Thursday, February 11, 2016

{Review/Giveaway} THE SHADOW QUEEN by C.J. Redwine

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!

Week One:

2/8/2016- Adventures of a Book Junkie- Interview
2/9/2016- The Irish Banana ReviewReview
2/10/2016- Once Upon a TwilightGuest Post
2/11/2016- A Backwards StoryReview --You're Here! ^_^
2/12/2016- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post

Week Two:

2/15/2016- The Young Folks- Review
2/16/2016- Mundie Moms- Interview
2/17/2016- Supernatural Snark- Review
2/18/2016- Maria V. SnyderInterview
2/19/2016- FiktshunGuest Post
&

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    TAKE THE KEY from behind your grandmother's portrait. I am certain your father still keeps it in the fower--no one will have touched it in years. I hope. But you, darling, will be able to find the key.
(Page 1, US ARC edition)

"You don't go into battle because you're sure of victory...You go into battle because it's the right thing to do."

 ~Gabril, THE SHADOW QUEEN


I'm so excited to FINALLY chat about this book with all of you!!! I've been wanting to get my hands on it for so long. Like, long before it was an existing THING. Ever since C.J. Redwine would chat about the book via social media as she was writing it. Fairy tales from the author who brought me the amazing Defiance trilogy? Oh, yes please!!!! Last spring during Fairy Tale Fortnight, Redwine even stopped by ABS and shared a teaser from the book. I wanted it even MORE. I was lucky enough to read a very early copy this past fall, and now I can finally talk to you about it! (And now, of course, I've heard tidbits about next year's fairy tale novel and am in the same state of desperately wanting that, lol!)

THE SHADOW QUEEN is a retelling of Snow White unlike any you've seen before. It's a loose retelling, not a perfect one, and that only makes it better, because the twists and turns of the plot are much less predictable. For one thing, Snow White falls for her Huntsman, who is actually a prince from a neighboring kingdom AND able to shift into DRAGON FORM. Is that different enough for you yet? ^.~

One night, Princess Lorelai of Ravenspire is forced to flee with her brother Leo and Gabril, the head of the palace guard, when her stepmother Irina shows her true colors and tries to destroy everyone. She has been living in hiding for the last nine years, planning for the day where her magic will be strong enough to overcome Irina's. She doesn't think she'll ever be ready, but tragedy speeds her toward the destined battle. Her path intertwines with that of Prince Kolvanismir from the neighboring kindom of Eldr, a kingdom where everyone is born with two hearts, one of which holds a dragon's ferocity. Eldr is being invaded and Kol sets out for Ravenspire looking for the Queen's assistance, not realizing that his life is about to change the moment he meets Lorelai. But to save his kingdom, he must make promises to the Queen and betray the girl he's beginning to fall for....

I loved all the originality mixed into this fairy tale. I always love non-traditional retellings. I won't tell you the details, but the way Redwine weaves in elements such as poison apples and seven dwarfs is creative and fun, especially for fairy tale fans looking to spot subtle references. It's a fairy tale, but also not a fairy tale. I loved the world of Ravenspire, as well as the introductions to Morcant and Eldr, and hope to see more of those kingdoms in future books.

Redwine excels at developing characters you come to love, from protagonists to secondary characters who don't get enough page time. She's also fantastic about bringing us romantic scenes in new ways that haven't felt done before. She's able to make a story twisted and dark, light and hopeful, an edge-of-your-seat page-turner. A piece of her writing advice she has is to "take everything away from your characters. Then, when you've done that, take away the thing they can't bear to have taken away and see where that takes you." She isn't kind when it comes to the turmoil her characters go through, but the journey makes the rewards so much sweeter, and her philosophy is a hallmark present in all of her books, distinguishing her writing and her voice.

I'm really excited to read next year's fairy tale retelling set in the same world, and hope both books sell well enough that Redwine will continue writing fairy tales, since she has many in mind, and I already want to read them ALL despite knowing nothing about them!!!

~*~
C O N T E N T R A T I N G S

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( kissing )
Language: ???  ( I read this last fall and didn't' take proper notes, I'm sorry! I'm looking at the e-ARC right now, however, and didn't highlight any language, so....! )
Violence: PG13 ( Definitely some semi-graphic killings by soldiers and during battles, but nothing too intense )
Other: G ( There's a scdene where we're introduced to Kol and he's drinking mead, but he lives in an era where this isn't unheard of, and it works in context )
~*~
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

THIS COVER SLAYS ME. And the interior!!! *Swoon*

I always seem to get put on these two-week tours the week BEFORE an exceptionally gorgeous book comes out, so I never have my hands on the finished copy to show you. 

Thankfully, C.J. Redwine shared a picture on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/etc. of how her book looks naked beneath the jacket AND of her endpapers:

©C.J. Redwine
Those endpapers, my lovelies, contain a MAP of the kingdom--including hints at future books that we still know NOTHING ABOUT. Redwine has an entire world to share with us, so go out and buy this book so that HarperCollins will sign a contract to publish even MORE of them!!! 

There was also an absolutely FASCINATING article that went behind the scenes and took a look at how that apple was designed for the cover. Sean Freeman and Eve Steben did an amazing article on all the work that went into the cover.

For example, did you know that the title's letters were carved into a REAL APPLE? And the dripping was created from a MODEL?

Here's a sneak peek of what you'll see when you read the article:

©Sean Freeman and Eve Steben
 I love everything about this cover and can't wait to see it up close and in person!!!!

I also can't wait to see what the cover of next year's fairy tale-flavored book set in the same world will look like!
  ~*~
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: THE SHADOW QUEEN
Author: C.J. Redwine
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray // HarperTeen
Received: For Review
 
Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

SUMMARY:

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.

 ~*~
 ABOUT...C.J. REDWINE!

https://www.facebook.com/FansOfJulieCross


C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and Sherlock. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband and children. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day.

To learn more about C.J., visit her website at www.cjredwine.com


 ~*~

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