Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Ravenspire #1
Age Group: Young Adult
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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.
Right from the beginning, I knew I’d have fun with The Shadow Queen. A Snow White & The Huntsman retelling, it wound an intricate, compelling story around the classic fairytale arc. At just under 400 pages it’s a fairly long YA novel, but as I made it farther into the story— I realized much of the best detail would’ve been lost without the length.
Although it was predictable at times, this book held my interest continually. In the author’s defense, it’s nearly impossible to retell a fairytale without some level of predictability. Redwine uses her characters Lorelai, Kol, and Irina to draw you in and then gets in some sucker punching plot twists to make it a wonderful journey.
I did hit a few pages where I was forced to skim due to repetition. Specifically a main character, while battling a major external conflict, begins to repeat certain phrases verbatim. The overuse of phrases like, “Fire, Blood, & Death” extinguished my emotional connection to the character and made the scenario less believable overall.
The characters struggle was very back and forth, lagging and becoming too predictable. That being said, every match has its fair share of bruises. It doesn’t take too much away from the overarching story.
I would read this book again and would recommend it to most. If any of the following pique your interest — dragons, princesses, magic, creatures, adventure, family, revenge (plus a little bit of love) — you’d probably enjoy The Shadow Queen.