Thursday, April 21, 2016
The Shadow Queen - "Mirror Mirror On The Wall...."
AUTHOR: C. J. Redwine
PUBLISHER: Balzer & Bray
PUBLISHING DATE: February 16, 2016
FROM 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.
MY THOUGHTS: In my opinion, "The Shadow Queen" is a strong addition to the YA world of retellings. For those who don't know, this book is a retelling of Snow White and while I kept having flashbacks to the TV series "Once Upon A Time," there really is no true comparison. When Lorelai Diederich was young, her mother was killed in a tragic accident. Her father, King of Ravenspire, eventually remarried his wife's sister, Irina, and basically the kingdom was never the same. As the book opens, King Diederich is killed by the wicked Queen Irina and Lorelai and her brother, Leo, take off with their trusty guardian Gabril and spend years living on the run. Over the course of evading Queen Irina, who initially believes the whole family is dead, Lorelai and her companions plot and plan to regain Ravenspire, which Irina is running into the ground. Along the way, Lorelai encounters "the huntsman," in the form of Kol, a human/dragon shifter from the land of Eldr.
This book is packed full of action and lots of characters. I really enjoyed Lorelai, who is a strong female lead who loves to fight, plan and oh, did I mention, use magic. Her bond with Leo and Gabril is touching and Redwine manages to avoid the "insta-love" plague while still creating a strong interaction between Lorelai and Leo. Irina is evil done at its best and on a personal note, I am surprised I managed to get through this book without nightmares because Irina's pet is a large poisonous black snake which she can communicate with and which loves to sit around her neck and sleep on her bedpost at night (yuk)! However, Lorelai's animal companion, Sasha the gryfalcon, has the complete opposite effect and is a fun addition to the tale. The concept of hearts plays a vital role in the book, just like in the original Snow White, but it goes so much further and is fun to watch play out.
Basically if you like retellings, then I would say you should at least give this one a try. I don't pick up a lot of them, and there seems to be plenty out right now, but I am not sorry I grabbed "The Shadow Queen" from my local library when I saw it had arrived. Seeing as there were no real cliffhangers in this book, I am interested in knowing where Redwine plans on taking the Ravenspire series, as I believe this is only the first installment.
RATING: 4 PAWS
CASSIUS' THOUGHTS: I'm so excited...Mom is letting me do my first review because "The Shadow Queen" features a gryfalcon named Sasha and I am the bird-lover in the family and she's so great and I want one...(need to take a breath). Sasha is Lorelai's companion and because Lorelai saved her with magic when she was a baby, they have a bond and can read each others thoughts (Mom and I do that sometime). Anyway, Sasha is brave and smart and she sounds really pretty. She also has a great bird sense of humor. She is fiercely loyal to Lorelai which I can relate to as I love my Mom, Dad and even Booker T. I really really want a grylfalcon and Mom says when I find one I can have it - Booker T says she is "humoring" me but I'm not sure what that means. Anyway, I'm getting a gryfalcon, I'm getting a gryfalcon!!!!!!!