The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1) by C.J. Redwine
Published February 16, 2016 by Balzer + Bray
RRP AUD $19.99
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.
Upon first hearing this was a fairy tale retelling, I was so excited, after having read other brilliant stories like Heartless (!!!!!!!) and A Court of Thorns and Roses earlier this year, but also kinda wary after reading Stealing Snow recently (which was quite a let-down). I’m glad to say that The Shadow Queen did not let me down!! It had serious Once Upon a Time vibes, but that was ok with me, since I love the show, but unfortunately, some aspects of the book was too similar to the show for my liking, and I found I could predict some of the forthcoming events.
Rightio, lets get on with it! The book is split into mainly 2 PoVs, badass slaying crown princess Lorelai Diederich and dragon-morphing
prince king Kolvanismir Arsenyevnek (please don’t ask me how to pronounce that, because I really don’t know, we just call him Kol), with the occasional chapter from Irina, the Evil Queen herself. In the start, I found Kol’s chapters kind of draggy, and kinda skimmed through them to get back to Lorelai’s chapters (I know, shame on me!!). BUT as soon as Kol turned into a dragon (yes, a DRAGON), I started reading his chapters a little more in-depth, since y’know I kinda love dragons (A LOT). Both of them had distinctive voices and I enjoyed reading from both perspectives, once the story picked up.
Lorelai is quite an interesting protagonist, I love how she interacts with the other characters, especially with Gabril and her younger brother, Leo. Also, the fact that she had a bird, Sasha, that she could talk to in her mind was SO COOL. did also like how she had to work hard and train in order to be able to use her magical powers, instead of just being all “omg I have powers and I can control them super easily NO WAY”. Her magical skills were AMAZING and I loved the magic in the land throughout the novel. She’s responsible and capable of running her rightful kingdom, and she knows it.
I really loved Kol’s character. His determination to properly run his kingdom was admirable, and I loved how he was willing to sacrifice himself for his kingdom, and although his deal making skills when going to ask Irina for help could have been better, I was quite satisfied at how things turned out. His relationship with Lorelai wasn’t forced, and came about in the most unexpected of ways, which I really enjoyed. His relationship with his friends was so cute! It gave me serious Lady Sif and The Warriors Three from Thor vibes, with both parties being fiercely loyal and protective.
Reading through Irina’s chapters was really interesting, I liked seeing how her mind worked and how she felt. I actually really enjoyed Viktor and Irina’s relationship, and I thought that it helped give Irina that human-like quality most villains don’t have, but other parts were really dark and creepy. I was SO happy with what happened to her at the end of the book!
Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this book, especially those who love high fantasy tales. The story was a wonderful read, and even though The Shadow Queen is part of a series, the series is said to be a collection of various other fairy tale retellings I look forward to the next book by C.J.
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