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Ravenspire #1

The Shadow Queen

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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.

390 pages, Hardcover

First published February 16, 2016

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About the author

C.J. Redwine

20 books3,924 followers
**Please read my FAQ before sending any requests: http://cjredwine.blogspot.com/p/faq.html **

C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and going to the movies. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. To learn more about C.J., visit her website at www.cjredwine.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,041 reviews
Profile Image for Sasha Alsberg.
Author 8 books66.8k followers
January 25, 2016
LOVED this book! Such a phenomenal retelling of Snow White!
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
February 19, 2016
This is a book about a girl who should be queen, rounding up her band of outsiders to reclaim her stolen kingdom with some magical help. Oh wait a second, haven’t we heard this one before?

Oh yeah! Maybe I’m mistaken, but it sounds like the plot of about 80% of YA fantasy novels.

I read 5 chapters of The Shadow Queen before going to sleep the other night and I woke up the next day and couldn’t remember what book I was in. All the characters were mixed up in my head with those from every other YA fantasy and fairy tale retelling. I had to read back through the first 5 chapters to remind myself.

It's not even that there's anything to hate or make you angry about this book. It’s simply one of the most emotionless, forgettable books I’ve read in a long time. There is literally nothing to distinguish it from this completely saturated genre. Yet another one to add to the ever-growing generic pile.

From start to finish (yes, I forced myself through!), I couldn't shake the feeling that the author wrote this book with a checklist in mind. It’s like the author set out with an agenda - the intention of delivering every trope that’s been a proved seller in the past.

Generic heroine wants to reclaim kingdom... check.
Generic band of friends assisting her in reclaiming kingdom... check.
Generic prince... check.
Generic (i.e. non-existent) world-building... check.
Generic mindless action... check.

Any attempts to add detail are vague and messy. So far, just in this first volume, we've come across mardushkas (magic-wielders), dragon shapeshifters, ogres and mentions of the fae. None of these are developed very well, they're just a random bunch of supernatural whatever to stir into the pot.

You might have noticed that I haven't bothered with a plot summary. Well, just imagine the basic plot of Snow White and then form it into the generic outline of YA fantasy novels... you've pretty much got it.

Hell, this was so boring.

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February 17, 2016
Irina’s smile disappeared. “I don’t require all of the princess, huntsman.”

A chill raced over Kol’s skin. “I don’t understand. Our oath said—”

She leaned forward, her eyes pinning Kol where he stood. “You agreed to do whatever I asked of you. And I am asking you to bring me the princess’s heart.”

I feel like this book wants to be a mixture of Snow White and the Huntsman and the Grisha series and failed spectacularly at both, not least because it was so jaw-achingly dull. You've got your terrifyingly long Russian-sounding names (Kolvanismir Arsenyevnek, really?) random-ass magic that was never really explained, ogres, shape-shifting dragons, and...well, this.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most powerful of them all?”
Commence eye-rolling.

This book is generic and boring, there's no denying it. The main character is beautiful, of course.
The girl’s brown eyes were guarded. She had a smudge of dirt on one pale cheek, and her long dark curls were tangled from her sprint through the village, but even so, she was beautiful in a way that made Kol want to keep looking.
And, she can fight and do other things. Blah blah blah.
The girl’s brown eyes were guarded. She had a smudge of dirt on one pale cheek, and her long dark curls were tangled from her sprint through the village, but even so, she was beautiful in a way that made Kol want to keep looking.
Retellings are supposed to be familiar, but in order for them to be successful, it has to either have spectacular writing, or provide a different element to the original tale. This book is your general YA high fantasy/retelling and nothing more.

Read this review and more @ The Book Eaters
Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 82 books16.9k followers
August 3, 2015
Normally I avoid fairy tale re-tellings because I already know the story and how it ends. And I'm sure I'm missing lots of great stories due to this mistaken belief. I plan to change my attitude...er...now :) When my editor sent me The Shadow Queen and ask me to read it for a potential blurb - my first thought was cool cover! And it wasn't until I started reading the book that I realized it had a few things in common with the story of Snow White - those things are poisoned apples, an evil queen, and a huntsman - otherwise, it's it own story.

I really loved the characters - especially the main protagonist, Lorelai and her brother Leo. They're on the run from the evil queen who is a powerful magician. However every time she used her magic, she drains the life from the land. Lorelai wishes to restore the land and claim the throne (her father was the king). The huntsman I mentioned also happens to be able to turn into a dragon, which is a nice little twist on the fable and his kingdom is being overrun with ogres, which is why he's tricked into helping the evil queen.

This is a great fantasy story that keeps the action moving. Here's my quote for the cover: "With poison, fire, and deadly deeds, this tale is hard to put down and even harder to forget. I’ll never look at apples the same way again!"
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,244 followers
February 10, 2017
2.5 stars

The Shadow Queen is a YA retelling of Snow White. I always really love fairy tale retellings and the cover is beautiful, so color me intrigued.

The book begins with a “once upon a time” backstory that very quickly explains how the evil Queen Irina came to rule Ravenspire by killing the king and how Princess Lorelai became a fugitive at large. The story then picks up nine years later. Lorelai is determined to get her rightful throne back, but in the meantime she must get better at using magic. Magic is the most important thing when it comes to defeating Irina. That’s the one thing both Irina and Lorelai have that no one else in Ravenspire does (because they are Mardushkas, which is only passed through the bloodlines of the Morcant). Lorelai must hide from the queen until she believes she is strong enough to defeat her.

