Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (3rd Mar 2016)
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 neighbouring 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.
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If you’re reading this, which you surely are, then welcome to the next stop on the Shadow Queen’s blog tour - aside from my review, featured on the blog today is also a Q&A from the author of The Shadow Queen, C.J Redwine who has kindly taken time to answer, brilliantly I must add - questions that I sent to her - which you can read at your leisure here.
Anyway! Thank you to Penguin for giving me a chance to get in on the action (literally) with this book which has been featured everywhere I turn, from Instagram posts to best YA lists of the year. It was about time I took a bite of the shiny red apple (yes, weak pun intended) and see what this is all about. With a stunning cover, who could resist?
I don’t read many, if at all any, fairytale re-tellings but I know there are hoards of groups dedicated to this kind of genre and book. I’m familiar with the general backstory and was interested in seeing how the author would bring this to life in a way that would make it stand out.
So on to the review we go! A badass main female lead with a claim to the throne. A guy who unwittingly falls in love her with despite the barriers against them (like an evil witch lets say).
I feel like there was a lot of potential with this book - but for me at least, it failed to hit the mark. There was a lot going on in this, in terms of all the different supernatural elements and it didn’t leave enough room to set the story without it feeling like a hodgepodge of throwing everything in and seeing how it turns out. The magical element was great and I wanted to see more world building around that.
The story in itself felt similar to many other fantasy novels that I have read though. An unclaimed, powerful heir to the throne, obstacles in her path, magical elements and to top it off a romantic interest who we have reason to believe can’t be trusted for one reason or another. Sounds very very familiar to many I’m sure - and off the top of my head, having read this I can readily compare it to Throne of Glass, The Sin Eater’s Daughter to name but a few.
Though having said that, I’m loving the flux of strong female characters that are starting to appear in a lot of YA novels - always something to be appreciated. Yet it felt like our main badass heroin lacked humility and this led her to come across as really obnoxious to me. She’s powerful yes, she’s a force to be reckoned with, yes - but the fact that she’s aware of this and continues to sprout that she’s the Queen of Ravenspire really didn’t sit well with me. *sigh* I felt like she could have been developed better.
As for our other main character, we have in the form of the prince of the neighbouring kingdom, Kol, who is waging a battle against an army of magic wielding ogres who kill his father and brother. I liked Kol - the little twist the author added in regards to him also - I liked *yes, head nodding*. But paired with Lorelai - sadly I didn’t like him as much. Their romance felt forced to me, somewhat stumbly and awksie. I can see the lure - the forbidden-ness of their romance, as he falls for the person he’s been sent to kill. But it failed to strike a match with me and burn the eternal flame of romance *lame, I know*.
Overall though, there were some good elements to the book that I did enjoy and I did finish reading this within a couple of days. But for me at least, more development on the characters would have cinched the book for me or at least taken it another star rating higher. Do I feel like after reading this that I’m more partial to fairytale re-tellings? I have to say nay. There was potential, this fairytale was probably one I like more than the others and could have really been something - but alas, twas not to be.
Thank you as always to Penguin for sending me this book for review in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour.