Review of The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

TheShadowQueenThe Shadow Queen
By: C.J. Redwine
Release Date: February 16th 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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:
I was eager to read The Shadow Queen because of the Snow White retelling element. Snow White has always been a favorite of mine and I was excited to see how Redwine would morph the story into a more fantasy setting. Once I started reading I was even further excited to realize that this was fantasy WITH dragons! Hooray! Well, my excitement didn’t last too long. Sadly, I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. The writing, pacing and characters fell a bit flat to me and I was never able to get invested.

I really, really wanted to love everything about The Shadow Queen and I believe that a good amount of readers will enjoy this reworking of Snow White. For me, I found the writing to be a bit simplistic and I was unable to really sink into the words. I had trouble immersing into the world or feeling anything for the characters. I felt that the author provided enough insight and description of the world to allow me to visualize the setting and understand what had driven the characters to their actions. Though I had all the information what I lacked was feeling.

You know, you’ll read a book and not connect and you honestly can’t pin-point why exactly and that’s how I feel about this book. When I look at all the elements, dragons, Snow White retelling, strong female main character, romance, and fantasy in general these things equal to all the things Kristen loves. But, for some reason, it didn’t mesh for me. From the start I struggled with getting into the story and pushing myself to read. For a bit in the middle I found myself enjoying it much more and thought I’d finally gotten into it and would fall in love. The further I read though-my interest waned. It became more and more a struggle for me and I could clearly see where the book was headed.

As I said earlier- I did really love the concept behind the book. Some of the imagery Redwine employed (especially in regards to the evil queen, Irina) were amazingly graphic and SO CREEPY. I loved that she created a heroine that was strong willed, brave and heroic. And who am I kidding- there were dragons so that was pretty damn awesome.

Final Thoughts:
Sadly, The Shadow Queen, wasn’t a hit with me due to my lack of becoming invested in the story or characters. I did appreciate the creative reworking of Snow White and the fact that Redwine incorporated dragons and some incredibly gruesome/disturbing elements in regards to the evil queen.


  1. says

    Ah, man. This is the second low-rating review I’ve seen for this book. I still want to read it but now I’m worried. I didn’t know there were dragons though. That is so cool!

  2. says

    Aww I’m so sorry that you didn’t enjoy this 🙁

    Yeah I completely understand where you’re coming from. I’m glad that you were able to appreciate the good elements in this book!

    I hope your next read is better! Great review 🙂

  3. says

    *GASP* NOOOOOOO!!!!!!! I have to admit I didn’t read beyond seeing your star rating, because I am super excited for this title and want to go in blind, but…… gahhhh. Darn it all!!!

  4. says

    Awe sorry you didn’t love it more. It really looks like one that will be a big hit or big miss for me. Not sure if I will end up ever picking this one up or not. Great review as always!!

  5. says

    Oh bummer. I was soo excited for this one, but feel myself wavering. I couldn’t get into Redwine’s first book but was hoping to enjoy this one because fairy tale retelling!! And dragons! Woohoo! But sad to hear it wasn’t for you. I still might try it because I just have that kind of love for a good fairy tale retelling. Nice honest review!

  6. says

    Ah, that’s too bad this book didn’t work out for you! It sounded like it had a lot of potential, I like the idea of dragons and Snow White retelling. But if you don’t connect, you don’t connect.
    Lovely review, Kristen!

  7. says

    Aw, no 🙁 This is making me a bit heartbroken. I’m SO SORRY that you didn’t like this book Kristen 🙁 Sad face. It was a five star for me. I loved it. Aw. But I can understand why you didn’t. Sort of. Maybe not, lol 😀 I wish you had loved it too. Sniffs. <3 But yeah. Your review is lovely sweetie 🙂 Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts about it. <3

  8. says

    I’m sorry you didn’t love this one! I know exactly what you mean though – sometimes you just don’t click with a book, and it’s not really for any one reason. It just didn’t make you feel much. :/ I’m hoping I’ll have better luck, and that your next read is super good!
    Lovely review, lady!

  9. says

    I completely know what you me. I also don’t connect sometimes and I just cant pin point why? I know something was missing but I can’t put my finget on it. I thing it’s like fairy dust, a magical element that is different for every reader but necessary for them to fall in love with a book.
    Having said all that, I really hope I enjoy The Shadow Queen! I wanted to get into retellings this year so I pre-ordered.

  10. says

    It’s always a bummer when a book doesn’t work for you despite excitement about the story. This would be my first Redwine title if I end up picking it up. I read a metric ton of fairy tale retellings last year for my committee work so I’m not sure if that means this is the exact right time to consider reading The Shadow Queen or if I should wait until I have less “total immersion” in this particular sub-genre. Thanks for the honest thoughts!

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