The princess hasn’t forgotten about her people who are suffering under Irina’s reign. Her young brother, prince Leo, and Gabril help her to steal food from the garrison that basically belongs to the queen and give it to the starving people of Ravenspire. This all felt pretty Robin Hood-esque to me. I appreciated the additional nod to a classic tale.

There’s another side to the story. We meet Prince Kol, the second born prince of Eldr (a neighboring kingdom to Ravenspire). The kingdom is experiencing an invasion of ogres that their own army can’t deal with due to magic. Kol’s father and brother are killed making Kol the king, even though that was always supposed to be his brother’s path. Fun twist about Eldr is that the people are Draconi meaning they can shift into dragons. Yes..Kol is a dragon too. I guess that is pretty awesome. Kol decides to go to Ravenspire in an attempt to solve the ogre invasion. He plans to make a deal with Queen Irina asking her to use her magic to defeat the ogres. What Irina wants in return leads to Kol becoming the huntsman. She wants Kol to find Lorelai and bring her to the queen.

There is a whole lot more to the plot, but that is pretty much the basis to the story. To be completely honest, at times I was bored. That’s where my rating kicks in. Other than that, I enjoyed the author’s twist on Snow White. There was plenty of action and some romance involved. The characters were a bit underdeveloped, but perhaps they were supposed to be their stereotypical counterparts.

I love the that this is the first in a series of stand alone novels. They are supposed to be set in the adjoining kingdoms we see in the map at the beginning of the novel. I hope we see some of the characters we’ve already met again. I’m curious what other retellings will be included.

If you are a fan of YA fairy tale retellings or just really love Snow White, you will probably enjoy The Shadow Queen.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review via edelweiss.
Profile Image for Pang.
416 reviews364 followers
March 9, 2016
Thank Gosh I read this!!! I LOVE the characters so much!!! The Plot might get 4 stars, but the main couple and their relatioship definitely get 5 stars from me!!! So this book got my 4.5 adorable stars!!!! \(^^D)/

No review for awhile, guys. I want to read first! LOL! Whatever if you love fairy-tale retelling, just go and read it! Gosh I love Kol and Lorelai so much, Did I just say again that I love them?
Profile Image for Mikee (ReadWithMikee).
203 reviews1,281 followers
February 27, 2016
I can't decide whether I was impressed or disappointed by this book. I loved the concepts and the world, and it reminded me a lot of the show Once Upon a Time and Snow White and The Huntsman, but I felt really indifferent towards the main character, Lorelai.

I simply did not particularly like or care for her. I actually found her to be super condescending and I don't even think she realized it. She was constantly saying, "Oh, I'm the queen of Ravenspire. I'm the most powerful mardushka in the land. Blah blah blah." We get that you're the most powerful mardushka and all but it wouldn't hurt to humble yourself even just a little. It got to the point where I just got annoyed by her and couldn't take anything she said or did seriously.

On top of that, the romance was just so cringeworthy. It felt so AWKWARD, and Kol and Lorelai had ZERO chemistry. Their dialogue was so cheesy and unoriginal. They were, by far, the most boring couple I've ever had to endure in a book. I loved Kol as a character and I loved the dragon concepts that were in The Shadow Queen, but the romance in this book made me shudder. In fact, I think Viktor and Irina's relationship, was far more intriguing than that of Kol and Lorelai's. I would have rather read an origin story about the Evil Queen and her loyal lover.

Overall, I thought The Shadow Queen was really SLOW and SUPER DRAGGED ON. There were definitely a good amount of action scenes but even then, the story still felt dull and boring to me. It took me awhile to get through it because it just put me in a reading slump. Nothing in this book really excited me and I wasn't exactly dying to find out what happens next. The Shadow Queen didn't really leave a lasting impression on me and it definitely didn't land on list of top retellings.

I'm a huge fan of everything Disney and retellings and I can see people liking this book, but this one just didn't work out for me.
Profile Image for C.J..
Author 20 books3,924 followers
October 2, 2016
I mean ... obviously I'm pretty biased here, but I love this story. :) It was so much fun to write!
Profile Image for Maria.
177 reviews165 followers
February 28, 2016
Review tk.

HarperCollins is trying to take over the world by publishing all the books with the title 'The (random word) Queen'
Profile Image for Cinda.
Author 54 books11.1k followers
December 1, 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this retelling of Snow White, enhanced with dragons (dragons are always an improvement.)
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,258 reviews8,705 followers
March 15, 2017
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

DNF at 15%.

After a prologue that with few exceptions felt like it could've been copied from the Snow and Regina plot thread from Once Upon A Time (the early version, before things got complicated with back stories), the first chapter began in what felt like the opening sequence of every bad horror movie ever.

Then came a series of stock characters, and, really . . . making a race of dragons flat is an accomplishment that no author should ever attempt to replicate.


And so, disappointed and bored, I quit.

Jessica Signature
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews717 followers
July 3, 2019
I didn't realize this was a snow white retelling, so I guess I read two books doing fairy tale retellings in a row. Lorelai is on the run, hiding out from her aunt Irina who uses her magic to control Revenspire and sit on the thrown that rightly belongs to Lorelai. It took me about a third of the book to get into the book, the book is YA and I guess I've gotten all old and sad and can't appreciate things as much so for the whole first third I was just like what is this writing. I did eventually get into it and it wasn't too bad. Its just an average YA book in my opinion. It's not particularly bad but I wasn't impressed either or in love with it. Wish there wasn't so much just telling and that there was some subtlety in the book, I don't think anything about YA books makes it so you can't do that.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews839 followers
December 30, 2015
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
Book One of the Ravenspire series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (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.

