I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
Series: Ravenspire #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 16, 2016
Source: the publisher
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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.
The Shadow Queen was one of my most anticipated books of 2016. I attempted to read it months ago when it first came out, but my reading slump was in full force. I was really worried my slump would effect how I felt about this book, so I put it down each time I tried to pick it up. But in the last few months, my reading slump has finally trickled off and I was finally able to pick this up and get past the first chapter and I’m SO glad I waited! I was able to truly enjoy it – without fear of my reading slump – and I LOVED LOVED LOVED IT!!!
I LOVED Lorelai. She’s so fierce and fiery. I kept picturing her as Adelaide Kane in Reign (AKA: Mary, Queen of Scots). She pushed forward despite the tragedy and loss she faced. She never lost sight of her end-goal and what it meant for not just her, but everyone in her kingdom. She’s definitely one of my favorite characters of 2016!
Leo was the comical relief of the book. He kept Lorelai focused, while keeping her from drowning in the tasks she had to face. I was incredibly shocked with the twist in his story, though. I kept thinking it was a fake-out, that it couldn’t be true. But, sadly, it wasn’t a fake-out. I also loved Gabril and everything he represented. He was like Lorelai’s rock. Several times, I feared for his safety and sanity. But I’m satisfied with how his story ended.
Kol was.. Whoa. I don’t even know where to begin without risking spoilers. He was incredibly (mentally) strong, despite the events that unfolded in the beginning of the book. And he went through a lot of strife – more than what one person should have to deal with. But time and again, he pushed through. I loved where his story ended!
Trugg and Jyn were epic. They were the perfect “I hate you but I want to kiss you” couple. They were also super loyal and willing to sacrifice everything to protect Kol and their people. I kept picturing Trugg as Kellan Lutz.
Irina reminded me a LOT of Queen Levana from the Lunar Chronicles. It’s crazy how convinced she was that she was in the right, that everyone betrayed her and she’s justified in seeking her revenge – and that makes her the scariest type of villain there is, because there’s no reasoning with her or convincing her she’s wrong.
This book was such an emotional rollercoaster. One second I was ready to cry, the next I was laughing my butt off and then I was ready to cry again. Sometimes I wanted to happy-cry and sometimes my heart broke so hard for the characters. It was just incredibly tense and very heart-in-your-throat and I loved every single second of it! I wish there was a sequel, but I’m very satisfied with how it ended.
Overall, if you couldn’t tell, I ADORED this book. It had gorgeous writing, epic world-building and characters that I cared about with all my heart. I highly recommend it for those who love fairy tale retellings (it’s a Snow White retelling!) and for fans of CJ Redwine, a master storyteller and an author who is now forever on my auto-buy list!