Series: Ravenspire #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 16th 2016
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult, Romance
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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.
This fast-paced retelling of Snow White was full of fun, adventure, and swoons as we follow Lorelai and her path to reclaiming the throne of Ravenspire. From the very beginning, I loved her character. She was courageous and knew how to fight back. She may have been based on Snow White, but she certainly isn’t wasting her time waiting for a prince. Lorelai undergoes many obstacles throughout the book, but each time she picks herself back up and keeps her strong will.
The princess didn’t want to run. She wanted to see her father. She wanted to stay in her home.
She wanted to fight.
Redwine meshes up many aspects of fantasy books to build this one, and I didn’t mind at all, despite the tropes. If not exactly original, they were all well-executed and I found that I couldn’t stop reading. With Snow White comes a jealous stepmother, and Queen Irina is certainly one. She’s actually a pretty wicked villain, bringing in new twists to the story that we thought we knew. For example, Prince Kol from a neighboring kingdom comes into Ravenspire to get their help to save his own kingdom. And while he’s developing feelings for a certain fugitive princess, he’s also tasked to bring back her heart to save his own kingdom from the ogres invading it. Although he has Draconi warriors (who can shapeshift into dragons!), what they really need is magic, to fight against the ogres.
What really stood out to me was each character’s internal conflict as they struggled to become the leader that each nation needed them to be. They go through so much growth in this book. It’s one thing to say you’ll do something, and it’s another to actually go through with it and get results. Lorelai and Kol don’t let obstacles stop them – they learned and kept moving forward to accomplish their goal.
He faced the castle and clenched his fists. He would figure out how to lead his people. How to protect them. He would become the kind of ruler he could be proud of, or he would die trying.
The romance was especially swoony, despite all the things the characters go through. I mean, it would be rather hard to fall in love with the guy who’s supposed to kill you, right? But both characters had trust in each other and worked together to fight back against Irina. Each ruler had their own priorities and motives for doing what they did, but they also complemented each other so well. It’s a quite straight-forward romance, and isn’t heavily stressed upon. No drama or entanglements are there to drag the book’s plot. Kol and Lorelai know their hearts, and they know whether or not to follow it, all the while thinking about each respective kingdom.
The dialogue between characters can be absolutely hilarious at times! It brought great depth to each of them and the friendships and support that come with those interactions just made my heart melt. If you’re looking for a book with easy-to-love characters, then definitely pick this one up. Each one of them just pop out and are unique in their own way, creating a cast of characters that is unforgettable.
Hastily, Lorelai swept into an elegant curtsy – no small feat considering her current attire – and said the first thing that popped into her head.
‘You look most fetching today, my lord.’
Despite the “shadow” in the title, the cute romance and flying pages will make for a quick and light read that will be delightful for any fantasy reader. Don’t come looking for a totally original story, because many aspects of fantasy in this book have been seen before; instead, the interesting mix of them all and refreshing characters make up for it more than enough. The ending is quite satisfying and has a nice resolution. It seems like the next books in the series will be companions, with a new fairy tale to explore. I for one can’t wait to meet those new characters in this world!
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thank you Harper Collins and Edelweiss for the review copy!