Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: 2/16/16 Balzer + Bray
Genre: Fairy Tale/Retelling/YA Fantasy
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Synopsis: Princess Lorelai and her brother Leo have been on the move for 9 years since their father, the king was killed by their stepmother Irina. Now residing as the Queen of Ravenspire, unaware that Lorelai and Leo have survived with the help of a once trusted guard Gabril, she rules the land with an evil, iron fist. The people of Ravenspire are slowly dying with the land under her tyrannous control. Unbeknownst to the queen, the princess is alive, seeking to save Ravenspire. Lorelai has been slowly building up a following and her strength to overthrow Irina and take back the crown that is rightfully hers, but the queen is a powerful mardushka(sorceress) and very dangerous.
During her quest, the princess encounters the young Kol. After having lost his father, mother, and older brother during an ogre attack, he has found himself the new king of Eldr. A task he was not prepared to take on. He is headed to Ravenspire on a mission of his own: to seek the powerful queen for aid in defeating these ogres that are terrorising his land with magic. The queen enters into a pact with Kol. She will save his land under one condition, he must hunt down and kill the princess she now knows exists.
But Lorelai is much more than Kol or Queen Irina could ever imagine. She is strong, fierce, and full of determination to take back Ravenspire and save her people. Will she be able to claim what is rightfully hers?
The Shadow Queen is a beautiful retelling. I may be a bit biased, as I always love a nice, dark spin on the classic fairy tales we grew up with, and this is exactly what I received. Wrap it all up in lovely packaging, and I cannot resist. I picked up a hard cover edition, and it is gorgeous. The simplistic cover conveys so much before you even open this gem, and when you do open it you discover a gorgeous map of the land! Keep it coming please.. my expectations are now set very high!
The characters are pretty straightforward at first glance. We know of their loss, and we learn of their purpose. This is a retelling after all. Wrong! The author has added so much more depth to Lorelai (I know I am going to misspell that several times before it is over), Kol and even Irina. By providing the magical elements not only to our evil queen, but the princess herself, she has developed a stronger heroine. She has added new life to Irina by slowly inserting her memories, as we learn how she became queen. It adds a more personal touch to her side of the story. And Kol and the people of Eldr are Draconi. What does this mean? Part dragon, two hearts and all!! These are not your usual suspects.
The story takes place within the same setting that we have come to know. The rich lands and castles easily unfold before you as the author vividly narrates the story, which is told in third person. The events and plot are very precise and clear. After my last read, it was nice to have a more coherent and defined read. The writing of The Shadow Queen is fluid, allowing for an easy and smooth read. There is a new air of excitement and intrigue as we follow the characters we thought we had come to know, in such a new light, and there is no shortage of action and adventure. I found myself cheering, tearful and angry at times.
While it is exactly what it appears to be, it is also an entirely new experience. This retelling is a breath of fresh air to a timeless classic.
I would recommend this read to anyone who enjoys fantasy or fairy tales. Do not forget to check out the list of incantations on the back. Pretty cool stuff!