ARC REVIEW: Shadow Queen by C.J Redwine

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Title: The Shadow Queen
Author: C.J Redwine
Publisher: Scholastic
Status: Published and available in paperback


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.


C.J Redwine is best know for her Defiance series, but now she's back with a fantastic debut in the YA high fantasy genre, The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1).

The Shadow Queen has been marketed as a female fronted epic YA fantasy, the main plot evolving from a 'Retelling' of the Fairytale Snow White. I was really excited when I received this in the post. I'd seen it on a few 'anticipated releases' lists and was looking out for it's publication date. The thing that sold me was that although the plot line had a loose base in a well known story, it had a fantastic story in it's  own right. With loose relations to the Classic Fairytale, Redwine entwined recognisable themes and objects into her own Fantasy world with seamless ease. Personally I thought the incorporations of the Snow White  story might result in the book feeling clumsy or forced, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

With Redwine's flowing writing style, the world building and descriptions of Ravenspire's Kingdoms were excellent. The pure attention to detail in the setting was amazing. Along with the inclusion of the map, it was really easy to envision the Kingdom.

My favourite component of the book was the unique take on magic. Being a frequent reader of Fantasy, both YA and Adult, the inclusion of magic can sometimes feel a bit boring and fall flat. Yet Redwine created a system like nothing I've ever read before. By touching an object and taking control over it's 'heart' our powerful fugitive Lorelai has the ability to manipulate both living and inanimate objects to her will. The description of the magic was really intense. You could feel the strain the magic put onto Lorelai, adding an aspect of realism and mortality to her, as an invincible hero is pretty boring to read about- knowing that they're going to succeed in their goal pretty much ruins the whole suspense of the story.

Redwine also explored a range of different relationships between the characters. It was refreshing to have not only a romantic relationship but for it to really emphasise the importance of friendship and comradeship. It helped build the dynamics of the book and make the character driven scenes significantly more interesting.

I think having more of a developed backstory of Lorelai's life before her flee from Ravenspire would have really helped. Although I did like Lorelai and enjoyed reading from her perspective, I couldn't help but feel slightly detached from her due to the little we knew of her past. Also, this would have allowed us to be properly introduced to Queen Irina. Her character was really unique, and spending more time explaining Lorelai's previous life would have enhanced our understanding of her, to develop our knowledge of her motives and what caused her to become so Wicked.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was fresh and innovative. My favourite components of the fantasy genre- Dragons, Magic, Fairytales- were combined in an epic way. I will certainly be picking up the sequel.
4/5 Stars

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