Thursday, March 10, 2016

*ARC* - The Shadow Queen - Review

The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1)

By: C.J. Redwine

Published: February 23, 2016 by Balzer & Bray

400 pages

Source: Edelweiss ARC from publisher

(Goodreads / Amazon)

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've given a few retellings a try and I seem to feel consistently rather bored by them and irritated to be reading the same story I've seen done too many times (mostly coming from movies). But with this version retelling of Snow White, I was intrigued by the dragon race of people known as Draconi, which added a nice spin to the story. This race of people are able to shift between human form and dragon form. There's also magic wielders known as Mardushka. Add in a wicked queen, ogres, princes and princesses, and you've got yourself a fairy tale.

I did have a big annoyance with the names of people and places. Could they have been more difficult to figure out how to pronounce?! I get bogged down big time by these kind of (typically irrelevant) details in a story. Thankfully the main characters all had much shorter nicknames which were normal and easily pronounced. However, it's a pet peeve I can't overlook.

The magic wielders of the story use the "heart" or "essence" of a living thing to channel their power through. This makes sense to me when it comes to living things such as people, animals, even plants and okay, I'll give them water too. But then when other inanimate objects are described as having a heart - like a wooden bridge or a concrete, nope, you lost me.

I wasn't blown away by the story but that's likely due to feeling like I was too familiar with the plot and story line. I did like it though. I enjoyed the connection between Kol and Lorelai. To be a series, this book wrapped up quite nicely with a bow. So I'm not really sure where the author plans to take the next book.

Readers who enjoy fairy tale retellings will enjoy this story.

Favorite Quotes:
"You don't go into battle because you're sure of victory," Gabril said. "You go into battle because it's the right thing to do."

"She just saved our lives. Stop looking at her like she's next in the try-Trugg-on-for-size club."

"Bloodlines and birthrights don't make someone worth following. Neither does the appearance of power. I follow you because you have the courage of a true warrior."

"The boy is trapped with his dragon heart, unable to speak, and is determined to kill you, and still he manages to turn on the charm."

Language Rating: 0 (none)
Mature Content Rating: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 3.5 stars


  1. Jessica @ a GREAT readMarch 10, 2016 at 5:31 AM

    OOh nice review! Looking forward to reading this one! From what I gathered the series plans to be other fairy tales taking place in the same world as this one. So that's why this one wrapped up!

  2. Sorry this wasn't a complete win for you. I read her Defiance series and it was only okay so I didn't request this one.

  3. You made a good point here, that because we are familiar with the story that it wow you that much. Kinda felt that myself. For me though, this book strongly reminded me of Snow White & the Huntsman, which was totally not the best re-telling of Snow White out there. But yes i agree it was likable,

    Great review :)
    do see my review of the book here
    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex


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