The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

I really, really loved this. It’s been a while since I had a book that I just wanted to power though (it was almost painful having to stop to do normal like things like, sleep eat, work, when all I wanted to be doing was reading!) – but this one did it!

I love a good fairy tale retelling, and a truly unique, but also exciting one is hard to come across. It’s also hard to find a fantasy YA that is a stand-alone book. While there will be companion novels to coming out later on, with possible cameos from different books, this book was truly a standalone and it was utterly brilliant.

Redwine’s world-building and character development was amazing. I really felt like I was in the kingdoms of Ravenspire and Eldr and could get a sense of the landscapes and differences between the two kingdoms. The different creatures that inhabit these lands and the ways in which both kingdoms were in serious trouble from the magic in the world was presented very well.

I loved the characters in this novel – even the evil ones, which shows just how great the character development was. Queen Irina was one of the most vile characters I’ve read about for quite some time, and it was fantastic. There were snippets of back story to show the reasoning behind some of Irina’s actions, but overall, she was just a monster. A perfect, beautiful monster.

Lorelai was the perfect heroine, she was brilliant, intelligent, talented, an excellent fighter, but also humbled by some self-doubt, which made her seem very real. She had so many plans to free Ravenspire from Irina, but was often scared about the consequences. I want to be friends with her – she sounds rad!

Kol was also spectacular. Having read Julia Kagawa’s Rogue, which involves shape-shifting dragons, it was really fun and interesting to see another take on this concept. He was also a really cool character to read about and Redwine related his change from young misfit to responsible king extremely well.

(I also adored Lorelai’s little brother and their guardian whom I have had a complete mental blank about and can’t remember their names! I don’t have the book with me, so can’t look it up – bah! But I absolutely love them so much! Lorelai’s relationship with her brother reminded me of mine with my little brother and it gave me a lot of warm sibling feels :3)

Overall, the characterisation was brilliant – I honestly haven’t had a book where I’ve liked all of the main characters (including evil ones) in I don’t know how long, so it was really refreshing.

Redwine really draws you into the world of Ravenspire and Eldr and I would happily read more books set in this world!

I am now a very big fan of C.J. Redwine and look forward to reading the other companion novels that will come with this series – it’s just a shame that I’ll have to wait so long!

(Also, so much love for Viktor <3)

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