The Shadow Queen

The Shadow Queen

A Ravenspire Novel

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In this retelling of Snow White follows the adventures of Lorelai, an exiled princess who is being pursued by a magic-wielding prince serving as the personal huntsman for evil queen Irina, who has charged him with bringing her Lorelai's heart.
Publisher: New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062360243
0062360248
Branch Call Number: YA REDWINE
Characteristics: 387 pages : map ; 22 cm

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k
koiishi22
Oct 02, 2017

DNF stopped on 238, i dunno i wanted to like it but i couldnt connect

n
Nymeria23
Jan 29, 2017

If you love Snow White, fairytale retellings, or simply enjoy books on magic, dragons, betrayal, loss and love, this may be a good book for you (but that's just my opinion).
Having been on the run since they were little, the presumed dead siblings and true heirs to the Ravenspire throne carefully maneuver their way across their lands in secrecy, raiding the false queens' food supply to give back to their starving people as Lorelai, a mardushka (descendant from the magic-wielders of Morcant like the Queen) trains to strengthen her magic and plans a perfect plan to take down Irina.
In a neighboring kingdom, Prince Kolvanismir prepares himself to face his father's disappointment
when he learns of Kol's third expulsion from the Academy; but he prepares in vain. While taking his wife and eldest son of a tour of the ogre war-front, the King, Queen and Prince are killed, leaving Kol the new reigning Eldr King. But how can he save his people from a force so impenetrable? He'll do anything he needs to save his kingdom, even if it means making deals with the magical Queen of Ravenspire.
But nothing goes quite according to plan for the two protagonists, and soon they'll find themselves wondering if they can survive the pain of the past and the torture of what's to come.
My only complaint with this book is also something I rather enjoyed about it; it was very fast-paced. I loved how it didn't lose my interest by skipping some unnecessary part of the book and jumping right into the action (the reader didn't have to read what four days of travel through the woods was like, instead they are given a sort of Sparknotes version at the beginning of the next chapter). However,, I did feel like I wanted to connect to the characters just a little bit more. I realize this is pretty much a standalone novel and that makes intense character development hard to accomplish while getting through an entire storyline, but I just craved the close interactions and deep understanding of the people I was reading about. I got to give the author props though, she did a fairly good job with this, and that made me love the scenes with Kol and Lorelai even more because this character development and empathy link between reader and protagonist seemed very strong in these moments.
Lorelai was an amazingly strong heroine, both with and without her magic which was truly inspiring, and I love how the damsel of the story is constantly saving the 'knight' instead. Kol was great as well, and I just wish that either the book had been longer or that there was another one to come because the deep potential of these two protagonists was so huge that I can't tell if it was fully portrayed or not. Great story, very enjoyable

AL_CATHERINE Nov 30, 2016

With an evil queen far scarier than those found in most Disney Snow White retellings, a strong "Snow" that is definitely not going to fall for the apple trick, and a shapeshifting dragon/huntsman, this book is fast-paced and entertaining! I loved it!

g
goddessbeth
Oct 21, 2016

Well, just look at that cover. It's gorgeous and disturbing and lovely.
As for the content within:
I liked that Lorelai's key heroic feature was her constant analyzation and awareness of the world around her. She was very general-esque in that way, and I also liked that her father figure and her brother deferred to her about it, which means we don't have to wade through the setup of her proving herself. She's a capable sorcerer at the start, and also compassionate.
She's also very focused on her mission, despite her attraction to Kol.

I enjoyed the way magic works in this book, which is very elemental but tied to language and intent. I also thought the Draconi was a clever concept- Redwine clearly thought out a lot of the human/dragon shapeshifter side issues (like how none of them are bothered by being naked, since they are every time they shift).

It's also got a lot of nods to the tale of Snow White (in addition to the overall plot, as a retelling). Apples play a hefty part, as does the mirror, the heroine's coloring, the removal of hearts (harkening back to Once Upon a Time), etc. I think the romance was handled well, too.

There was also no glossing over the consequence of loss, so even though Lorelai's grief felt more reflective than genuine-gut-punch-recent-loss, it was nice to see her having to slog through that and not just shrugging it off.

