Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Review: the Shadow Queen

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine 

Released: February 23, 2016
Read: February 2016
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Format: ARC, 400 pages
Series: Book #1 in the Defiance series

Description on Goodreads:
    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.

    When I first saw the cover of the Shadow Queen, I knew I was going to love it. I always get swept away in fairy tale remakes, but this one was different from the others. In other remakes I've read, like Dark Shimmer and A Kiss In Time, the main plot was largely unlike the original plot of the fairy tale. The Shadow Queen's plot was almost bang on, other than the dwarfs and the minor factor of the dragons.
    I felt that having more than one kingdom in the story was very realistic. Of course there wouldn't be just one kingdom! It would be foolish to think otherwise. The ties between Ravenspire and Eldr were perfectly crafted. Eldr was desperate and needed help with the Ogre War, and Ravenspire was going through a depression thanks to the 'flawless' queen. The connecting piece between both problems was Queen Irina, who needed a huntsman to take care of her Lorelai issue. And with that, a deal was struck between the King of Eldr and Queen Irina, setting the stage for the rest of the story.
    Lorelai and Leo, also known as the Royal Rogues, were written exceptionally to fit their role as siblings. They seldom fought, which I guess is normal for them, and teased each other mercilessly. There was certainly a balance between them; Lorelai was way more strict and always serious, while Leo was outgoing and dramatic. He had flair while she wished she did. Although their personalities were the polar opposite of each other, they looked exactly alike. With their pale complexions, bold brown eyes and ebony hair, they could pass as twins if Leo was older. They are easily the most interesting and fun siblings I've ever read about.
    Now on to the scaly side of things. If Kol wasn't fictional and went to a normal, non-dragon high school, he'd be the prankster/jock type. He'd be the one flirting with all the girls but never having a girlfriend, and the one pissing off all the teachers. Being a prince, he could get away with all of it, but not as a king. At the beginning of the novel, he was forced to accept the weight of the crumbling Eldr and to bear the loss of his family. For the young prankster that he has always been, that's a lot of responsibility. This weight he bore showed in all of his decisions and every action he made. When he flew to Irina and offered to help Ravenspire's people, his motives were clear. And when he tried sneaking off and leaving his friends behind where it was safe, you could see where his loyalties lied. Kol didn't really think about what risks he put himself in, he just did what needed to be done to help those he loved.
    Overall, the Shadow Queen is a very compelling read that leads you on a journey where magic strives, ogres conquer, and dragons are nicer than you would think. I am definitely going to read the next book in the Defiance series when it releases.

Favourite Quotes:

  • "You don't go into battle because you're sure of victory. You go into battle because it's the right thing to do." 
  • "We could just head to the capital now and yell, 'Surprise, you slimy coward! We're not dead, but you're about to be!' and then you can turn her into a pile of fungus."
  • "You two display such a staggering lack of imagination, it's a wonder I survive."
  • "The only people who aren't prey are those smart enough and strong enough to become the predator."
  • "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 believe in you, and I've fought for you, because in a world full of people who crumble before an evil too terrifying to comprehend, you put up your fists and fight."

Rating: 9/10

Recommended if you like: Fairy tales, Snow White, books about overthrowing a king/queen, revenge/vengeance, Alex Flinn novels, adventure, romance, fierce female leads

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