Lorelai watched her father get killed by her stepmother, Irina. Lorelai, her brother, and one of her father's guards have been on the run ever since. Irina has taken the throne of Ravenspire and has used her magic to totally cripple the entire society and execute her subjects at will. She thinks Lorelai and her brother were killed the same time as her father.
Lorelai has been practicing her magic -- but very carefully. She has to be sure Irina doesn't detect her and discover that Lorelai is still alive. Lorelai has vowed to avenge her father's death and take back her kingdom.
Meanwhile in the kingdom of Eldr, the king, queen and crown prince have been murdered by ogres. This means that Prince Kol is now the king. He vows to visit Ravenspire and ask for help from the queen, Irina. Kol thinks his offer of food and aid to the people will convince her to use her magic to help him rid Eldr of the ogres that are sure to defeat his people and take over soon. Ha! Irina has other plans. She tells Kol that if he hunts down and brings her the heart of Lorelai, she will save his country. Kol is a dragon, but dragons don't kill people. Irina uses powerful magic to take over Kol. But when Kol tries to kill Lorelai, she fights back with her magic and the game is on.
I don't really want to say too much more about the story, but it is action packed and exciting and yes, a bit romantic. The dragon lore combined with the unique magic of both Lorelai and Irina causes some very intriguing battles. Personally, I have trouble with magical stories when the magic seems to be the reason that the hero is able to prevail. This happens over and over in The Shadow Queen. But I knew this was a story about magic going in, so it was to be expected and while not my favorite trope, I still really enjoyed the execution of the story.
The Shadow Queen is a worthy addition to the plethora of fairy tale retellings. It's compelling and I'm sure fans of this genre will enjoy every minute.
Published by Balzer + Bray, February 16, 2016
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
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