Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: The Shadow Queen

Title: The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1)
Author: C.J. Redwine
Genre: Young Adult | High Fantasy | Fairytale Retelling | Romance
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 16, 2016

Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

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 (goodreads).

Loosely based on Snow White, The Shadow Queen is a surprising novel but doesn't quite have the emotional connection I was expecting. 

Plot: The Shadow Queen has one of the most exciting openers I have had the pleasure of reading. Lorelai's beloved mother dies in a tragic accident, but her father - the king - must take a bride. He marries Lorelai's aunt who is using her magic to control the kingdom of Ravenspire. It was exciting! The Shadow Queen loses its steam after that gruesome opening, and it was sad to see it peak so soon.

The Shadow Queen is written well, but it's not a writing style that meshes with me, much like my reading experience with Defiance. The scenes that should have packed an emotional punch read rather dry to me. People were dying and there wasn't a spike in excitement or anything. This could be because it is told from the third person perspective. I think that this novel would have been a bit more emotional if it were told from Lorelai's perspective. 

Characters: Irina is evil and I loved every terrible thing that she did. She reminded me of a cross between Regina from Once Upon a Time and the Queen from Snow White and the Huntsman. I liked that Redwine gave her a bit of backstory but didn't detract from her evil nature. Our main characters, Lorelai and Kol, are adorable and have a strong connection from the get go. Once again, I wish there was more emotion behind their words. Did I mention there are dragons? Because there are dragons. 

Worldbuilding: Like many high fantasy novels, there are multiple lands that are in conflict with each other, and The Shadow Queen only manages to scrape the top of the iceberg. There are ogres, fae, dragons, and crazy magic wielders. I hope that these elements are explored more in the companion novels to come!

Short N Sweet: The Shadow Queen was a unique take on Snow White with unforgettable characters, unfortunately, the writing style was not for me. 


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