Thursday, February 18, 2016

ARC Review: The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine

The Shadow Queen
Author: C. J. Redwine
Publication: Balzer + Bray (February 16, 2016)

Description: A dark epic fantasy inspired by the tale of Snow White, from C. J. Redwine, the author of the Defiance series. Perfect for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses and Cinder.

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 of his own—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.

My Thoughts: THE SHADOW QUEEN was an excellent fantasy reminiscent of Snow White (but without the dwarfs.) Lorelai fled the palace with her younger brother when her stepmother Irina kills her father and makes a grab for the throne. The are protected by a loyal guard named Gabril and have have spent nine years honing her magical powers and surviving in a land the Irina is draining.

King Kolvanismir has come from the neighboring kingdom of Eldr after the death of his father, mother, and older brother at the hands of ogres who are invading the kingdom. He feels that his only choice is to beg for help from the Queen of Ravenspire who has magic that could save his kingdom. Kol and the other people in his kingdom are two-hearted. They have human hearts and dragon hearts and can shift into dragons but they can't defeat the ogres.

When Kol and his companions first come to Ravenspire they need to be rescued by Lorelai, her brother, and Gabril when they run into a starving mob who want anything they have. After the rescue, they head on the palace where Kol makes a horrible deal with the queen. He agrees to find Lorelai and bring her to the queen in return for the queen using her magic to return the ogres to their previous prison. Kol doesn't know that the girl who rescued him is the princess the queen wants.

When Kol finds Lorelai and realizes that he owes her a debt, he has to fight the compulsion that the queen has laid on him. They come up with a plan to fool the queen. But it fails and the queen takes Kol's human heart and sends him after Lorelai again. This time it is much harder for Lorelai to reach Kol because he has lost his human heart and his dragon is bent on obeying Irina.

Kol is still fighting and Lorelai is using all her magic to help him remember his human life. Kol has lost his human voice and can only speak mind-to-mind with Lorelai. The two become very close because they know each other's thoughts. They gradually go from friendship to love. But Lorelai still has to find a way to defeat the queen who will do anything to hold on to the kingdom she stole.

This book was wonderfully exciting. It was filled with action. It had a very believable romance. It had a villain whose motives were realistic for her. She felt that she was always unloved and passed over and was determined to get what she felt she deserved no matter the cost. And the villain does pay a great cost when she chooses to kill the only one who has ever really loved her. All of the main characters were well-rounded people who had both strengths and weaknesses.

Fans of fantasy will love this one and be very glad they got to know Lorelai and Kol.

Favorite Quote:
As they left the campsite behind and moved through a grove of trees with crumbling trunks and bare, shriveled branches, Gabril said, "A warrior doesn't focus on the odds stacked against her. She focuses on her heart, on her will to face the evil in her world and defeat it, and then she finds a way to do it."
I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. OOoh nice! I have this in my TBR pile now and I cannot wait to read it! I loooove a good fairy tale retelling! Glad to hear you enjoyed it! Great review!


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