Hello happy readers! I hope you all had a great weekend. I worked this one but I did get some sleep and some OTC stuff and my sinuses are back to their normal irritating levels. I also had a chance to finish some great books and one I’d like to discuss today is The ShadowQueen by C.J. Redwine the first book in the Ravenspire series. I previously reviewed the Defiance series (Defiance, Deception, Deliverance) if you'd like to check them out. Clearly I went in a fan of her writing and ready to see what new fantasy was coming to life.
For those who don’t know The Shadow Queen is a Snow White retelling of sorts with the evil queen and the innocent princess and rightful heir wanting to take back her crown and save her people. Lorelai, the princess and fugitive, has one mission: killing her step mother and evil queen Irina before she completely destroys their land. They have one thing in common, magic. Irina has been using her magic for longer than Lorelai has been alive and is known as the most dangerous sorceress any has ever known. So when a neighboring kingdom Eldr, a land of dragon shifters how cool, find the war in their land with invading ogres has taken a turn they are not equipped to take on, their leader Kol will make a deal with the queen to save his land. Bring the queen Lorelai’s heart and the ogres will be stopped; the only problem is Lorelai is on her own mission to save her people and not a damsel in distress.
First side note that adds to the book love, how pretty it is. The cover is simple and perfect, even more so as you read, but the naked book…those end pages in the bright red map! OH I was so excited for them.
Now moving on to what is important, what’s inside the lovely book ends. I was in LOVE with this book from the start. The Shadow Queen starts off with a bang for sure and in the first 50 pages I was entranced and didn’t want to put it down. First Irina is evil incarnate and pretty badass, I can admit when someone is a good villain, while I never rooted for her I respected her power and her level of crazy. Lorelai was just endearing from the start in her Robin Hood type moves to try and help her people and build herself up. Plus her interactions with Leo and Gabril cemented the familial bond and I just adored them. And while I’m not personally a fan of feathered creatures in real life, hey fears run deep, still I loved Sasha and the conversations about "gifts" brought me up every time. Kol was very similar in several ways. I found him charming in the best of ways not only because of the obvious charm but for his humor and his strength of conviction to what is right and to his people. No matter how flippant he may seem in the beginning as soon as things get serious he steps up. And while he may do anything to save his people he still struggles with his decisions and find a way to continue to be honorable.
The world we are thrown into is one of magic both good and evil and so much more. I felt like I understood the world, though I still have much more to learn. This is after all the first book in a new series and the map has lots of other places on it….just saying. Plus we spent pretty much the whole time in Ravenspire and I look forward to seeing more of Eldr and the other lands. Some of the magic has yet to be expanded upon but again more books. The story moved along very quickly and there was a ton of action from chases to fights both normal and magical with never a dull moment. When you're a fugitive you can't sit still too long! We also have some romance happening and while this is a surprisingly short book it didn't feel rushed to me, it felt natural given the pacing and events in the book. Blending foes and friends and finding the right path.
Basically I loved it and think you should pick it up if you're in the mood for a face paced magical retelling that will keep you hooked from the start. I can't wait to see where Redwine takes the series next. I know throughout the book I was constantly trying to figure out what would happen and while some aspects I pegged others came about in such a different want than I expected. I'd love to hear your thoughts below on the new series in the comments below.
Until next time…