What I Liked:

I adore retellings! Especially fairy tales ones. Redwine's Defiance trilogy is one of my favorite trilogies, and as soon as I saw that she was working on a "fairy tale project", I knew I would love it. This book was delightful to read! I breezed through it so quickly - the pages could not turn fast enough for me!

Lorelai and her younger brother Leo have been hiding from Queen Irina, who killed their father nine years ago, and took the Ravenspire throne. Lorelai is the rightful queen, and she, Leo, and the former captain of the guard have been plotting to take back the throne for Lorelai. Lorelai's magic will be very important in attempting to defeat Irina. In the kingdom of Eldr, Prince Kol is now King Kol, after his father and older brother were killed by ogres. Kol strikes a deal with Irina - banish the magical-wielding ogres, and Kol will bring Lorelai's heart to Irina. But when Kol catches Lorelai, he finds that he cannot do it, and he fights Irina's control over him. Together, the princess and the dragon king could destroy Irina - but Irina is not so easy to kill.

I had no idea that this book had dragons in it! Kol and the people of Eldr are human dragons with two hearts, a human one and a dragon one. Kol is a fierce Draconi warrior who can hunt and catch prey easily - which is why Irina struck the deal with him. Who better to find Lorelai than a master dragon huntsman? Kol is honorable and noble and loyal, but unfortunately, making the deal with Irina gave her control over him. It's with Lorelai's help that he get control back, bit by bit. But Irina has his human heart, so they must destroy Irina not only to restore the Ravenspire, but to get Kol's human heart back.

So I really liked Kol. I also liked Lorelai. She is sweet and kind like Snow White, but she is also very tough and intelligent, analytical and calculating. She does not hesitate to help or heal anyone, and uses her magic in good ways. She isn't a helpful princess by any means! But she's also very kind. I love how she never gave up on Kol, despite Irina's control over him.

The story is very engaging, and I read the book in no time! It's about four hundred pages, but I literally could not stop turning pages. I will say that the first couple of chapters lagged a little, but not enough for me to be bored or starting skimming.

I do love that this book is written in third person POV, occasionally switching between Kol and Lorelai. Both of them are lovely characters to follow, with very different burdens and lives and motives. I liked both of their voices and didn't mind reading from one side or the other.

What's also interesting is that we get Irina's third person POV at times. I love how Redwine digs deep into the heart and soul of all of her characters, including the villain. I didn't hate the queen as much as one might have! Really well written by Redwine.

The romance isn't a make-or-break aspect of this book, and I like how gradual it sweeps through the story. Kol and Lorelai kind of do a 360-degree turn in their relationship - it starts well, gets poor, and then gets better again. I love their interactions, their tenacity, their determination to be good to and for each other. Cute romance and no love triangle!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I think the story here is closed - the next book in the series should be a companion novel, I imagine? Set in the same world, but with different characters? I wouldn't mind that! Which fairy tale will Redwine take us through next?

What I Did Not Like:

There is one aspect of this book that is bothering me a bit- it's something to do with Lorelai's brother, Leo. I didn't quite like his resolution, at the end of the book. It just wasn't clear, in my opinion. But I think this might be addressed in another novel? I hope I'm right!

Would I Recommend It:

I recommend this book! Fantasy fan, retellings fan, Snow White fan, this book is magical and epic and will appeal to anyone who loves a fairy tale. And hey, I'm pretty sure it's a standalone, so it's nice to know that (most) things are resolved. The ending was very resolved, in this story. Hopefully future books are companion novels!


4 stars. I have faith in Redwine's storytelling! This book did not disappoint at all. The retelling aspect was well-written, the magic was larger than life, the characters were so likable, and the romance was sweet! Sign me up for the next book!
Profile Image for Andreea Pop.
320 reviews2,137 followers
December 23, 2015
I remember loving Defiance by C.J. Redwine, even though to this day I still haven't picked up its sequels. And The Shadow Queen's awesome synopsis and its availability on Edelweiss instantly made me want to devour each and every word of it. So I did. Sadly, this resulted in my second ever 1-star rating.

This novel, this author, this story -- they all tried. And they failed miserably because they tried too much. Starting with the world, there are so many elements stuffed together in the hope of reaching total awesomeness. Firstly, there were magic-wielders called mardushkas. Then there were dragon shapeshifters with two hearts. And goddamn ogres. In the last chapters it was mentioned Fae existed in the same universe and I was like --

There were countless parallels with other books I couldn't help than notice. We have a Lissa Dragomir like ability with the heroine's -- Lorelai -- healing power that also connects the minds in a telekinesis matter upon magic use. And then we have the storyline of the huntsman -- a prince -- that gets bound to the queen's will by a collar. Well, Dorian Havilliard much? Not to mention that we're endlessly sold this idea that Lorelai is a big strategist and that she analyzes and countermoves and expects and plans -- basically a Kestrel Trajan. She's no Kestrel, that I assure you of, and she wins her battles too easily. But maybe that's just the feeling that the queen isn't a worthy villain. She should be cunning and vicious and ruthless, but she's just a shameless wannabe. Levana would have her on her knees in three seconds tops.

I was constantly in a state of boredom. However, don't mistake this for lack of action -- there were magic fights until the very end, but nothing bloody, nothing even remotely scary or adrenaline pumping to make me feel like things were about to get rough. I could've been sipping a cocktail on a beach in Bora Bora, not reading a supposedly thrilling high-fantasy novel.

