Series: Ravenspire #1
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.
3.5 Drink Me Potions
Wrought with magical battles and characters full of heart, The Shadow Queen was a nice addition to the fairy tale re-telling genre, but it just seemed to lack that little extra umph to get my heart kicking.
C.J. Redwine honestly is an amazing author. The different kingdoms she’s created are uniquely her own and the problems her characters face are reminiscent of the Snow White story but it’s not solely following its predictable path (ie. no little dwarves, my dear fellow readers).
It’s true, the story never really lacked action and suspense. Princess Lorelai is constantly in danger from being found out by her evil stepmother, another magical mardushka who would kill her the instant she realizes the girl’s not dead. From one battle to another, magic against magic, family against family, The Shadow Queen is full of interesting battle sequences. It was enjoyable and the pacing was okay, albeit a little slow in some places between fights.
The characters were golden. GOLDEN. Lorelai is fierce as a warrior but a true queen. She loves with her whole heart, to the point that she’s unwilling to hurt people who’ve been bespelled to kill her because it’s not their fault they’re willing to do her harm. She doesn’t even care that it’s to her own expense that she’s sparing them. Like, if it were up to me, I’d be a little okay with torching a few innocents if it meant staying alive to save thousands more. Clearly she’d make a better queen than I would….
She may be a great potential queen, but she’s also a loving sister. Her little brother Leo is almost everything to her. Her best friend, her confidante and someone who could make her smile even in the most serious of times. I can attest to that feeling, being a big sis myself. I adored Leo’s personality and character too. Redwine really makes them jump out of the page at you, like you can see them talking to you and not just at you.
Prince Kol was an interesting character for the role of the huntsman. I liked his dedication to save his people and to live up to his honor even when it came at his own expense. He and Lorelai are a lot alike in that area. So it’s no surprise they kinda start falling for one another.
The main thing that maybe prevented my rating from skyrocketing is that I didn’t feel the chemistry between them all that strongly. Yes, they were friends and allies over time, and they admired each other for their strength of will. It helps that they each tried saving the other. But love? It was a little more difficult to grasp that underlying emotion. For a fairy tale, I’m pretty sure the love aspect of the story should be a strong component of it.
I wish I could say I loved this, but I will at least say that I enjoyed the adventure while it lasted. And I can’t wait to see what other stories Redwine is going to craft from the other kingdoms she’s briefly mentioned in this book. I do suggest you give it a try. My lower-than-expected rating may only be a “picky me” thing.
With lots of spunk and action galore, The Shadow Queen is a nice re-telling of Snow White with plenty of additional magical creativity and world building. The characters were fierce and brilliant, truly an original personality crafted from Redwine’s imagination. Lorelai in particular is a great protagonist with the heart of a good queen and the spirit of a warrior. I enjoyed her relationship with her younger brother and even with Kol. Their romantic chemistry was a bit lacking in my opinion, but overall, this is one story I would still recommend you read, especially for others like me who adore a good fairy tale re-telling.
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