Blog Archive

View My Stats
Friday, April 8, 2016

"The Shadow Queen: Ravenspire Novel 1" by C.J. Redwine (Reviewed Cindy Hannikman)

Visit C.J. Redwine's Website Here 

OVERVIEW: 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.

FORMAT: The Shadow Queen is a YA fairytale retelling of the Snow White story. It is more like Once Upon a Time and Snow White and the Huntsman than the Disney version.

The Shadow Queen is the first novel in a series of fairytale retellings. The series is titled Ravenspire. Each novel, while occurring within the same world, is a standalone novel.

The Shadow Queen stands at 387 pages and is told from multiple POV, including Princess Loralai, The Evil Queen, and Prince Kol. It was published February 16, 2016 by Balzer + Bray.

ANALYSIS: There is something about the Snow White fairytale that makes people want to retell it using their own twists and turns. Even with the growing popularity of fairytale retellings, the Snow White fairytale seems to be one of the top 'go to' stories to retell. The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine jumps on the bandwagon with a new version of Snow White.

In many ways, The Shadow Queen is your typical Snow White story. There is the young, extremely pretty princess who is on the run from her evil stepmother – who just so happened to overthrow the princess and claim the throne and is now ruling with an iron fist. While on the run, this young princess is trying effortlessly to gather followers who will be willing to fight for her and help her claim the throne. Of course, there is some magic thrown in here and there.

While, for the most part, The Shadow Queen is the same-old-same old Snow White retelling, it does have a few twists and turns that make it unique. In this case, readers are introduced to Prince Kol from the neighboring kingdom which happens to be at war with a band of ogres. Kol, and his entire kingdom, are some type of hybrid creature that can shape-shift into dragon form at will. Even though they are powerful dragons, their country is losing the war, which forces Kol to go on the offensive and travel to the evil queen's kingdom to seek help. Unfortunately, things don't go as expected.

The Shadow Queen has some twists and turns, but is it enough to make it stand out from the crowd. Sadly, I'm not entirely sure it does. The entire story followed a little too closely to Snow White and even ABC's Once Upon a Time for my liking. This left me with a feeling of been there, done that, even with the strange – almost randomly forced into the novel - dragon/human twist.

Add in the rather slow pacing that occurred within The Shadow Queen, and there were times where I was just plain bored. There were brief moments of excitement and action, but those were few and far between. For the most part readers were given lengthy descriptions and chapters upon chapters of the princess wandering around, looking for help, and grumbling that she has powers but doesn't know how to use them and she's afraid she won't be able to defeat the evil queen.

The random ogre/dragon war didn't help the pacing of the novel. It seemed to be more distracting and it didn't really serve much of a purpose to the storyline other than to bring the prince into the novel and get him into the kingdom. There was a lot of time spent on this part of the novel and I just feel that time could have either been cut out or used to create more action/adventure within the novel.

There were some parts of The Shadow Queen that I enjoyed. I found it portrayed the evil queen's dark magic in a way that can only be described as pure evil. I really enjoyed the scenes where we saw the extent of the dark magic and what the evil queen could do.

Another element I really enjoyed was the way apples were incorporated into the story at least when it came to how the evil queen used them as punishment. It was creepy and evil, and probably the best part of the book.  

The Shadow Queen does have some romance involved, but it wasn't insta-love. This made it easier to accept, but the sluggish pacing just really made me want to skip over the romance and try to find something of action or substance.  

Overall, The Shadow Queen really doesn't stand out in regards to fairytale retellings. It wasn't horrible, it just didn't have that 'it' factor people look for when it comes to fairytale retellings or even YA fantasy novels for that matter.  

If you are a fan of Snow White or love fairytale retellings, this will probably be a satisfying read. If you want the familiar feel of Snow White, yet with a unique twist, you will probably be disappointed.


Becky G said...

This one looks so good! My girls have been looking for a great series to get into. This one may be the one! They are reading Snowflake River by Ben Eliahu. They both have said that it's been their favorite book read this year! That's a big deal for them.

Follow by Email


Click Here To Order “The Combat Codes” by Alexander Darwin!!!

Order HERE


Click Here To Order “Grievar's Blood” by Alexander Darwin

Order HERE


Click Here To Order “The Arkhel Conundrum” by Sarah Ash!!!
Order HERE


Click Here To Order “The Company Of Birds” by Nerine Dorman!!!
Order HERE


Click Here To Order “The True Bastards” by Jonathan French!!!
Order HERE


Click Here To Order “Rumble In Woodhollow” by Jonathan Pembroke!!!
Order HERE