The things I was frustrated by:

The quips and wit and full-on conversations while people are running for their lives. It's unrealistic and reduces the tension and danger of the scene. Also, it makes her brother more plot device (the plucky, funny sidekick) than character.
It was nice to see that the evil queen is ruthless, but I never felt like there was a point behind her cruelty. She didn't seem to enjoy the power she was going to great lengths to wield, so she was a vague threat instead of a complex individual. Also, every scene with her felt like rewatching season 1 of Once Upon a Time (back when Regina was chewing scenes).
The parkour craziness. Physics and the strains of human skeletal systems aren't burdens Lorelai has to deal with, I guess?
How much pain can a demi-person take? Enough to be boring and repetitive and unbelievable (days of agony and fire and on and on and on).
Overall it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, but it was a solid retelling of Snow White. I won't be continuing the series, but if you like standard YA fantasy and fairy tale retellings, you may enjoy it more than I did.

h
HannahMcD
Jul 22, 2016

omg i loved this book. i love fairy tale twists and this is a great example. i liked how there's adventure, action and bit of romance too. totally recommend this to anyone

n
nidofito
Jun 14, 2016

There's a very Tamora Pierce-esque feel to this book. And similarly, can be enjoyed by a younger audience. Sure, the magic isn't explained very well, and things start to drag and get repetitive (especially in Kol's case) but it's a fun, straightforward (though lengthier than necessary) story. And I loved Leo and Larelai. I also liked how the author tried to bring some conscience and guilt into Irina. Makes her character a little grey instead of just pure black evil (which she was)

g
Gingergenius
Jun 03, 2016

This reads like fanfiction... I couldn't finish it. The overall concept and story isn't awful, but the execution leaves much to be desired.

s
scifiandscary
Apr 27, 2016

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine is the best example of a re-telling that I’ve come across. At least the way a re-telling is defined in my head. I’ve read a couple others by other authors (Cinder, Alice), and while they were definitely good, they fell short of the mark of what I’d envisioned when I picked up the books. The Shadow Queen met every single one of my expectations. This is the fairy-tale I was waiting for.

The Shadow Queen gets slammed on Goodreads, being called mind-achingly dull, completely boring, and generic. That it’s like every other YA dystopian book out there. I would like to take a minute to just address that with a big, fat: What?! No. Just no. I will willingly agree that there are some typical elements, but considering the sheer amount of books on the market, that’s kind of to be expected. There’s no love triangles. I repeat, there are no love triangles! This is, also, a re-telling, so of course the princess is going to be beautiful. But, this princess also kicks butt. There’s a scene at the end which calls in Snow White’s affinity for animals – especially birds – in a way that just had me grinning ear to ear because that was the very last thing I had expected to happen.

The descriptions are pretty basic. The author doesn’t go into reams of details like you find in some of the typical fantasy books. The cast of characters is kept small and intimate. Some of the scenes were memorable and sometimes they were heartbreaking. I loved that the Wicked Queen had moments where she was portrayed as a human being. That not every second of her existence was wrapped in evil. I liked that she tried to justify her actions. I mean, its glaringly obvious that she was twisted and wrong, but Redwine wrote her in a way that you could see where her crazy started.

There were only two times I felt a little bit gipped. The first one was in the lack of follow-up with the orcs. I would have liked to have seen at least a paragraph addressing their destruction or retreat, whatever it was that happened. Unfortunately, the last one was during the climax of the book. There was one scene that just seemed a bit too easy/glossed over, but the scene immediately following it made my Disney-loving heart go pitter-patter and gooey. Plus, the action scenes were just awesome, and I love that the one character stayed with Lorelai. That neither she or Kol forgot him or put him aside in any way.

No, I couldn’t look you in the eye and say that The Shadow Queen was completely original and innovative. That would take a level of delusion even I can’t reach. However, what I can tell you, is that it was a book I thoroughly enjoyed and was able to embrace it in the spirit of what it was. This was one of those books that when you finish, you set it aside, give a long stretch, and just sigh in absolute contentment at your satisfaction with a great yarn.

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blue_dog_8329
Apr 06, 2017

blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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