Title: The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1)
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, 2016 (Feb 16)
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Retellings
**I received a copy of this book free from SocialBookCo in exchange for an honest review**
First of all, I am a big fan of the concept behind SocialBookCo. If you haven’t heard of it, bloggers can receive a book for review and then others can buy the book cheaper than most places! I love it! And they sent me a beautiful copy of The Shadow Queen, a book I’ve been dying to read for months now.
I should have posted the review days ago, but you all by now know about my move and all the packing I’ve been doing.
Can we take a moment and enjoy this breathtaking cover from Redwine?
Here’s a simple cover image without the distraction of my hand, lol.
Anyway, let me tell you about the first book in the Ravenspire world (though with the black apple, you can imagine that it’s a retelling for Snow White right off the bat…and I love me a good retelling!):
Lorelai Diederich, the daughter of the king, has had her world shattered. Her stepmother Irina, her mother’s sister, remarried after Lorelei’s mother died. Unfortunately for her, it was to her own father, the King of Ravenspire. Irina is a mardushka, someone who is in touch with magic, and as Lorelai grows up, she sees the twisted way Irina uses her powers to control the citizens, as well as her own father and brother.
When she tries with her own magic to oust Irina and expose her for her dark ways, she loses her father and must take her younger brother and flee.
She hides for the next ten years, planning with her brother Leo a way to retake the throne that rightfully belongs to her.
Kol is a dragon shifter from the kingdom of Eldr. He finds himself facing ogres that are much more powerful than the dragon powers Kol and his people share. He needs help. He needs a mardushka. And the only mardushka he knows that it powerful enough is Queen Irina, a Queen he does not know is actually a usurper to the crown. And not a nice one.
When Kol goes to Irina for help, she agrees with a blood oath: she will take care of the ogres…as long as he takes care of Lorelai. He will become her huntsman though he doesn’t want to hurt anyone. But he needs to say Eldr and its people.
However, Lorelai is different than he expected: she’s strong and sure and the rightful heir of Ravenspire. He doesn’t want to hurt Lorelai.
But soon he realizes he may not have a choice anymore.
Lorelai must deal with loss, magic, and the crumbling decay of her land…as well as a dragon hunter who needs something she isn’t really willing to give him: her heart.
And unfortunately for Lorelai, Irina is powerful, vengeful, and will do anything to keep what she believes is her rightful throne.
Is It Classroom-Appropriate?
Yes, this is a perfect and fun example of a retelling done well. It’s similar but different enough from Snow White. It has a dynamic of good vs evil, but we also get to see Irina’s POV, and see into the heart and mind of an “evil” Queen…or is she just misunderstood? Lots of discussion with this: compare and contrast, the fantasy elements…and there’s plenty of action for the male readers who aren’t really fairy tale readers. We have Kol’s POV so we can see how this “huntsman” thinks.
There is a lot of repetition, which pushes the point: when Kol is being controlled, he keeps repeating he is “fire, blood, and death.” This line is repeated and the emphasis is important. I can see bringing this into a fairy tale lesson plan. And I’m glad I have a copy I can use for classroom use!
Lexile.com has a suggested age range of 11-13, but I find that very narrow. It’s practically suggesting The Shadow Queen is a MG book. I say yes, it could be used for that purpose and age level, but I also think it has literary merit through 17 (and up of course). The score is 920L, which means that there is no HL designation…and that also means that it’s not inappropriate for younger readers. The score is similar to Harry Potter’s Lexile score of 880L, and Lexile suggested an age range for Sorcerer’s Stone at 9-17! So my determination would be this is a good read for those as young as 11, and through and surpassing 17 years old.
This book moves quickly though is over 300 pages. There is never a dull moment. I enjoyed it and cannot wait to read The Wish Granter, Redwine’s next book in the Ravenspire world. I see other books as well because thr map is quite detailed and there seems to be a whole world waiting to be addressed.
So I can see the Ravenspire novels lasting awhile. And I’m excited to continue the journey with Redwine!
I give The Shadow Queen ★★★★★. I would give it 4.5, but there are no half stars in the current rating Universe. I would rather round up on this one rather than down bc of the creative narrative and the wonderful plot just reminiscent of Snow White.
So here’s my personal rating:
Are you interested in owning a copy of The Shadow Queen now that you’ve read my review? Would you like to find a competitive price or find other books to chose from? Or maybe just want to check out SocialBookCo? Please visit this link!
Thanks for reading and I hope you do decide to give this book a try! I’m not exactly generous with my five stars…this one, in my opinion, deserves to be read and cherished!
So what you guys reading?
Don’t forget to check out The Wish Granter, the next book in the Ravenspire series!