Interesting kingdoms + lore + magic in this Snow White retelling

Summary:

Lorelai Diederich (17) has one mission in life: to kill Queen Irina, avenge her father's death, and retake her kingdom. To do that, she will have to use her magic against Ravenspire’s most powerful sorceress. In a nearby kingdom, Prince Kol has a similar interest in magic. With his kingdom and family destroyed by an army of ogres, he needs magic to save his people. However, to get that magic he must make a deal with the Queen of Ravenspire: kill Lorelei and bring her heart of Irina. When Kol finally encounters Lorelai, he is struck to find she is nothing like he envisioned. As the two grow closer, Irina’s threat grows and Kol’s deal compromises his own heart, Lorelai’s battle to retake her home could not be more important.


BTSYA / Teen Reader (19):
Even though The Shadow Queen is the beginning of a wonderful series, it stands on its own as a good book. As a retelling of Snow White, the story is familiar, but Redwine makes it her own, and it is full of lore, interesting kingdoms, and lots of magic. The biggest draw to this story is its interesting plot and world-building. The Shadow Queen does a good job in setting the tone and premise for the following books of the Ravenspire series. Kol is a really interesting character and his dragon abilities make for some interesting action scenes. In addition, Irina is a good take on the “ evil queen” character, despite not adding anything new.

What keeps it from being an incredible book is the pacing and the between Lorelai and Kol. With almost 400 pages, the story drags on a little more than it needs to in some portions. As a result, some of the more dramatic and action scenes feeling uneventful, especially towards the end. While Kol is a great character, the same cannot be said about Lorelai, who comes off as an egotistical stereotype of the YA female protagonist trope. The dialogue between the two doesn’t always land perfectly and it can be a little awkward at times. I didn’t find myself invested in their relationship as much as some of the other relationships in the following books.

Overall, The Shadow Queen is a decent start to a book series and while there’s nothing overly innovating, the book still does a good job of retelling a classic story. I recommend the book for a teenage audience due to some of the fighting scenes and the overall tone that may not be suitable for younger audiences. I would recommend giving this book as a gift, especially if you know someone who loves Disney or fairy tales. I would not however recommend buying the book yourself unless you know you are interested in the series as a whole. I think as a collection, the books are a great buy, but individually I would recommend renting it and maybe buying it after if you really want the full collection.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers who love fairy tales and want a fresh take on Snow White will find this an excellent choice.

Content Awareness Factors:

The plot contains graphic violence. 


Type of Book:
This is the first book in a trilogy that retells the story of Snow White.
Educational Themes:

The Ravenspire trilogy is a retelling of the Snow White fairy tale. What elements (beyond the evil queen) do readers see in the original, and which are unique to this version?

Reading Level:
6.1
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
13 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 19
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow first. If you like the book, consider buying the 4-book series.

Title The Shadow Queen
About

Ravenspire, Book 1 of 4

Author C. J. Redwine
Publisher Balzer + Bray, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2016
ISBN 9780062360243
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.99
Genres Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Romance
be the star you are
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