30 Apr 2016

Review: The Shadow Queen

Publication: Henry Holt and Co. 
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 387 pages
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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.
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