I wanted to DNF this book so many times, but I wouldn't let myself. The characters are so underdeveloped and one-dimensional. Lorelai, for instance, is never once described as anything beyond her supposedly serious and brave character. I could not connect with her due to her insipid personality.

Gabril was a freaking useless character, because besides being extremely stubborn, he didn't do much of anything -- oh, except endlessly threatening to harm the prince. And speaking of the prince, he's naive and awfully generic. Not one trait made him even remotely interesting. Leo, on the other hand, I could've loved. He was what his sister should've been, but sadly he was used in a rather cliché-ish attempt at plot-development.

From beginning till end, I felt as like I was watching a low-budget Hollywood movie, with cringe-worthy special effects and God-awful script. The world-building was basically not existent and the main events had an implausible quality to them thanks to their almost flawless unfolding. I wanted a complex retelling and I got the kindergarten spin on Snow White instead.

Honestly, I did not hate a single thing about The Shadow Queen. But I did not love anything either. I did not feel an emotion while reading this (besides a moment of lmfao); it was dull, uninteresting and awfully disappointing. At least Falling Kingdoms made me angry and it somehow deserved two stars. The Shadow Queen was an all you can eat buffet that served a Snow White retelling with tiring writing, flat characters and equally boring plot.

This book could very well be a standalone, seeing there's an epilogue and the story came full circle as far as the retelling goes. The reasons for why this would be prolonged into a series is beyond me. Who knows, maybe the author wants to retell other tales like in TLC. Regardless, I will not enter for a future ride and I do not recommend this novel.
Profile Image for sreeja.
64 reviews308 followers
November 20, 2016
“You don't go into battle because you're sure of victory. You go into battle because it's the right thing to do.”

going into this book was kind of like going into battle mostly because the start was so boring(it did redeem itself in the end but still)

The Shadow Queen: 3 stars

buddy reading with my favourite: maggie believe me without you to rant to or laugh with, I would have left this book halfway

Sadly, this is one of those books where things only start to get more interesting in the last few chapters. It is no shocker that I was not a huge fan of the main character but given time I started to like her a lot better in the last few chapters. This story was said to be a Snow White retelling but apart from both the character’s pasts their stories have nothing else in common which was kind of a turn off for me personally.

Sorry but first off why is her name Lorelai Diedriech,idk why but her name weirded me out. Her character started off pushy, whiny and downright irritating but thank the gods by the end which means in the last few chapter I started to see her good qualities like her selflessness, quick-thinking and loyalty. She is also the first royal in a fantasy series to make the word fetch happen.

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Excuse me while I cringe forever,,, that scene has scarred me even though it was supposed to be stupid
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Literally the only thing that made reading this worthwhile was Kol, the prince that could shape-shift into a dragon who was also the sweetest thing ever. I have no idea how to describe except that he was a cute fluffball who managed to save the story. I managed to like Lorelai a lot more when she started to accept Kol for who he was and was more accepting of him.
The queen, Irina was definitely more interesting as a character than I had expected her to be. She was way more evil and the fact that she was a witch, well a mardushka made her even more of an interesting character to follow. Although, most of her actions at first seemed wasteful and evil without a reason we soon find out what exactly it is that drives the queen’s hatred so that was a nice change.

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Bonus points goes to Gabril for being such a sweet and caring father figure in this book and being a hilariously overprotective guardian of Lorelai. He was honestly the guidance that the character needed in this book, and I’m glad that their relationship is strong. Also Sasha, was so strong and helpful. Now if you’re thinking who is this Sasha chick, well she’s a falcon . I honestly wonder what was going on is Lorelai’s head when she decided to name her dangerous pet, Sasha.
The plot of this book, was definitely really slow at the beginning. I caught myself skimming through parts because it really could not hold my attention. But that being said I’m glad I sticked around for the end because the last few chapters were fast paced and way more fun than the first 30 chapters combined. The magical element plays a huge role in this retelling and it was really interesting to how it plays out. But this retelling did not stick to the original at all.

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(gets a little spoilery from here)

I mean looking at the cover, I would have at least thought that there would be the classic apple scene,,, but nope, nothing not even the dwarves. The ending was definitely quite expected but i liked it! The whole kissing the girl to bring her back was quite obvious.

But that being said, I still was quite glad with the ending and the way that Lorelai was at the end. The epilogue was so sweet. The magic was so badass and also this scene from Snowhite and the Huntsman and the book are so similar
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I may have had issues with this book in the beginning but it was quite alright I guess if you are alright with waiting a while before the plot starts to kick in. Overall, it was quite alright however, I’m probably never going to reread this ever again.

I have never read CJ Redwine's books and this is going to be my first, plus the plot looks pretty cool
Fairy Tale Retelling: Check

Needless to say, i am really really excited to read this! But it cAn turn into a torture to finish especially since so many people hated it! But i am excited to see where this heads :) especially since i am buddy reading this with maggie so at least i can rant to her if it turns out sucky,, (hehe)
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,470 reviews9,633 followers
February 17, 2016
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List


I am a sucker for the cover of this book, that is what made me see what this book was all about. The inside cover of the book is awesome too, it has a beautiful picture of the kingdom, they have these pictures on Amazon.


In the beginning of the book it tells how the evil Queen Irina kills Princess Lorelai's father and she is forced out of her kingdom Ravenspire with her brother Leo and a guard named Gabril. For the next nine years they stay in hiding with Gabril and they work on Lorelai's magic so when the day came, when they felt she was strong enough, she would destroy the evil queen. Meanwhile, Lorelai, Gabril and Leo are like the Robin Hood's around the land, they steel from the queen and such and get food to the people that are starving. The evil queen is starving them out and other stuff. Some people killing their families and themselves so they won't starve to death, so yeah, she needs to go. Irina is unaware that Lorelai is still alive since she doesn't use her magic on certain things... I won't go into all of that you will have to read the book!

