Thursday, April 28, 2016

YA Review: The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine

I was lucky enough to get this book through the booksfortrade deal with another blogger, although I also originally downloaded it as an e-galley from Edelweiss thanks to Balzer and Bray.  It's one I was really excited for.  I finally got around to reading it a little late though, I got behind on some review books. But when I finally picked it up I really did end up enjoying it.  It's the first book I've read by this author, and I'm also excited that there will be a sequel.  I do enjoy fairy tale retellings and I liked this one that was inspired by Snow White

There are two main characters in this.  First is Lorelai, who should really be the princess, but she had to run away to escape her stepmother, the queen, before she was killed.  Along with her brother Leo, and Gabril, the head of the palace guard before her father was killed by her stepmother Irina, she has been on the run.  Trying to stay safe, but also to come up with a way to get back and take her kingdom back, Lorelai is trying to learn how to use magic in a way she can defeat Irina, and along the way she is trying to help out her subjects, hoping to get them on her side when she needs them.

The other main character is Kol, or you could go by his full name, Kolvanismir Arsenyevnek, I think I'll stick with Kol.  He is a prince in the kingdom of Eldr.  His lands are being overrun by ogres.  When we meet him, Kol has just been kicked out of school for a prank.  He's at home partying with his friends, waiting for his father, mother and older brother to return from the battle front where their army is fighting the ogres.  Now there is something unusual about Kol, you see his people are dragons.  At some times they're human, other times they're dragons.  Their bodies change back and forth.  They have two hearts, one for the dragon and one for the human part of them.  Kol gets bad news, and he must now take over as the king of his land.  He can't seem to think of a way to get rid of the ogres without magic, and so he feels he must go and try to make a deal with Irina, her magic for food that his land can provide for her people.

Kol and his two best friends head into Lorelai's land.  They get into one small village, and their nice clothing sets the villagers after them, being poor, they can only see what they might be able to get from these strangers.  Lorelai and her brother and friend just happen to be in the same village, and they end up saving Kol and his friends from the angry villagers.

When Kol gets to Irina, he finds that instead of wanting his food, alls he wants is him to find Lorelai and bring her heart back.  Now Kol never got Lorelai's name, so it isn't until they attack and cause a major tragedy for Lorelai, that he soon learns who she is, and that he cannot kill her.

But Irina has built in wards for just this type of betrayal situation.  And it will be those things that will cause Lorelai and Kol to fight both for their own lives, as well as each other.

There was a very interesting take on the fairy tale in this story.  The dragon parts actually made me think a bit about the Sleeping Beauty Disney movie.  But other than that, Kol became the perfect huntsman for the Snow White story.  Irina was a perfect wicked stepmother/evil queen.  Lorelai was a Snow White more like Snow in the tv show Once Upon a Time, than like the one in the Disney story, because she was pretty kick-ass.  There are some very sad parts, a bit of a love story, but not too much over the story, I like how the author wove the romance through the story.