like this book was too long.
The Shadow Queen is a retelling of the fairy tale Snow White. It tells about the story of Princess Lorelai and her venture to reclaim the throne of Ravenspire that evil Queen Irina, Lorelai’s step-mother and aunt, greedily overtook. To be honest, I was clueless that this book was a retelling at first but the major elements from Snow White were thrown in, like the magic mirror, the apples and an ultimately evil Queen. But, there’s more to this book than mirrors and apples. The Shadow Queen added some flair by including magic (not to mention incantations as cool as it was hard to pronounce), dragons and a great storyline.
And while we are at it, yes, the storyline was great. Although it’s a retelling, it felt really original. There were parts that I didn’t see coming but there were also parts where the continuity seem to just keep on repeating. And while the storyline was great, the story telling was not as great. I have to admit, I did write down “great story telling” on my first draft of this review and that was while I was reading the prologue. I didn’t even mind that it was written in the 3rd person POV. But as the story goes on, the story dragged and some scenes were hard to envision making me skim some parts. I honestly don’t mind reading books with 400 pages and more as long as it doesn’t feel like it is that long but with The Shadow Queen, I kept counting how many chapters left before I reach the end.
Now onto the characters, Lorelai is amazing as a main character. She’s smart, fierce and just ready to kick ass. She’s a fighter with a kind heart. She is born to be a Queen (literally and figuratively speaking). She is a mardushka (born with magical powers) like Irina. On the other hand, we have Prince Kolvanismir Arsenyevnek from the kingdom of Eldr. Kol has two hearts, a human one and a dragon one. While his dragon heart is a vicious predator that will stop at nothing to kill, his human heart is compassionate. He has a strong will to do what is right rather than choosing what is convenient. Both Lorelai and Kol has a great sense of responsibility. And then there’s Queen Irina. She’s a character I love to hate. She’s just cruel and power hungry. There’s a great amount of deaths in this book and she’s responsible for that.
In terms of the world building. I can’t say it was excellent but it’s estimable. I know world building is not easy but I guess I just wanted more. The narration did affect how I was going to visualize the world that the author created. My ARC didn’t have a map that shall be included in the finished copies so I had no solid vision of the kingdoms. But regardless, it would have been better if it was easier to imagine what was going on in the book and where it is happening.
I gave this book a temporary 4 star while I was still reading it. The first parts were really good but as I continued, I just kept putting it down, skimming a little in some parts and all so I ended up with giving it a little less than that. But still, I recommend The Shadow Queen for those who love retellings.
Magic – I don’t think I even need to tell you why.
DRAGONS! – How can you not love a book with dragons??? And what makes it even cooler is that they’re human slash dragons! And the coolest thing is that the dragon is not just an ordinary human. It’s a PRINCE-SLASH-DRAGON! A charming one, too!
Queen Irina’s back story – I love the tiny bits of Irina’s past. The book showed what motivated her to become so cruel. I also love that the book showed Irina’s not so evil side.
Book Description and Cover Image from Goodreads