Thursday, March 31, 2016

Review: The Shadow Queen

The Shadow Queen
By C.J. Redwine
Published: February 16, 2016

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.

My review:

Lorelai's father was the king of Ravenspire and when the queen died, he married her older sister Irina. Like Lorelai and her mother, Irina practices magic and is a powerful mardushka. Lorelai and Irina share a close relationship with Irina teaching Lorelai about her magical abilities but Lorelai starts to notice strange things going on in the kingdom and how Irina seems to have control over everyone. Lorelai tries to save her kingdom from Irina but everything goes wrong and her father loses his life. 

Now years later, she and her little brother Leo are hiding and Irina believes they are dead. Irina's magic is destroying the land and the people are suffering. Lorelai and Leo have been stealing from Irina and getting supplies to the villages but it is not enough. They must move up their plans to overthrow Irina. Unfortunately it will be even harder than they anticipate as she now has the help of a dragon king. After the sudden deaths of his father, mother and brother Kol is not really prepared to be king but he is prepared to do what he must to save his people. He agrees to hunt down a traitor to the crown, not knowing the truth until it is too late. 

I mostly liked this retelling of Snow White especially because the heroine is not passive or perfect. Lorelai is unsure of herself and her magical ability. She feels a lot of guilt and responsibility over what happened with her father among other things. Lorelai has to learn to believe in herself and to develop her magical ability so she can defeat Irina. I thought the concept of the Eldr was interesting. We see only a little of their world but I liked what I did see. I was not a big fan of the romance however. I can't quite figure out why. I liked Kol but perhaps it was the whole "I want to kill you" thing even though those thoughts were not his own. The villain Irina is very reminiscent of Charlize Theron's character Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman. She is creepy and evil but doesn't have much depth beyond that. Perhaps I am just spoiled by Once Upon a Time which gives its villains such depth (especially since the TV show allows time for that kind of character development).

In spite of my issues with the book I still enjoyed the story and would probably read the next book which will be a companion novel set in the same world. I think readers who like twists on fairy tales and fans of Once Upon a Time or Snow White and the Huntsman would like this. I think the book may also appeal to readers who liked the Lunar Chronicles.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss

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