Review: The Shadow Queen

Publication: Henry Holt and Co. 
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 387 pages
Add this on: Goodreads

Lorelai is a fugative, a crown princess, and one of the two sorceresses in her kingdom. The other is her aunt and stepmother, Irina, who has been draining the land to fuel her stranglehold on Ravenspire since Lorelai was eight. Now, nine years since her Irina killed her father, Lorelai is ready to take back her kingdom.

In a desperate ploy to save his kingdom from utter ruin the Prince-turned-King has become Irina's huntsman, agreeing to hunt down the one threat to her Irina's throne in exchange for magic.

This is my first review here in... way to long. Exams happened, I survived, and now I'm back! Can we take a second to appreciate the new blog layout? Is it not lovely? (I can take exactly zero credit for that- it's all Yani.)

Onward to the book. I admit that at first I wasn't going to pick it up for two reasons- I'm not the biggest fan of the cover, and I didn't love Defiance back when I read it in high school sixty million years ago. It got some glowing reviews, though, from a couple of bloggers whose opinions I've come to trust, so I decided to give it a try. Overall, I'm glad I did.

While The Shadow Queen didn't blow me away, it was still enjoyable. It was more or less a stock YA fantasy novel (fugitive princess on her way to reclaim her thrown, evil queen, the works), but enjoyable enough. I didn't really engage all that much with the characters- their struggles were interesting, but not something that I really felt. I think that this book might have been meant to be darker than in turned out...

This novel is told from three third-person points of view- Lorelai's carries the bulk of the story, Kol's (prince and Queen's huntsman), and Irina's (evil stepmother). Generally these were well done, though I was more interested in some points of view than others. Sometimes I kind of wondered why Kol's point of view was there... sometimes in was useful, sometimes it was less so, as this was clearly Lorelai's story more than his. There were some changes that might have cleaned up the narration and sped up the pace of the novel a bit.

Regardless, it was a fun read for what it was. I do wish that the magic system had been slightly more explained, though. (What qualifies as magic? Apparently moving rivers does, but not... turning into a dragon? That seems pretty magical to me...) When I was reading this I wasn't sure if it was part of a series (it is), because it does read very much like a standalone novel, with a fairly well defined conclusion.

All in all, it was just a book. It didn't have any impact in particular, but I don't regret spending my time reading it. If you're looking for a quick fantasy read, this one might be for you.
Kelly

I'm a reader and reviewer from Ontario, Canada, which mean that sometimes library trips take place place through a foot or so of snow. I'm going into my third year of university, studying Environmental Sciences, which I juggle with my almost constant reading. I've been blogging at my own blog and I'll be helping Yani out here on Paper Boulevard as a co-blogger.

12 comments

  1. This seems like such a fun read! I've heard loads about it, and I think I'll really enjoy it. I like fantasy, so this sounds like a fun one to read, even if it didn't have much impact. It sounds like such an interesting world too! Great review ♥

    Denise | The Bibliolater

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    1. Thanks! As a big fantasy fan myself, I did quite enjoy this one. Even if it didn't really stand out, it was still a solid enough read, and definitely one to check out if the premise interests you.

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  2. I was just talking about how I feel like YA fantasy consists of so many of the same re-tellings, as well as stories that are heavily influenced or crafted after one another. I already was on the fence about this one, and I'm still not sure if I'll pick it up. I just don't want to pick up another fantasy novel where it feels as if I've already read something similar you know?

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    1. I totally get that! I love retellings, but sometimes you just want something original! This one is, in general, a fairly loose retelling, but it is also kind of a typical YA fantasy. If you want to avoid that, it might not be for you. (Maybe one to borrow from a library if that's possible?)

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  3. Sorry it wasn't more than that even if it was an enjoyable book. I think I liked it a lot more than you here

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    1. I suppose I can't love everything I read. It certainly could have been a lot worse; I still enjoyed it, and I don't regret reading it.

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  5. I read Defiance about sixty million years ago, too, and remember liking it, but not exactly being blown away by it, as evidence to the fact that I have the rest of the series sitting on my shelf, unread. I've been meaning to get to it, but you know how it goes. >.<

    Glad to know this was overall good! I guess the reason it was so formulaic is because it IS based off an existing fairy tale, so there's only so much creative freedom the author has in that aspect. I'm a sucker for fairy tail retellings, though, so I'm eager to give this a shot. It's supposed to be the first in a series of stand alones based on other fairy tales. Guess we'll have to wait and see what the others are.

    And I just want to say to Yani: thanks for stopping by my blog earlier and leaving your sweet comment. It really made my day. ^-^

    Lovely blog! I've followed via BL and Twitter. ^-^

    Brittany @ Space Between the Spines

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    1. The fairy tale aspect might contribute to the formulaic nature... but I think that it's still possible to be quite creative within that restriction (especially with the number of variations of the original tale), and this one may have slightly missed the mark. That said, it was enjoyable, and I'm glad you're looking forward to giving it a try!

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  6. I agree with the random perspective changes. That could have been cleaner.

    Lovely review!

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    1. I often like multiple points of view, but the perspectives were somewhat disorienting, jolting the reader out of the story.

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  7. There's just so many YA fantasy novels that I feel like books suffer from it. I may have to check this one out just to see what I missed.

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