Title : The Shadow Queen
Author : C.J. Redwine
Series : Ravenspire #1
Genre : YA Fantasy, Retelling
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.
I DNF’d this book at 84%
I couldn’t go on. I’m sorry. This has to be one of the most pathetic, forgettable, boring, bland and uninteresting portrayal of a YA fantasy trope ever. ‘Lost princess finds her way to the throne using a group of followers. Hurrah’. I’m literally struggling to find something to write in the ‘pros’ part of the review, the book was that bad. I read till 84% in the hopes of it becoming better later on, but then I read the starting of The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout and I finally decided to give up on this and stop wasting my time.
1. The trope : As much as the book was bad, the trope is equally good. Firstly, it’s a retelling of Snow White, which is one of my favorite fairy tales. The entire background plot, about an evil stepmother ruining the royal family and the lost princess finding back her way to her rightful throne – well this trope is very interesting to me. I love reading such ‘lost-princess’ books, provided that they are well executed.
1. Lack of world-building : A must in any fantasy novel is world-building. If your fantasy story is not set in the real world (i.e., it is high fantasy) then you need to provide necessary details and explanations and imagery about the world your book and story is set in. That is freaking mandatory. What am I supposed to imagine when I read the book? And apart from the imagery, world-building also constitues characteristics of the world, its features and traits – it needs to be a well-detailed thing in itself. Which this book basically lacked. The zero world-building completely brought down the ‘fantasy-feel’ of the book, making it a rather bland read.
2. Characters : All the characters were one-dimensional. There was nothing which stood-out about any of them and at best, they were cardboard characters. They didn’t feel human (I mean, nothing was that realistic about them) and none had any redeeming qualities about them. Each character clearly depicts what typical character form it should fit into – like Lorelai tried to be the selfless, strong, brave heroine, and Kol tried to be the strong, protective, manipulated, yet fighter hero of the book, and Gabirel lurked in the shadows trying to be the ever-saviour and worshipper of the ‘lost princess’. Well – that’s what the characters are – they try to be the characters that are typically there in such tales, but can’t even manage doing that. Forget about uniqueness or originality.
3. Absolutely shitty fantasy : The fantasy element of the book is just the epitome of making your readers repent picking up this book. So, apparently, there is only one major kind of magic a mardushka (the person who can do magic) can do – that is play and control the heart/s of anything. The entire book continues to play cat and mouse along these lines – both Lorelai and the Evil Queen keep doing the same kind of boring, uninteresting magic which by the later half of the book, becomes predictable and expected.
4. Lack of development of plot : The plot doesn’t move forward. It stays exactly where it is in the first chapter of the book. The entire 84% I read consisted of the two opponents trying to outdo each other using the same darn magic without actually doing anything. The plot literally didn’t go anywhere. Both of the opponents are simply planning and when one does magic (controlling hearts, sigh), the other retaliates by doing the same magic (controlling something else’s heart). Then the other retaliates (some heart control shit again) and then again the other retaliates. This same goes on and on and it was just a pointless thing to read.
5. The bad, uncomfortable romance : The other points are way more important but I have to comment on this : was including the romance absolutely necessary? The romance was cringeworthy, because there was no development. The moment they meet, they start feeling ‘warmth in their cheeks (duh)’ and there is absolutely nothing which could stand as a proper, sensible process of love or attachment. It just happened.
Will I continue with the series?
No one really. Save yourself and skip this book!
A ‘good book’ or a ‘good read’?
A bad book. A boring, uninteresting read.