The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine Review: Let’s Start A Petition To Ban All Apples

February 19, 2016 by Aila J. | 4 stars, ARC Reviews, Books, Reviews

The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine Review: Let’s Start A Petition To Ban All ApplesThe Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
Series: Ravenspire #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 16th 2016
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!

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Aila is a young adult reader who loves to transport herself to new dimensions through reading. She's currently an undergraduate student at university in the US. Let's talk about our obsessions on Twitter @aila_1woaa!

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40 responses to “The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine Review: Let’s Start A Petition To Ban All Apples

  1. This is one of my most anticipated reads too Aila, but retellings always worry me as I tend to enjoy the originals far more. But this sounds so well written with such likable character and a brilliant romance as well. It sounds like the Cress series, where each new book will bring a new fairytale retelling too, I actually wasn't aware of that. I can't wait to crack this one open. Brilliant review Aila and so glad you enjoyed it <3
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    • Ooh yeah, that's always a concern with retellings. 😛 I really thought this one was done brilliantly! It was full of fun and brilliant characters. The quick pace is a plus, too!

      The series sounds so exciting! Given how much I love the Lunar Chronicles, I'll probably be enjoying the upcoming books in this one too. I can't wait to see what the next fairy tale retelling will be in this series. 😀 I really hope you get to it soon Kelly!! <3

  2. Book Blather

    IIt sounds like this one has enough cutesy imaginative little twists along the way – like shapeshifters! – to keep me thumbing through the pages and I really love a fairytale retelling. Snappy main heroines are my other weak spot and I'm a big romance reader, so this book sound perfect for me! Love the review.

    • YAY, then this one definitely seems like a read for you!! The shapeshifting aspect is so fun, and the wonderful characters definitely take the cake. I really hope you like this one!! (and the swoony romance omg *CLUTCHES HEART*)

  3. Can I just say how cool the author's last name is?! Redwine!

    To be honest, I'm a little over the Snow White retellings. I don't know how it happened, but I feel like most of the fairytale retellings these days are always based on Snow White. While I do enjoy them, this book actually sounds very similar to Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis.

    Really glad you enjoyed this one Aila! 🙂

    • Woo ikr?? Redwine sounds so RAD.

      Omg I totally get what you mean. Snow White IS very popular! Haha that's so funny you mention, because I have a Stitching Snow review coming up soon too LOL. But hopefully the next fairy tale in this series is a little less common!

  4. This one does look really good, but man there are SO MANY series beginners coming out this year! I almost hesitate to start another series. I say almost because I still can't resist a good fairytale retelling.
    My recent post Beyond The Books #2

    • Omg yes, this fairy tale retelling is one you CANT miss out on! And I knowwww :')) these series starters are making my shelves so full. This year has a bunch of great ones coming out!

  5. aentee @ read at midnight

    I love the sound of the heroine! I initially didn't pick this up because it sounded very romance centric and most YA books that do falls a bit flat for me. I am intrigued in what you said about the great dialogue and strong, determined characters, though. I will probably not read this in any case, because I prefer darker retellings. Thanks for the review 🙂

    • Ooh you like darker retellings? I'm surprised haha. :)) I like them all, but lighter, fast-paced retellings (like this one) are totally my style. The quirky dialogue and characters definitely make this one stand out though!

  6. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    Ohhh this sounds so much better than what I was expecting! YAY for romance without any outside angst! I guess I'll need to get to my copy sooner! Awesome review!

    • Yesss Marianne I hope your copy comes soon!!! The romance was SO ON-POINT. Props to Redwine for an awesome romance featuring awesome characters!

  7. This sounds like a really nice, quick, entertaining read Aila! So glad to hear you enjoyed it. I'm definitely going to have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

  8. This one sounds like so much fun Aila! Although there may be some familiar cliches, I love the Snow White retelling. The internal conflict between the characters also sounds great! Lovely review, I'm looking forward to reading this!

    • Yay, I really hope you do! FAIRY TALE RETELLINGS ARE MY #1 omg. *heart eyes* the characters really made this book! Each and every one of them were just awesome.

  9. Nerdybirdy @ Daydreaming Books

    I'm soooo glad you like it Aila! I've seen mixed reviews for this book so I was a bit hesitant but now I'm definitely going to read it. Loved your review!

  10. Yay, Aila! I really enjoyed this one myself so it makes me happy that you did as well! I love love loved Lorelei from the start because of her courage! And of course, the romance was stinking adorable. I loved how they slowly had to trust each other! It was really sweet and I couldn't get enough of them together. 🙂
    Fab review, Aila! You nailed every thought I had about this one with your review!

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    • Thanks so much, Nick! <3 I'm so happy you enjoyed the book, too! For real though, Lorelai was SUCH a fierce heroine. Her character is just goals!
      And omg, the romance was just SPOT ON. I loved it as much as I loved the characters. I'll definitely be sticking around for the rest of this series!

  11. Bieke (Nelly B.)

    I loooooved this book so much! Gabril had some of the best lines in the book and I adored Leo. <3 *quiet sob° Lorelai is a truly amazing female lead and the romance was so sweet and perfect. Aahh so much love for this book.

    • I'm soooo glad you loved it Bieke! <3 LEO IS JUST AMAZING ISNT HE *clutches heart from feels* and ah yes, the characters just MADE this book. *two thumbs up*

  12. Ooh, I really enjoyed your review and it kind of reminds me THAT I JUST REALLY NEED THIS BOOK. XD I was kind of warned off it because it wasn't very original…but it sounds fun nevertheless?!? And I really do adore retellings and I LOVE AND WANT TO HUG THAT COVER. XD And did you say hilarious dialogue?! *signs self up immediately*

    • OMIGOSH YES, the dialogue was absolutely wonderful! I found myself grinning and laughing with the characters' antics. 😀
      I mean, I didn't think it was that original either but the combination meshes into an actually delightful read? Hehe YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY READ IT IF YOU LIKE RETELLINGS.

  13. Bec

    I'm surprised this is a light fantasy with good romance! I was actually expecting (and kind of hoping) for a darker retelling. Not that there's anything wrong with light and fluffy fantasy novels. I should probably read one soon to break up the more serious reads.

    So glad you enjoyed this! I'm going to have to try and read it sometime.
    My recent post 5 Things About Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

    • Thank you! And YES you definitely should check it out. 😛 I actually loved how it wasn't that dark, except for the evil queen hehe. The characters were such a delight to read about!

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