Lorelai did heal a wounded Gyrfalcon who she becomes bonded with and they can talk to each other inside their heads. Lorelai named her Sasha and she is beautiful. See below ↓



And in another part of the realm over in Eldr they are fighting a war with ogres. Unfortunately for him, Prince Kolvanismir (Kol for short) finds that his family were killed by the ogres. It's just him and his sister and now he is the King and his people are also Draconi, they can turn into dragons! How damn cool is that?!


So Kol and some of his army of dragons and regular peeps are trying to fight the ogres but the ogres have a magic they are using so it's like fighting a losing battle right there. Kol has to come over to Ravenspire to try to ask Queen Irina for help. And as you know, she has a price and blah blah blah.. I hate her.

Irina ends up trapping Kol, making him a slave to go after and kill Lorelai... yeah she found out she was alive. But.. Kol had already met Lorelai when she saved him and his two friends lives, they form a bond and he can't kill her no matter how hard Irina pushes him. Oh, and Irina has his heart stored away.. you know, like in the show "Once Upon A Time." You would think she would crush it to death but she didn't.


I liked princess Lorelai was strong and she wasn't going to stop until she saw Irina dead. Lorelai also became friends with the dragons and helped them, she also kept fighting to save Kol. She ended up in a bond where they were inside each others heads too. She sent a cool message to Irina through Kol.


Are you listening? she asked.
Yes. His voice was faint, nearly drowned out in the insatiable bloodlust of his dragon's heart. Of the queen.
Then you let Irina see this. You show her my thoughts, Kol. You tell that lying, cowardly usurper that this is the last day she will breathe Ravenspire air. This is the last day she will look out on the kingdom she has ruined.
Ravenspire's true queen has entered the city, and Irina's time is over.

Yeah, I liked that :-)

A bunch of stuff goes down, and some things that gave me the heebie jeebies and they end up at the castle.


The girl's eyes widened, and she tugged on the collar of her uniform. "But I can't just...you can't just--"
Lorelai locked eyes with her. "I am Lorelai Diederich, daughter of Arlen Diederich the Third. This is my castle, and I am your queen. If you want the current usurper of a queen to spare your life in the upcoming battle between us, then you need to leave. Now. Go hide somewhere and don't come back until the morning.

So yeah, they fought and stuff and people died and then good things happened.

Profile Image for Joelle (Throne of books) .
193 reviews64 followers
February 26, 2016
Get comfortable because this is going to be a long one.

Wow. Just, wow. I'm astonished at just how... Disappointed I am. The Shadow Queen tried my patience real thin. As far as retellings of Snow White go, this is by far my least favorite. Not only was the writing style bland, but get this, the world building, character development, AND the plot were 1) extremely under developed. And 2) Highly unoriginal.
Why the unoriginality? Let me tell you. Have you ever seen Snow White & The Huntsman? If so, The Shadow Queen was almost the EXACT same thing only it tried to combine itself with many similarities to the Grisha trilogy. It failed. Despite the many similarities to the Grisha trilogy, it was full of Russian like names and terms that were LITERALLY thrown at us. I'm sorry do you expect us to know what all them mean already? Yeah I'm sorry but no.

When Prince Kol's father and older brother are killed by ogres in the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, (this isn't a spoiler it's literally in the synopsis.) the responsibility of saving his people falls on him. What does he do? He becomes Queen Irina's huntsman. Oh wow that sounds awfully familiar. The only originality to this was that Kol was a shape shifting dragon.

This book was SO GENERIC. Literally, it had so many tropes *rolls my freaking eyes* got my head hurts just continuing to write this review. The Shadow Queen was generic and boring. It was generic because it has everything else that every YA Fantasy has nowadays. I could make a list and check off all the things that are unoriginal and that are included in every other YA fantasy. Seriously like come on girl, this could've been great. You had dragons in it for crying out loud! That could've been epic! But NO instead we get no background story or explanation behind the magical elements and terms that come in this story. The writing alone could have made this SOOO much better if it had a unique and mesmerizing flow to it but unfortunately, it was achingly dull. As were the characters. Besides having no character development, there was no attachment to any of the characters. (Except Lorelai's brother but yeah.)

While retellings are supposed to be familiar/similar, they have to have their own originality to them that WORKS. Be it the writing, the plot, or a certain element. And while shape shifting dragons is an intriguing element, it wasn't executed well.

The book begins with a "Once upon a time ..." Prologue on how Queen Irina killed the kind and the princess was forced to runway. That was around 4 pages. That's its. That's all the back story we got as to how it began and then chapter 1 starts off nine years later. I don't know about any of you but, I was disappointed. I LOVE backstory. And unfortunately it wasn't deeper explored into in this one.

Before I forget, let me tell you that the last sentence the very last sentence, was the same one Sarah J Mass used in one of her Throne of Glass novels. Only difference was she used her characters name and not Sarah's. And in that moment, I realized that's where the idea of dragons probably came from. From Sarah. And I exploded. Goodbye world, I'm done. The unoriginality of some people.

