I find these days retellings are the new big thing, but aside from Marissa Meyer's books, I haven't really been wowed by them. I was hoping that Redwine's take would do it for me, and while I think this is a good book, I don't know if I would say it's a great retelling.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine.

The story follows Lorelai, the princess and true heir to the Ravenspire throne. She and her brother fleed the kingdom nine years earlier when their step-mother, Irina, killed their father, the king and took over the kingdom. Irina is now a harsh tyrant who is starving her people and rapidly depleting her magic abilities. Kol, the newly crowned king of a neighbouring kingdom has come to Irina to make a deal - he will provide her with wealth to buy more food for her people and in exchange, she will use her magic to stop the army of ogres attacking his kingdom. Irina agrees but twists the arrangement so that Kol has to bring back Lorelai's heart, and if he fails, he could lose his own.

One of the first things I noticed about this book was the pacing. While it is part of a series, it is technically just a companion series, so the whole story has to be told in just the one book. There was a lot to pack into this book, and I think there is a reason we don't see a lot of standalone fantasy novels. The pacing was so quick, we had to jump right into the action with very little backstory. I appreciate not having the story drag on but there were times when I felt like I was only really skimming the story - both actually with the words on the page, and also with the action itself.

The romance (of course there's a romance - where've you been??) was decent, but it felt a little choppy to me. In the back of my mind, I knew it was coming but I don't think I was a fan of how it played out. Partly, perhaps, because of the pacing, things felt really fast. Apparently, three weeks had passed when I thought it had only been a couple of nights - so it ended up feeling a little insta-lovey. I will say, though, as with her previous series, Redwine does know how to write some romantic tension.

As retellings go, this one was fairly mediocre. It almost felt like the retelling was used as a crutch to help the story along - the only real similarities I saw were the evil step-mother, some evil apple business, and ~true-loves kiss~ saving the day. If I didn't know, I would have been hard-pressed to guess it was a Snow White retelling. I think I would have liked this story more if it tried to stand on its own a bit more, and didn't lean so much on the fact that it was supposed to be a retelling.

Despite this, I am holding out hope for the companion book with the Rumplestiltskin retelling because for whatever reason, Rumplestiltskin is my jam and I have faith in Redwine as a writer to pull this off!

Overall, not a great retelling but a decent story!