by C.J. Redwine
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.
Thank you to Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.
THE SHADOW QUEEN, the first book of a new series of standalone fairy-tale retellings, is a retelling of Snow White with a dark twist. This was my first C.J. Redwine novel, and I was a very happy bookworm after finishing. THE SHADOW QUEEN follows the story of Lorelai, the true queen of her kingdom, before Irina took her father’s life and her throne. As the original story goes, the evil queen aspires to have Lorelai dead and appoints a huntsman to do so.
What I loved most about this book was the number of different but unique characters. All of the characters are developed so well, especially in terms of their determination to reach their goals.
Kol, by far, was my favorite; he is the new king of Eldr, a kingdom in which the people can shift into dragons. Unfortunately, his kingdom is getting attacked by ogres so he makes a deal with Irina—to kill Lorelai in return for protection of his kingdom. Kol is incredibly mentally strong. Irina takes advantage of his more primal, dragon side to kill Lorelai, but still, he manages to control himself and instead of killing Lorelai, he protects her.
Even the main villian, Irina, is well-developed. The story sometimes takes the point of view of the evil queen, so readers can experience her personal struggles and thoughts. Irina has to make some difficult decisions, and her desperation to have Lorelai’s heart is so painfully strong.
What I was most disappointed by was the early death in the beginning of the story; I won’t spill it, but I felt as if it was so unnecessary that I half-believed that the character killed would come back to life. Not only that, I did feel as if the conclusion was a bit too convenient and closed off too quickly, so I felt cut out of the story too early.
Nonetheless, THE SHADOW QUEEN was a fantastic, dark retelling of a classic fairy tale. And if you’re anything like me, standalone fantasies make me happy. I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel!
Rating: ★★★★1/2 / 5 stars
Have you read this book? If so, what were your thoughts? If not, do you plan to? Let me know!