To top it all off, I believe I am
With retellings. Especially Snow White retellings. Snow White is my favorite fairytale and I just can't. OH! -This has nothing to do with The Shadow Queen- Did you guys see the trailer for The Huntsman: Winters War?? Now that looks good! I enjoyed Snow White and the Huntsman quite a bit. Minus Kristin Stewart as Snow White. Bella is that you? Sorry wrong movie. She just didn't work as Snow White. Or maybe I just didn't like her as Snow White because that's when I found out she cheated on Robert with the director. I sure as hell don't remember.

Anyway, while The Shadow Queen was not for me, it could be for you. I mean I personally know some who don't need to be picking this book up because I know their review would be explosive and they would have absolutely no chill. But I'm not saying names. Now if you're interested on forming your own opinions on this book, go read it.

Oh, I guess that wasn't as long as I thought It would be. I probably forgot some of the things I wanted to rant about but I'm 100% ready to be done with this.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,711 reviews703 followers
January 17, 2016
I loved CJ's Defiance series,so I couldn't wait to get my hands on the book.

I adored Lorelai and Kol. They're awesome separate, but amazing together and their predicament makes things interesting. Never fear, there is still some delicious banter and sweet swoons. The cast of characters is relatively small and it was fantastic to have a fantasy story without eleventy billion names that all look the same. Each character is important and I can't even talk about the awesomeness that is Lorelai's bird, Sasha, or brother, Leo.

The plot was intriguing and the ending is perfect. For the entire book I was in that crazy space of wanting to hurry and wanting to savor. I can't wait to see if there's more.

**Huge thanks to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for ℨαrα .
173 reviews159 followers
October 18, 2018
Plot ~ Concept: ★★★★☆
~ Execution: ★☆☆☆☆½
Pacing: ★★☆☆☆
Writing style: ★★☆☆☆
Characters: ★★☆☆☆
World: ★★☆☆☆½
Enjoyment: ★☆☆☆☆½
Cover: ★★☆☆☆


○ The book started out strong, and there were certain elements that presented an intriguing take on the original tale of Snow White.
○ The Prologue was also intriguing.
○ Leo was a typical goofy, annoying younger sibling and I adored his banter with Lorelei.
○The fact that dragons and ogres exist in this world. (Note: I’m not saying that it was done well, simply that it’s there.
Annnd that’s all I have.

○ All of the characters were cookie-cutter characters, Mary Sues and Gary Stus.
○ The dialogue was so cliché and made me cringe.
○ The insta-love, the romance, the cringing...that’s all. I doubt I have to elaborate further.
○ I wish that Irania’s motivations and obsession with a certain element were delved into further and were more deep-rooted.
○ The author tried to make Irina, the antagonist, appear vulnerable and multi-dimensional, but all she came across as was underwhelming, and I failed to sympathise with her.
○ The plot DRAGGED until the ending, and even the ending of the book was convenient and left me feeling underwhelmed.
○ The fact that

Overall rating: ★☆☆☆☆½


I deserve coffee for completing this book. Because it gave me a headache. Goodbye failed caffeine detox, you won’t be missed.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,728 reviews1,279 followers
January 26, 2016
2.5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“You need to trust that I know what I’m doing.” Her voice was firm. “If you can’t trust me in this, how can you trust me to face Irina or rule an entire kingdom?”

There wasn’t anything horribly wrong with this book, I just didn’t enjoy it.

I felt quite sorry for both Kol and Lorelai in this story, both were put in difficult positions, and both had to try and make hard decisions for the good of their people.

The storyline in this was about Lorelai trying to find a way to defeat the evil queen and take her kingdom back, and about Kol trying to save his own people by asking the evil queen for help. I just found the story to be really slow though, and for me it dragged and dragged. I think this was probably a case of wrong person, wrong book, but I just didn’t enjoy the book much at all.

The ending to this was a happily ever after, and it was a satisfying ending, I just wish I had enjoyed getting there more than I did.

5 out of 10
Profile Image for Lindsay Cummings.
Author 16 books5,126 followers
January 26, 2016
A dark and twisted retelling of the classic Snow White. While there have been many retellings, I was super super pleased to see that CJ Redwine's rendition is probably the most unique I've ever read! I absolutely loved her idea of "The Huntsman", and the evil queen is truly twisted in this one. Fun, plot twists and turns, and unique voices for each POV make this one a pleasant fantasy read. Fans of her previous DEFIANCE series will love THE SHADOW QUEEN, especially with such a strong female lead like Lorelei.
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
369 reviews978 followers
December 9, 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! For all the reviews that claimed that it lacked originality...I don’t know about you, but I haven’t come across many Snow White retellings which included dragon-shapeshifters and telepathic gyrfalcons!


I also really enjoyed the Russian influences, even though the names were a bit much at times. The incantors, or spells, were really interesting, too. There was even a list of them in the back of the book, which I really appreciated.


Lorelai was an admirable and courageous princess with a talent for strategy, very much like Kestrel from the Winner’s Curse trilogy. Kol was an honourable king who sought to do the right thing. Together, they made a very sweet pair.


I’m a sucker for retellings, so I don’t really have any complaints, except that I wish it had been a tad longer...mainly because I’ll miss these characters. I can’t wait to start the next book! :)

Profile Image for Jodi Meadows.
Author 31 books4,629 followers
August 28, 2015
Official comments:

Magic, dragons, and royalty in hiding: THE SHADOW QUEEN hits all the right notes of an incredible epic fantasy. With charming characters, smart prose, and seamless worldbuilding, C.J. Redwine's fantastic retelling of Snow White is sure to cast a spell of wonder.

