The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
Book 1 in the Ravenspire series
Published: February 16th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
“Her skin was as white as snow, her lips as red as blood, and her long hair as black as ebony.”
This has been on my shelf for a few months and I finally took it off and read it! It is your basic re-telling of a fairy tale, but with a twist! I couldn’t help but think of The Lunar Chronicles and Once Upon a Time while reading, if only because it was a Snow White retelling. This series will be standalone novels set in the same universe. I liked that this story had almost all of your traditional elements, but Redwine made it her own by adding more magic, dragons, and ogres!
“A warrior doesn’t focus on the odds stacked against her. She focuses on her heart, on her will to face the evil in her world and defeat it, and then she finds a way to do it.”
Plot wise this story moved pretty well. Lorelai and her crew didn’t stay in one area for too long and each new location was an adventure. I enjoyed the use of magic in this story, but I wish Redwine explained the ogre invasion a little bit more and how they used magic against the dragons.
“Irina’s smile disappeared. “I don’t require all of the princess, huntsman.”
I really loved the characters and their development in this story. You felt for Lorelai and her cause as the lost princess of Ravenspire. You couldn’t help but be charmed by the huntsman and his resolve to save his people even if it meant making a deal with Irina. You also couldn’t help but be a little sympathetic for Irina (although she wasn’t as big and bad as Levana in TLC), although the sympathy didn’t last very long.
“You don’t go into battle because you’re sure of victory. You go into battle because it’s the right thing to do.”
I have some complaints about this story (for instance the world building could have been a little bit better), but they are very minor in comparison to how much I enjoyed it! If you are looking for a classic Snow White retelling with a more fantasy aspect, then definitely check this book out! If you’ve read this book already, I would love to know what your thoughts on it are!