by C.J. Redwine
Publishing date: February 16th 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
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.
Wow! I can't believe I've had such a hard time reading The Shadow Queen. It took me nearly three weeks to finish it - and that's quite a long time. This book had so much potential, but all that comes to my mind when I think about it is - boring & dull. The Shadow Queen seriously failed to deliver. And thinking this was one of my most anticipated books of 2016. I mean it's a Snow White retelling and I love Snow White. How did this go wrong? What happened there? I didn't have any major problems with the book, it was just boring. I simply didn't look forward to reading more or to knowing what happens next.
Lorelei, the rightful Queen of Ravenspire and a mardushka - a person who has magic in their blood - is set to take back the throne that is hers by birthright. To do that, she has to defeat her aunt Irina, who is also a mardushka and who bespelled everyone in the Kingdom to follow her lead, all while destroying Ravenspire lands with forced use of magic. The neighbouring Kingdom of Eldr has problems of their own. They're fighting the ogres, but nothing seems to work and to defeat them they need a mardushka's magic. When King Kol asks Irina to help his kingdom, she accepts, but in return, he has to kill Lorelei and bring Irina her heart. What Irina doesn't plan is that even if she bewitched Kol to do her bidding, Lorelei might find a way to go around it and not end up dead.
The storyline I quite liked. It reminded me a lot of Snow White and the Huntsman, a movie which I also quite liked. The only thing I had a problem with is the writing and the execution of said storyline. Even though there was plenty of action scenes and fighting, the book still managed to be boring. I don't think I've encountered something like this yet. I think through the most of the book I was just thinking, Oh God, how much more till I finish it. I even thought about DNF-ing it, but I don't really like not finishing the books I read.
The worldbuilding in The Shadow Queen is almost non-existent. We know so little things about this world that I don't even know if I could describe it. We know there are normal people. There are also mardushka's and draconi - people with two hearts. Normal heart and a dragon heart - and yes, they can shift to dragons and this is really cool. Ogres are mentioned just a few times, but I don't think I fully understand them. Also, near the end of the book, fey were also mentioned. But just mentioned. There's nothing about that. See - now you know absolutely everything about this world, so yeah, I'd say the worldbuilding really needs working on in the next book.
I haven't given much thought to the characters. They were forgettable and there was not much character development. Lorelei is this fierce girl who wants to take over the throne. Kol is a lost boy who ended up being King and is now trying to save his Kingdom. Irina is this evil queen. Gabril, a former guard, who is now Lorelei's caretaker, has pretty much no role. And Leo, Lorelei's cute little brother is the only character I actually liked, but yeah. As for the romance, I guess I liked it to some extent. I liked the connection between Lorelei and Kol, but like with the rest of the book, there wasn't anything memorable about it.
The fact that I didn't enjoy The Shadow Queen doesn't mean that you won't. Everything stated here are just my personal feelings how I felt about the book. I know that a lot of other people quite enjoyed the book, so maybe you will too. You will probably enjoy this book if you liked Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I will probably be reading the next book in the series if it's just a companion book set in the same world. If it has the same characters, I'll have to think if I'm going to read the next one.