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. – Goodreads Synopsis
The Shadow Queen Review
The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine is the best example of a re-telling that I’ve come across. At least the way a re-telling is defined in my head. I’ve read a couple others by other authors, and while they were good, they fell short of the mark of what I’d envisioned. The Shadow Queen met every single one of my expectations. This is the fairy-tale I was waiting for.
The Shadow Queen gets slammed on Goodreads, being called mind-achingly dull, completely boring, and generic. That it’s like every other YA dystopian book out there. I would like to take a minute to just address that with a big, fat: What?! No. Just no. There are some typical elements, but considering the amount of YA Fantasy books, that’s kind of to be expected. There’s no love triangles. I repeat, there are no love triangles! This is, also, a re-telling, so of course the princess is going to be beautiful. But, this princess also kicks butt. There’s a scene at the end which calls in Snow White’s affinity for animals into play. It’s done in a way that just had me grinning ear to ear because that was the very last thing I had expected to happen.
The descriptions are pretty basic. The author doesn’t go into reams of details like you find in some of the typical fantasy books. The cast of characters is kept small and intimate. Some of the scenes were memorable and sometimes they were heartbreaking. I loved that the Wicked Queen had moments where she was portrayed as a human being. That not every second of her existence was wrapped in evil. I liked that she tried to justify her actions. I mean, its glaringly obvious that she was twisted and wrong, but Redwine wrote her in a way that you could see where her crazy started.
There were only two times I felt a little bit gipped. The first one was in the lack of follow-up with the orcs. I would have liked to have seen at least a paragraph addressing what happened to them. Unfortunately, the last one was during the climax of the book. There was one scene that just seemed a bit too easy/glossed over, but the scene immediately following it made my Disney-loving heart go pitter-patter and gooey. Plus, the action scenes were just awesome, and I love that the one character stayed with Lorelai. That neither she or Kol forgot him or put him aside in any way.
No, I couldn’t look you in the eye and say that The Shadow Queen was completely original and innovative. That would take a level of delusion even I can’t reach. However, what I will say is that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was able to embrace it in the spirit of what it was. This was one of those books that when you finish, you set it aside, give a long stretch, and just sigh in absolute contentment at your satisfaction with a great yarn.