Saturday, 23 January 2016

Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Title: The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1)
Author: C.J. Redwine

Release date: February 23rd 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eARC
Pages: 298

Source: Edelweiss

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 has once again made me fall in love with her books. I really like the concept of this series, and it's impossible not to love Lorelai and Kol. There's magic and dragons and all kinds of awesome things in here!

Lorelai is in hiding after her stepmother Irina killed her father the king and took over the kingdom. Irina rules cruelly with her magic, and though Lorelai has magic too, it's not yet enough to take on Irina. Kol is the prince of Eldr, who is suddenly given the throne when he is orphaned. Kol needs Irina's help to save his kingdom, but to do that he has to kill Lorelai. And of course, he can't bring himself to do that. Lorelai and Kol have to work together despite their dire situations to defeat Irina permanently.

Some things about this book reminded me of Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan, since I read that book just before starting this, and both main characters are in similar situations. Though the 'princess in hiding' premise seems to be popular in YA fantasy now, it's interesting to see how each author puts a different spin on it. The Shadow Queen is based on the Snow White fairytale, with Kol as the huntsman. You'd think it's a little clichéd to have the huntsman and the princess fall in love, but C.J. Redwine adds some great twists to it.

Lorelai is a fantastic protagonist - witty, brave, compassionate. You can tell right off the bat that she'd made a great queen. I liked seeing her relationship with her younger brother Leo, and her sheer determination to gain her kingdom back. It's so easy to be driven mad with revenge, but Lorelai has got her head on straight. It also helps that Leo and her father's old guard, Gabril, are there with her. Gabril is like a father to Lorelai, and he's very protective of her.

I couldn't help feeling sorry for Kol, for everything he has to go through in this book. Irina really does a number on him. But his mental strength is remarkable. Kol has a strong sense of honour and justice, and he'll always do the right thing. So he knows that he can't kill Lorelai in good conscience. He and Lorelai help each other stay on track and remain focused. They grow very close to one another over the course of the novel, because they find out things about each other that no one else knows, and they know each other's thoughts and feelings. I won't say how, I don't want to spoil anything! I did find it quite amusing how Gabril seemed like a third wheel for a good part of their journey. In addition to taking care of teenagers, he has to deal with this newfound romance between Lorelai and Kol.

There are several other things I loved about this book, especially Lorelai's gyrfalcon, Sasha. And Kol's two best friends, and Leo, and the banter between Lorelai and Kol. I want to say so much more but I don't want to make this too long. I'll just say that the thought-sharing with magic premise in the book is something I haven't seen before, and it worked very well with the plot. And I loved seeing Kol and his friends in dragon form, though I wish there had been more of that. This book is a standalone in a series of companion novels, so there's a nice, clear ending.

Though the book started out a bit slow for me, it picked up pretty soon and I was pulled into the story. I'm kinda sad this is a standalone, because I'd love to read more of Lorelai and Kol. Hopefully they'll show up in the next book, who knows!

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

3 comments:

  1. Awesome review Richa :) Yay for enjoying this book a lot :D It was a five star for me. <3 Such a perfect book. So glad you liked it :) Thank you for sharing. <3

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  2. Great review! I can't wait for this one. I have thought about requesting it, but I've never been approved by Harper. :/ Thanks for sharing!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

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  3. Yay - you enjoyed this book too! And I agree with you - the book started out slow, but once it picked up, boy, I couldn't stop reading! I adored Lorelai, and yes, she is indeed a great heroine. (And I really loved Gabril! And Kol! And everyone!)

    Fantastic review, Richa! :)

    Lyra @ Defiantly Deviant

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