Book Review: The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine

Review News

Yes. I know I voided out my promise a few months ago. I was distracted again. Better late with blog posts than never!

For those of you who are new to my blog, I’ll give you a rundown concerning my review methods. The rest of you can skip this part and get onto the review.

  1. I always look for strong female characters. In the 21st century, we should present fictional female characters who aren’t afraid to escape, fight, protect, save, and lead on their own. Relying on a man is impractical and realistically dangerous. It’s also unfair to the guys. Sure they should help in saving anyone of any gender. Helping people should be a moral obligation for any man or woman no matter how they get the job done. While this is fiction, novels have often reflected or spurred change.
  2. Strong women doesn’t mean weak male counterparts. I look for a male counterpart that can be an equal to the heroine and is not afraid to let the heroine’s character shine. If the woman saves or offers them help of any kind, the guys should be thankful and fine with it. Through Centuries and too many countries, that’s the attitude women had to take. It’s the men’s turn. They should not think having a strong woman at their side is emasculating in anyway (because that’s seriously stupid). Even if their thoughts automatically turn to that stupid patriarchal bull, they should realize their being idiots (either immediately or anytime during the story – I’m not completely strict) and correct their thinking accordingly.
  3. The story line should be reasonably palatable and the flow of the story should be sufficiently smooth. If the story line is crazy awful, I don’t care if the characters are great. Reading the book would be like listening to a song off key. Although, chances are if the story line sucks, so do the characters.
  4. There are a few miscellaneous things I’ll notice. Last post, I noticed little discrepancies regarding the sixth sense of a character. Sometimes I’ll relate situations happening in the book to things that are happening in the real world or things that happened in history. (Basically, I’m being the scholar for which I was educated. I hope you’ll indulge me).

The Shadow Queen

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51lWd-Ffq9L._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_Usually, I do this part last, but I can’t help myself. I loved this book. It was an unexpected treasure for me and if I can convince anyone to read it, I hope they love it too.

The book is based off the Snow White fairytale. Before you moan and groan (like I did), it’s not another version of Tear You Apart. I never finished Tear You Apart, but I couldn’t help writing a scathing review about it.

Nor is the book another version of the Snow White character in the TV show Once Upon a Time. Mary Margaret is an okay Snow White. Yet, The Shadow Queen is so much more.

This book follows Lorelai (the Snow White character) as she and her brother rob from rich nobles allied with their evil stepmother and gives their spoils to the poor. (It sounds like a Snow White/Robin Hood hybrid. Now that I put more thought into it, there are several shades of Robin Hood throughout the book.) Lorelai’s father, the King, married Evil Queen Irena when Lorelai was a young girl. While the mother/daughter relationship between Lorelai and the Queen began happily, it soured when Lorelai discovered the Queen’s evil intentions: To kill the King and take over the kingdom. Killing Lorelai and the young prince were part of Irena’s diabolical plan, Lorelai managed to thwart the Queen using her special powers.

Lorelai always intended to go back to the castle to overthrow the Queen, but she planned it later in life after she had mastered her powers. Yet, the kingdom couldn’t wait. Queen Irena’s dark powers were draining the life out of the land and the people were starving. Lorelai would have to overthrow the Queen at the tender age of seventeen.

The Land of Ravenspire isn’t the only one in peril. The neighboring kingdom of Eldr has a magical troll problem. With the King, Queen, and crown Prince recently murdered, the crown falls to the young Prince Kol to lead the kingdom. He is desperate to save his people and decides to request help from Queen Irena in exchange for food for her starving kingdom.

Kol soon discovers the Queen cares nothing for her people and everything for destroying a certain thief. He enters into a blood pact with the Queen where he promises to kill the thief in exchange for the power to imprison the magical trolls.

Kol learns the truth behind the thief and switches sides despite the intense pain from the Queen’s blood pact.

First, I would like to say there is rape imagery in this book. Rape is not an act done out of uncontrollable desire. It really doesn’t matter what the victim wears or how they act. Rape is an act of power. The perpetrator is exerting their control over their victim.

After the violent act, most victims suffer from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). One of the possible symptoms (the symptoms differ and a person can experience one or multiple symptoms) involves reliving the event. This trauma is a way the perpetrators continue to control their victims.

When Kol attempts to defy Queen Irena and the blood pact, she takes his human heart causing him to lose control over his killer dragon instincts and takes away his ability to change into a dragon. She essentially took away his power when she took his heart and has control over him through the thorn necklace signifying their original pact.

The necklace allows Irena to control him, taunting his beast so he goes into sporadic fits of rage that could ultimately kill Lorelai.

Second, Queen Irena is a drug dealer. The book doesn’t blatantly say she’s a drug dealer. Although, it’s fairly obvious. Through the book, a reader finds out about Irena’s black apples (like the one that’s on the cover) and describes compliant subjects walking around with vacant looks and black goo around their mouths.

The way Queen Irena makes the black apples is a metaphor for drug bosses and how they use their employees. I’m not going to describe it here. The scene is rather disturbing.

At this point, you’re likely wondering why I like this book. Trust me. The heroine, Lorelai, is awesome and a very strong main character. Kol has his faults, but makes up for it through the book. He’s a very worthy love interest.

There is one bad thing I can say about this book. A book can’t be completely perfect. Not even authors think their work is perfect. I loved Lorelai’s brother and the author saw fit to kill him. Talk about devastation. I can see why the author did it. The brother’s death makes the reader even more emotionally invested in the book. I’m just an unapologetic happily ever after person.

Either way, I highly recommend this book and it has a place of honor on my bookshelf

Future Book Reviews

***Will not be reviewed in this order.Books-2-icon

  • Insanity (Mad in Wonderland) by Cameron Jace
  • The Glittering Court by Rachelle Mead (April 5th)
  • A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses Book #2) by Sarah J. Maas (May 3rd)
  • Ruined by Amy Tintera (May 3rd)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I & II by J. K. Rowling (July 31st)
  • The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles Book #3) by Mary E. Pearson (August 2nd)
  • Witch’s Pyre (The Worldwalker Trilogy Book #3) by Josephine Angelini
  • Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas
    • The Burning Sky
    • The Perilous Sea
    • The Immortal Heights
  • Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
  • Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
  • The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
    • Ruin and Rising

Want to see what I’m currently reading or curious about past book reviews?  

Go to my Reading Common Sense page.

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