Unofficial comments:

The DEFIANCE Trilogy is one of my all time favorites, and THE SHADOW QUEEN is right up there with it. The story is beautiful. The characters are delightful (or scary, as the case may be). And the worldbuilding is spot on. This book is so CJ that it seemed like my friend was telling me the story over a big plate of cookies and lemon bars.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,034 reviews1,421 followers
February 2, 2018
Actual rating 3.75/5 stars.

I really surprised myself by how much I found myself enjoying this story. The prologue held no appeal for me. It seemed a classic case of telling not showing and I worried for my enjoyment during the rest of the book if this unemotional start was anything to judge this by.

Thankfully this did pick up, although I was still not fully invested. I found the early dialogue very contrived and seemed to be largely created to fill the reader in on facts, rather than feel like authentic discussions that were occurring between the characters.

100 pages in and all my early reservations were appeased as I was submerged in the intricacies of the narrative. There were some ballsy and unprecedented twists that affirmed my quickly emerging adoration with this, even more. The plot was both an intriguing continuation of the Snow White fairy tale, used as its basis, as well as cleverly incorporating iconic imagery and scenes that heightened my enjoyment and had me puzzling to solve its many mysteries. The death and destruction in this novel really touched a nerve with me. As the novel progressed the action was heightened and I was entirely glued to the last half of this book.
Profile Image for Sophie.
1,179 reviews438 followers
March 13, 2016
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.

When I first heard about this book, it was because of a lot of US reviewers who adored their copies, which came out last month. Once I found out Scholastic would be publishing The Shadow Queen over here, I immediately requested a copy, and was so grateful to be approved - thanks, Scholastic!

The Shadow Queen told the story of Lorelai, the crown princess to Ravenspire, who has been on the run from her evil stepmother, since her father was killed. She's learnt how to utilise her magic, and is ready, along with her younger brother, Leo, to take back her kingdom. In the kingdom of Eldr, Prince, turned King, Kol is coming to terms with the deaths of his parents, and older brother, abruptly placing him on the throne. The ogre war in his nation has become so bad, he's had to travel to Ravenspire to ask queen Irina's aid in magically defeating them, once and for all. When Kol and Lorelai meet, there's a distinct connection, made worse when Irina realises this, and uses it to her advantage. Everything is dangerous, and you can't help thinking that maybe, for once, the evil queen will win.

I've never really read a Snow White retelling, except for Winter by Marissa Meyer, and Snow White has got to be one of my favourite Disney princesses. I've got to say, I was not disappointed with this book. If you've seen the Snow White and the Huntsman movie, this book had a real vibe of that. Lorelai was a strong Snow White figure, a la Snow in Once Upon a Time (when she's actually Snow, not as Mary Margaret). She'd had a hard upbringing on the run, and never really complained about it. She has felt the struggle that her people felt everyday, and wished beyond anything to relieve them of pain. However, there's also the small part of her that worries that she won't be a good enough queen, not one that Ravenspire deserves. I honestly adored reading from Lorelai's point of view, and she grew in strength as every chapter progressed.

Reading from Kol's perspective was really nice too. He had a distinctive voice, and learning about the dragon law, and how the Draconi people worked was fun. He kept his emotions quite close to the surface, and it was really easy to see how much he cares about his people too, just like Lorelai. It wasn't hard to see why they connected to easily, and why they grew closer the more time they spent with each other. Even with all the angst ridden situations they were thrown into - and there were a lot of them - they overcame all obstacles, and where in a very good place at the end of the novel. I've just put the book down, and I'm already waiting anxiously for book 2.

I've never read any of C.J.'s books before, but I think I definitely will now. The Shadow Queen was a wonderful high fantasy/ fairytale retelling, and I would definitely recommend this to lovers of both genres. The main characters were enjoyable to read about, and from their perspectives, and there was never a dull movement. It may have taken me over a week to read, but honestly, it only took just over a day - university has killed me the last few weeks, and I couldn't wait to be finished my essays to read more of this! Thanks again, Scholastic, for allowing me the opportunity to read this fantastic book, and for taking part in the blog tour.
Profile Image for Katrin D.
287 reviews458 followers
September 3, 2016
DNF at 50%

DISCLAIMER: I normally don't do disclaimers but this time, I'd really like to warn those who liked the book to just stop reading further. I'm currently super pissed off and I'm not going to be polite about this.

“Hair like sunshine, eyes like the midday sky, and pale skin that glowed against her delicate bones—it seemed impossible that someone so dainty and pretty could have used her magic to force an old woman to choke on apples all day long.

Because, as everyone knows, beautiful people can do no wrong. Only ugly people do bad thing, yall.
I gagged when I read this.

This was unbelievable. And no, I’m not talking about this one quote. I’m talking about the whole damn thing - or at least the 50 % I managed to finish before my head exploded.

Defiance was one of the dullest novels I had ever read: the plot was ridiculously boring and uneventful, the character development was mediocre at best and the writing was lacking. But that was a debut novel, so it was not particularly surprising. After all, most authors need a lot of experience to become good at writing.

I would have never thought that one completed trilogy later, I would read a book by the same author that was, in my opinion, worse than their debut. I am speechless and disappointed, and it’s completely my fault for giving this new series a chance. This is what I get when I’m intrigued by a novel synopsis and ignore my gut feeling, screaming at me to get the fuck away.

The writing was rushed, sloppy and completely unrelatable. I, honestly, cannot believe that Defiance seemed to be written in a better manner than this book. And my rating and appreciation of Defiance was close to the bottom. The narration sequence was illogical and most of the dialogue was forced and unnatural. People don’t sound like that in real situations at all.

