Review: Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine

About the book:

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.

Cover of CJ Redwine's Shadow Queen

Click for the preview

Review by Katy Haye:

I don’t normally go for fairytale retellings. Nothing against them, they just rarely seem to appeal to me. However, the cover for Shadow Queen leapt out at me when I was passing Waterstones bookshop, and when I picked it up, the first few pages had me gripped.

I wanted to love the whole thing, but I’m really sorry to report it wasn’t nearly as gripping as I’d hoped. It was quite a long time between first noticing it and reading it in full, and maybe it got over-hyped in that time and I ended up with expectations that were too high for any book.

Because there’s nothing in particular I can point to as being “wrong” with it. Lorelai was a strong heroine; Kol was lovely. I didn’t like Leo’s arc, but I wasn’t supposed to. And there were some lovely touches – the enchanted apples were appallingly fabulous. I feel mean giving it 3 stars because really it’s worth 4. But my benchmark for a 4 is, Would I look out for something else by this writer? And I’m afraid I wouldn’t.

The best recommendation I can make: if you like fairytale retellings, or you like books with dragons, grab this one. If you’re indifferent towards either of those things, maybe give it a miss.

Katy Haye is reading (and reviewing) her way through the alphabet. Believe it or not, Shadow Queen was actually her “Q” book. Tune in next week to find out what she thought of her “R” read: Risuko by David Kudler.

When not reading, Katy writes speculative YA fiction. Discord “The Matrix meets Planet of the Apes” is currently available.

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