Title: The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1)
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: February 23rd 2016
Buy on: Amazon | B&N | BookDepository
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 a fantasy book that is loosely based on the story of Snow White with some variations.
Lorelai Diederich is the heir to the kingdom of Ravenspire and early in the story (like the original) her mother dies, so there is only her, her younger brother Leo and her father, but due to an alliance he must remarry with a royal from the Morcantian Kingdom, so he remarries Irina, Lorelai´s maternal aunt which is a mardushka (woman with magical powers). But once she´s crowned as Queen Irina, she begins to magically manipulate the whole kingdom to do her will, and the only one that she does not manipulate magically is Lorelai, which is also a mardurshka. But when Lorelai tries to free her father from the spell, everything goes wrong and Lorelai needs to flee and save her life and that of her younger brother. And for the next nine years she is in hiding and preparing magically to someday face Queen Irina so she can regain her kingdom.
For its part, the part of the hunter-prince charming belongs to Prince Kol, he´s from the Kingdom of Eldr and he´s a Draconi, (he can transformed into a dragon), but because his kingdom is at war with the ogres and to win the war he needs magical help, he seeks help from the Queen Irina, who accept to help him with the condition that he must hunt, capture and deliver Lorelai to the palace, but despite Kol willing to do everything to save his kingdom, when he finally manages to capture Lorelai, he can not keep up with his orders and releases her (like the hunter does in the story), but when Kol faces Queen Irina, he realizes that she is not someone that can be easily fooled and he must pay the price for trying to trick her.
What I liked most of The Shadow Queen is that even though most or some elements closely resemble the original (I have not read the original story but inquire about it), there are variations of the original elements such as: the magic mirror, but with the difference that for the Queen Irina beauty is not as important as power.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most powerful of them all?"
Other elements that remain are the hunter (which in this case is also the prince charming that can transform into a dragon), there is also magic and apples spellbound. Among the differences is that there are not seven dwarfs, glass coffin and that Lorelai (Snow White) is a warrior and a mardurshka (magical person), so she is not a helpless princess.
Overall, The Shadow Queen is a good retelling, dark, with interesting characters and is a standalone, Lorelai´s story begins and ends here, but it has companions novels that take place in other realms within the same world.