The characters were silly, their chemistry was below zero and they all had enough personality to pretty much fill a teaspoon. Again, see the quotes down below and you can pretty much get a good idea of what you have to deal with.

The only good thing I can say is that there was a couple of original ideas. For example, the dual nature of the Draconi was an intriguing concept. The magic of the mardushkas was interesting in and of itself. Sadly, the few good ideas sank under all the bullshit.

The main conflict goes along of the lines of : a cruel witch stepmother/aunt usurps the throne through black magic. The rightful heir to the throne, her brother and the captain of her father’s guard escape and go into hiding for nine years, Robin Hooding the tax collectors and distributing the goods to the poor. Meanwhile, the land is ravaged by sickness, there are no crops and people are literally dying of hunger. The evil bitch queen simply doesn’t care if - see quote below - there’s anyone left to rule over and lets her people starve. Enter a handsome prince - he doesn't shine with particular wit, but he's good-looking, so we'll forgive him that - who comes in to save his own kingdom by striking a deal with the evil queen. The prince and the princess meet and instead of killing each other, they device a plan to work together against the queen. You can picture how the rest goes.

In all honesty, I wanted to like this. I really, really did. Alas, the Herculean effort I applied to finish at least 50% of the book, made it kind of obvious that it was not happening.

Now, without further ado, let me present you with some quotes (all of them gathered from the initial third of the book, mind you). I could write a report on all I thought was wrong with this book, but giving direct quotes is better. These little gems are followed by my not-so-polite commentary mostly because I am super pissed off that I wasted 1. my time & 2. my money on this book:

“I hope your journey wasn’t too arduous, my lord, and that you are in good health. When you have refreshed yourself with sleep, I would love to give you my undivided attention so that we may discuss various issues of interest to both our kingdoms.”

Fakeness overload. You have to have an IQ lower than your show size to even think of saying something like that to an emissary/diplomat/whatever political creature.

“We have to help them. We can’t wait another eighteen months like I’d planned, or there will be no one left to rule even if I do take the throne. We have to do something now.”

Aww. The young would-be-queen is such a chivalrous creature - get the throne now because the evil queen is going to kill everyone and there’d be no one to rule over. You must be kidding me. How am I suppose to sympathise with this girl and support her claim?

“More mead!” he roared over the deafening noise of a party that had been in full swing in an unused storeroom within the castle’s basement for over an hour.”

“As he moved across the dusty storeroom floor, dodging raised mugs and bodies writhing in time to the thunderous beat of the drummers Kol had hired with the last of his monthly stipend, (…)”

These two gems had me completely fooled for a good minute, during which I was trying to remember what kind of book I was reading. I flipped the cover and yup. It was fantasy. Supposedly a Snow White retelling…but somehow there’s a drum band - “bodies-writhing-in-time-to-the-thunderous-beat-of-the-drummers”-excuse-me - playing in the basement of the fucking castle. How did we get to a frat party in a fantasy retelling book? This is a new low for me. Honestly.

“I’m so sorry to have to tell you this, but ogres attacked the reserve unit while your family was asleep in their tent. Your father is dead.”

That was as subtle as an elephant in a china shop. Honestly, this guy shouldn’t be delivering bad new. He just majorly sucks at it. The fuck was this whole moment? There was no build up, nothing. Oh, btw, your parents died. The ridiculous frat party was described in more detail than this moment.

“There was nothing Kol could do to stop them. Not without magic of his own. The realization was a blow Kol didn’t know how to absorb.”

So, he realises this after spending 10 mins observing the battlefield. You want to tell me that his father - supposedly a good king with a lot of years of experience - his advisors and his much more talented brother did not arrive to this conclusion, whereas our failure of a prince immediately grasps the situation. I mean, royal offspring is not generally famous for having a lot of brain cells, but this one takes the cake.

“The girl’s brown eyes were guarded. She had a smudge of dirt on one pale cheek, and her long dark curls were tangled from her sprint through the village, but even so, she was beautiful in a way that made Kol want to keep looking.”

Aww. Of course, she’s a princess, so she has to be beautiful. And of course, our prince is going to notice. She thinks he’s pretty, too, if that’s any consolation. They are going to have a lot of pretty babies together. Spare me.

If I have to be honest, this is nothing scandalous, but in combination with all the rest, I just got pissed off at the extreme level of shallowness.

“Mirror, mirror, your depths I scry,” she said as power gathered in her palms and leaped toward the glass. “Show me the princess Lorelai.”

I am absolutely certain there’s a particular place in hell reserved for bad rhymes.

BONUS: There’s a gyrfalcon, called Sasha. I’m not even gonna...
Profile Image for myo ✧༺ ༘♡ ༻∞.
742 reviews6,516 followers
June 12, 2021
yeah this book was like very mediocre, it’s a basic “girl who is royalty needs to get back her crown” given the year it was written it makes sense. i liked the story itself because i do love snow white but :/ i was not convinced with the characters or the boring romance.
Profile Image for TJ.
978 reviews119 followers
June 19, 2016

Why this book?

This seemed like a book for me

What I thought

I enjoyed the author’s twist on the Snow White retelling. I also really liked the characters especially Kol I have a soft spot for dragon shape shifters. There's also not alot of characters so each one is important to the story. There's a bit of romance,plenty of action and some great banter. I loved the whole fairytale feel of this book with kings , queens, princesses, princes, dragons and Ogres etc. It made a great fantasy book.With plenty twists an turns I absolutely loved this and highly recommend it!
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