Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Posted February 3, 2017 by Wendy in Reviews / 1 Comment

Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J. RedwineThe Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine
Published by HarperCollins on February 16th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, General, Action & Adventure, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Adaptations
Pages: 400
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

A New York Times bestselling dark epic fantasy inspired by the tale of Snow White, from C. J. Redwine, the author of the Defiance series. This breathtakingly romantic, action-packed fantasy is perfect for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses and Cinder.   
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 of his own—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.

Why Did I Read?

I really love fairy tale retellings! I’m such a sucker for them.

My Thoughts:

Well. My first thought after I finished was THANK GOD I’M FINALLY DONE. That’s not a good sign. I just had so many issues with this and I have come to the conclusion that C.J. Redwine is not for me. I feel rather a black sheep about this, so just know that a lot of people loved this book! It just didn’t work for me at all.

It all started out well. And seeing as how I’ve DNFed Defiance by her, I recognized the same things happening. The set up is great. The story sounds so good. There are some really interesting elements and the beginning sucks you in with all this great potential — but it goes nowhere. For instance, did you know there are dragons in this book?? Really freaking cool dragons with dual hearts – a human and a dragon heart and they can shift between their human and dragon forms. I was all “oooh this is super unique and interesting!” But the plot just plods along verrrryyy slowly. I was so utterly bored. But I was hopeful because well, dragons! Snow white retelling! Magic!

As I pressed on, I noticed that there was a lot of TELLING. Long paragraphs of explanations and TELLING about how Kol is such a great king, like a list. Or TELLING about how Lorelai just didn’t think she could beat the queen because of this, this and this. All their motivations and aspirations were being TOLD to the reader. It felt like it was an outline for the book, like a list of things about each character but instead of SHOWING these things to the reader, it was just TOLD. And to top it off? The same things were told over and over and over again. It was really redundant. At one point, the “mentor” figure basically recites all the events that has happened in the book thus far in order to show the MC how capable she was. I really didn’t need a long recap of the book so far…

And don’t get me started on the romance. The “romance” doesn’t kick in until after the 50% mark and it was quite instalovey, in my opinion. And there’s a mind bond. It was kind of weird and creepy. And then it went from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds and it was oooh her eyes and ooh let’s kiss. The “romance” made me cringe and I didn’t like it at all.

The magic system was kind of weird to me too. There are “incantors” which basically means they say a word and say what they want to happen. I had no idea what the “incantor” word means so it just seemed like there wasn’t a good system? Like how does magic really work. Where does it come from? It’s kind of vague. I actually read the last 50 or so pages physically because I couldn’t stand to listen to the rest of the audiobook anymore and I wanted to skim and it turns out there was a little glossary of these incantor phrases at the end. So that was helpful but… it was at the END of the book. Also doesn’t explain if you can do anything else with the magic outside of those phrases…?

Okay so I’ve done a lot of whining and complaining and I’m sorry. I probably should’ve DNFed but there were just so many good elements I thought it had to get better! Sadly, it did not for me. There are many people who have loved this though, so this MAY be for you!

In Short…

There are really interesting elements in place for this retelling that I felt like had so much potential and could have been really good! But it didn’t work for me – the plot was slow and I was bored and the romance was cringe worthy. There was too much telling and it drove me crazy. But while this was a miss for me, I am a slight black sheep for this book so you may have a different experience.

My Rating: 

Have you read this? Did you feel like I did or did you love this like most other people? I love retellings so this made me sad — any recs of other retellings for me?

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