The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

The Shadow Queen
Ravenspire #1
C.J. Redwine
Expected Publication: February 16, 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
Review copy provided by HarperCollins thru Edelweiss


The Shadow Queen’s appeal started with the cover – that dark, ooze-dripping apple just screams fantasy. Other Snow White stories have the big, shiny, red apple with a small bitten part to signify that they are Snow White retellings and reflects that although they are retellings, they don’t breathe a new life to the fairy tale classic.

To be frank, that was what I expected of The Shadow Queen: some bland repeat of a maiden of ebony and rose with a wicked stepmother who wanted to kill her for power and beauty. Oh, there would’ve been a variation to show that the maiden has a backbone and need no prince to rescue but there would be an obligatory with true love’s kiss the spell shall break thrown in there.

Reading the prologue eased my mind a bit but then thoughts of Snow White and the Huntsman came to mind and although I loved the kickass heroine and the excellent portrayal of Charlize Theron’s queen, I didn’t like that retelling so much.

But hope is not lost, my friends! I have been proven wrong! The Shadow Queen was much, much more than the norm.

No swooning, sleeping ladies here. Nowadays, we are getting fairytale retellings with kickass heroines. Lorelai kicked butt and was intelligent and smart. But aside from just wanting to get rid of the evil queen, she genuinely wanted to help her people - and she has been doing it even though she's not yet the properly-crowned sovereign of her people. Robin Hood Snow White, anyone? What's more is that she would not reneged on a promise to help another kingdom even though there was a risk of basking in the brilliance of their own failure. Makes sense?

The villain is not evil for evil’s sake?  Often we have evil queens who are just evil just for the sake of being evil. Or for just having a snit that someone is more beautiful than her. Well, our little miss diva here had her evil roots in jealousy and a sense of entitlement. She felt she was cheated out of her rightful place. Cue revenge plans. Her storyline reminded me a bit of The Goose Girl mixed with Theron's evil queen.

And there are dragons. If there's a princess and an evil queen, then there must be a hunstman and a prince. And good lord! There they were! DRAGONS. Oh my gosh! DRAGONS! 

What I loved most about The Shadow Queen is that it didn't focus on one character, on one kingdom and on one problem. It also touched on another kingdom (and mentioned several others) with their own evil and their own problems. It begged to say that the Ravenspire series will not be contained in one place and would encompass other stories - as evidenced by that ending.

The Shadow Queen can be read as a stand-alone... but C.J. Redwine just asked what fairytales we want to see in the series. So...

The Shadow Queen is a must-read book!


Ayanami Faerudo

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