Review: The Shadow Queen  by C. J. Redwine

Review: The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine

The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine
On Sale Date: February 16, 2016
Juvenile Fiction \ Fairy Tales & Folklore
Ages 13 And Up, Grades 8 And Up
Published by Balzer + Bray
400 pages
Source: ARC from Publisher
My Rating: 4 Stars
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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.

THE SHADOW QUEEN is a dark, fairy-tale inspired fantasy that takes favorite elements from SNOW WHITE and gives readers and fans of retellings an exciting new rendition filled with some surprising twists and exciting additions to the story. 

There is, of course, the evil queen who wields her dark, nefarious magic and the mysterious mirror. A surprising huntsman who is more than he seems and the exiled princess who is no damsel-in-distress but rather a fierce heroine. Even those deadly apples we all secretly fear are within the story, yet it is those twists that C.J. Redwine spins into the story that makes it so enjoyable.

One of the strongest features readers are going to enjoy is the fact that Princess Lorelai is a strong, warrior type of heroine. Exiled and on the run from the evil queen, Lorelai shows remarkable determination, strength, and cunning as she plots her way to take revenge upon the wicked queen and restore her kingdom of Ravenspire. 

One interesting difference between the original Snow White version and THE SHADOW QUEEN is the fact both Lorelai and the evil queen have hereditary magic. And, it is the process of Lorelai discovering and learning to use this magic, along with skills of battle, that completely kicked her badassness up a notch. Her acrobatic maneuvering and warrior skills impressed me and made the epic face-off moment between her and the evil queen that much more breathtaking. 

I love maps in my books and THE SHADOW QUEEN has a gorgeous, detailed map complete with traditional landmarks along with fairy tale ink art to admire which hints at future settings that a companion novel will take place in as well as revealing the beginnings of some interesting world building. 

The world itself boasts an eclectic population including Ogres and the one I was most excited about - Dragons! These Humans that shapeshift into Dragons added another fascinating facet to the story adding tension, danger, and some additional humor.

There's is a slow-burn romance, one that takes shape and form after transitioning first from being enemies to uncertain allies, then a sweetly developed friendship occurs that I really enjoyed as it turned into a wonderful romance. Please note, though, that this heroine does not let thoughts of kisses stand in her way of saving her kingdom. In fact, readers are going to love the fact that Princess Lorelai helps save the day more than once and is not in anyway a damsel-in-distress type of heroine.

THE SHADOW QUEEN is recommended for readers of dark fantasy and fairy tale retellings and those who enjoy a strong heroine to admire. I'm completely fascinated by this world and can't wait for more with the companion novel that is also set in the same world as THE SHADOW QUEEN. 

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