The tone, the romance, the world-building, everything about this book absolutely resonates with the magic of classic Disney Princess movies, and proves that C.J. Redwine is a true master of the fairy tale retelling.
The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
I recommend pairing this Queen Millionaire Waltz Malbec with this read, which is dark and royal and perfectly suits Irina’s character!
*All wine recommendations are for strictly for those of legal drinking age only.*
It’s All In The Details
- Title: The Shadow Queen
- Author: C.J. Redwine
- Publisher: Balzer + Bray
- Pub Date: February 16, 2016
- Pages: 387
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.
There are some FABULOUS retellings coming out this month, so in order to get ready, I FINALLY read C.J. Redwine’s The Shadow Queen. And I’m so glad I did. This is one of the most well-written retellings that I’ve read to date. It’s got all the originality of Gregory Maguire’s retellings, but with a lighter, Disney-esque tone.
The characters in this book were absolutely charming, as one would expect. I adored Lorelai as the main character. She was strong, caring, and basically had all the wonderful characteristics of the original Snow White. Prince Kol, however,put Prince Charming to shame! I mean, on top of being strong, sweet, and hunky, he’s half dragon! There were also a handful of other fabulous characters, that I just fell in love with. I have to say that my FAVORITE character was killed off in this book (I won’t say who), but that just about killed ME. Oh my gosh, I was absolutely gutted. I love it when an author can make me really feel something when they kill off a character, but this one was ROUGH.
Irina made for a FANTASTIC villain. She was certainly one of those baddies that you just love to hate. The chapters from her POV were the most entertaining chapters for me. I found her perspective absolutely fascinating. She was so complex, and her backstory was so perfectly awful. I would read a book just about her ANY. DAY.
The storyline was really strong and certainly deviated enough from the original Snow White story to keep it from becoming predictable. I really enjoyed the magic system, and how it was limited to just a very few individuals in the world. It made the possession of magical power really translate into having political power as well, which made it all the more difficult for Irina to be defeated and, therefore, also increased the stakes.
And there be DRAGONS in this book!!! Any fantasy/fairy tale book that has dragons gets bonus points IMO.
There were some elements in the story that bordered on the dark and creepy, and I do wish that C.J. Redwine would have played that up a bit more. I personally prefer more of that slightly creepy classic fairy tale vibe over the Disney fairy tale vibe, but I think I’m probably in the minority in that opinion.
I really did enjoy reading this book, and I’m so looking forward to reading The Wish Granter this weekend! It comes out next Tuesday the 14th, but I get to share an exclusive excerpt with all of you on Monday the 13th as part of the blog tour! So definitely watch for that! This is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, which just happens to be my very favorite fairy tale of all time!
This is REALLY cool cover. I love the black, kind of sweaty-looking apple, which is very symbolic of Irina’s dark magic and the decay she’s spreading throughout the lands. While the cover seems to be more about the antagonist of the story than the protagonist, it’s just so striking. And I kind of enjoy having a cover that’s more about what’s wrong in the world of the story instead of what’s right with it. Very original and cool.
As I said previous, Kol puts Prince Charming to SHAME. He is just so much more interesting. The fact that his people are part dragon is AWESOME! And I also loved that he had both a dragon heart and a human heart. Watching him struggle to tame that beastly part of himself for Loralei was so much fun and also totally swoon-inducing!
C. J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and any movie starring Johnny Depp. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy and the Ravenspire series, including the New York Times bestseller The Shadow Queen. If the novel-writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband and children. You can visit C.J. online at http://www.cjredwine.blogspot.com.
Have any of you read The Shadow Queen yet? Are you going to be reading The Wish Granter when it comes out next week? Don’t forget to come visit on Tuesday for an excerpt of The Wish Granter!