ARC Review: The Shadow Queen

Author: C.J. Redwine
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
Page Length: 400
Publication Date: February 16th 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Edelweiss
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.

Fairytale retellings never lose their allure, no matter how many renditions of a classic tale is out there, and the premise of The Shadow Queen had me hooked from the first time I saw it, and I knew that the book was one I am going to enjoy. But still, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I came to love this book, with its fantastic take of Snow White and its glorious cast of characters.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most powerful of them all?"

Lorelai is a princess on the run. The only other human who can wield magic in the kingdom of Ravenspire, apart from the evil queen who stole the throne from the rightful heir, and took the lives of those who mattered the most to her, Lorelai wants nothing more than revenge and to claim back the throne that's rightfully hers. Dragged into these women's power battle is Kol, the Draconi king of a nearby kingdom - consisting of people who are part human, part dragon - who is desperate for an alliance with magic, to defeat the ogres who are invading his kingdom. When the queen decides to use Kol as a pawn in her game, his path collides with Lorelai, changing both of their lives forever.

The Shadow Queen had a gorgeous concept. The take on the fairytale, and the twists on its classic elements were fascinating to read! The book stays faithful to the the good old story to the most part, while bringing out fresh and creative interpretations on certain elements. The queen's magic is much more darker, Snow White is no sweet, innocent damsel in distress, rather a fierce queen she's born to be, the prince becomes the huntsman and the dragon and this book made sure that I'll never look at apples in the same way again!

"Apples Irina said were for those without magic in their blood"

I also adored the writing style! C.J.Redwine's style is beautiful and her pace is easy and addictive. I was hooked to the story, and finished the book in one sitting, under 4 hours, and the story never dragged or I never got bored at any place. The story kept throwing twist after twist, and amidst all victories, comes a huge failure which balances the main characters' journey perfectly, a trick I've seen so brilliantly captured only in A Darker Shade of Magic before - and if you know how much I love Victoria Schwab, you'd know how much of a big compliment that is!

The characters were the best part of the story. Each of them had depth, and I loved how the author created such impact with such a small cast of characters. We have our heroine, Lorelai, who is beautiful, kind, fierce, loyal, honorable and passionate. She was a brave and powerful warrior with a heart of gold, and undeniably one of my favourite MCs ever! I admired her as a character and respected her as person, and Lorelai would surely be a YA heroine you'd love to root for.

"I believe in you, and I've fought for you, because in a world full of people who crumbled before an evil too terrifying to comprehend, you put up your fists and fight"

Kol was an equally beautiful character. A charming yet responsible king, his sense of honor even during the most dangerous times, left me in awe of him. He was constantly fighting inner battles, first between his insecurity and his responsibility and a fierce one between magic and the good of his heart. 

I also adored the batch of minor characters. Kol's two loyal and brave friends who often reminded me of Ron and Hermione in their readiness to help their king no matter the consequences. Lorelai's brother whose relationship with his sister was beautiful. Her guardian and mentor, who's stable determination and faith keeps them alive in their rebellion. Even her bird Sasha, who was a protective and powerful companion. All of them had enough depth to shine on their own, no matter how little screen time they got.

But the star of the show is undeniably queen Irina. I've always been fascinated with the evil queen in Snow White, but the rendition of her character in this book surpassed all expectations. She's truly terrifying, will do anything to achieve her goals, preys on hearts and innocent lives but most of all, she was a victim of her own villain journey. Never before had a villain made me feel so many emotions as Queen Irina, to the point I actually shed tears for this villain.

"Her will was stronger than her foolish heart. Her will desired Ravenspire. Her will wanted Lorelai dead"

The romance in this book was beautiful. I loved how it went with the story's flow rather than being a distraction alone. Kol and Lorelai had a great companionship, with mutual admiration, respect, trust and partnership, which slowly evolved into a romance, making me root for them so hard!

"He stared at the way her skin glowed in the moonlight and admitted that, skies help him, he was drawn to her in ways he couldn't think about while she was awake and inside his head. There was nothing casual or ordinary about Lorelai, and there was nothing casual or ordinary about the way she made him feel. She was iron and fire, a warrior's spirit with a lion's heart"

Needless to say, I recommend this book to everyone, especially to those who love fantasy and fairytale retellings. And character snobs, this would be a dream book for you, as for you my fellow villain lovers. Shadow Queen will sweep you away on your feet, and it will live true to the promises of the alluring cover and blurb, producing an enchanting story of the glorious battle of two queens.

Mishma is a 17 year old teenager from Sri Lanka who's always loved books and talking about them. She often comes off as a loud, outgoing, funny, hyperactive and happy go lucky girl! Her addictions include books, Twitter and Buzzfeed and she has an unapologetic love for classic old movies with uncensored violence and villains with a vulnerable side.

You can find her at her own blogTwitterInstagram. She loves making friends, so stop by to say a hi!


  1. I added this book to my TBR a few weeks back and have been waiting for it to be released ever since. I'm super excited for when I can get my hands on this! Lovely review :)

  2. I know nowadays store retelling is like a new style of writing books. Though it looks like this one turned totally into a new story.

  3. I am so glad you loved this one!! I adore retellings and I was terrified this one would not live up to the hype. It sounds like it has though. I will be buying this one for sure. Great review!

  4. Wow great review! I'm so glad you loved this one. Retellings are so good. I love them so much when they are done well!

  5. Yay, I am so happy that you ended up liking "The Shadow Queen"! I am a huge fan of C.J. Redwine's books, so it makes me really happy to see such positive responses towards it, especially since it is the first book in a new series and all. Great review!

  6. I am SO freaking in love with The Shadow Queen! It's the best YA fantasy I've read so far this year. I love Redwine's take on the Snow White fairy tale, and how she puts her own unique spin on things. Plus, I really just adored Lorelai and Kol! So happy to see that you enjoyed it as well <3

  7. Ahh I want this book so badly! I am head over heels in love with fairytale retellings, so already this book was made for me. But then knowing the characters were done so well and it is such an cool take on the story makes me want it all the more!


I read, value, and cherish each and every comment. Although I don't have time to respond to most of them, I make every effort to comment back on your blog! :)