The Shadow Queen Audiobook by C.J. Redwine (REVIEW)

Posted by on Jul 12, 2016 in Reviews | 22 comments

Review of: The Shadow Queen Audiobook
C.J. Redwine

Reviewed by:
On July 12, 2016
Last modified:July 12, 2016


The Shadow Queen Audiobook

By: C.J. Redwine

Narrated by: Khristine Hvam

Published by: Tantor Audio 05/24/16

The Shadow Queen Audiobook by C.J. Redwine

2.5 Stars rating

Ravenspire #1

11 hrs and 29 mins

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The Shadow Queen Audiobook Sample

The Shadow Queen Audiobook

2.5 Hearts

Let me start out by saying that I’m not a huge fan of young adult books. I do read them, but I’m pretty picky about it. So when I say that I didn’t love this book, it is very likely a “it’s not you, but me” issue. I had read several great reviews of this book before they were offering the audio for review. I thought it sounded really interesting. Then when I saw the audio come up, I decided to give it a try. Especially after seeing who the narrator was in Khristine Hvam. Now I had not listened to her in the past, but I had heard really great things about her.

This is a retelling of Snow White (which I really only know the story from the Disney movie, not from the original Grimm’s Brother’s version, though that is something I plan to remedy very soon). You have a king with children whose wife dies and he remarries. When he dies, the new queen is evil and does horrible things. The children flee to keep their lives. Both the queen and the princess (and rightful heir to the throne) are witches or mardushkas as they call them in this story.

The Huntsman is a dragon who is a king in his own right. The evil queen sends him out to find and kill the princess, which was more than he bargained for. He was just trying to seek help to fight the trolls that were attacking his land. He thought he was just supposed to track the princess, he had not planned on killing her. He learned the hard way not to make deals with evil queens, but I guess he also had know way to know how evil she was.

This story wasn’t all bad. It was in a really well built world. The magic was well thought out. I was just not a huge fan of the characters and I’m a very character driven reader. If I don’t like the characters, I tend to not enjoy the book. Lorelai, our princess, just wasn’t very likeable. Yes, she was a good character. She was wanting to do the right thing by her family and her people. I just didn’t like her. Kol, The Huntsman, was a better character. I liked him a lot more. He had a lot he had to overcome and struggle to keep his humanity. The romance between the two of them wasn’t well done. It seemed awkward to me. It was just too much of a struggle.

I’m not 100% sure if this book is a young adult. They really never mention the age of the kids. I guess it could be new adult, but it had more of a young adult feel, so that is what I’m going with. Like I said, I’m really picky about young adult. I might read one or two books a year, if that, so if you like young adult fantasy books, I would recommend you give this one a try. You might like it more than I did.

You can check out these other blogs who did enjoy the story.
Between Dreams and Reality
My Nook Books and More
Caffeinated Book Reviewer

The Shadow Queen Audiobook Narration

4 Hearts

As I said, this is my first book with Khristine Hvam. I have to say, I really enjoyed her narration. I thought she did a great job with both the male and female characters. I thought that she really brought out the tone of the scene and I had no problem figuring out each character. I do plan to search her out for more books with her as the narrator.

Author: C.J. RedwineC.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and Sherlock. She is a New York Times best selling author of young adult books and teaches writing workshops across the nation. 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 

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Narrator: Khristine HvamNarrator: Khristine Hvam

Khristine Hvam is an award winning audiobook narrator, director, and voice over actress. Having studied acting for the theater and film, she soon discovered a love of voice over. You will hear her in TV/Radio commercials, video games, animated series, and most notably in over 200 audio book titles. Khristine has been honored with several Audio Publishers Association Audie Award nominations and in the summer of 2012 earned her first Audie Award in the fantasy category for her performance of Lani Taylor’s “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” and a second for “Astray” by Emma Donoghue. Khristine has also received five AudioFile Magazine’s Earphone Awards for her performances. Most recently she has begun directing audiobooks, a journey she never imagined taking,  but one she is thrilled to be exploring. Khristine is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA.

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I like to thank Tantor Audio for providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by:

ML Simmons Reviewer

  • 2.5
    editor rating
Melanie Simmons
I’m Melanie and I live in Ohio. I have two horses and a dog. I’m an animal lover, avid book reader and audiobook listener. I like to live vicariously through fictional characters. I enjoy reading and listening to mostly fictional books in the paranormal genre, including Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. My favorite paranormal creatures are shifters, doesn’t matter the flavor.


  1. Hey Melanie GREAT review. I too am not a big fan of YA, usually for me its because they’re all angst all the time and I also am a very character driven reader. I think I’ll put it on my maybe list because god that cover and premise sounds good.

    • Isn’t that cover great?? I loved the idea of this story. I know that Kimberly enjoyed it. It just wasn’t for me. That doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. If you decide to try it, I hope you like it. 🙂

  2. I’m not a huge fan of YA either, NA I can handle a bit better though. I’ve been eyeballing this one since it’s on sale right now. Might give it a shot. Maybeeeee. 🙂

    • I haven’t read much NA, but I think I’ve read some. I think for me, it is kinda like YA, I can do some of it, but I’m picky. I don’t know if this is YA or NA, I don’t remember ages being mentioned, but it read more like YA to me.

  3. I have this on audio for review and I picked it for the exact same reasons. I’m a sucker for fairy tale retellings so I really hope that the YA feel that you got doesn’t disagree with me because I’m not a huge fan of YA stories either.

    • I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts. I loved the narrator. I hope that you have better luck than me. 🙂

  4. I almost one clicked the ebook version today because it’s on sale. I don’t think I’ll enjoy this either. Thanks, Mel!

    • I saw that it was on sale. I debated about tweeting it out. I decided that since I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, not to. I didn’t want it to seem like an endorsement, though I think there are a lot of people who would enjoy this book. I’m just not one of them. 🙁

  5. I thought I read this, but nope, I haven’t. lol. I don’t read many retelling, so I have no problem passing this up.

    • I’ve read a few retellings. I don’t love or hate them. It all depends on the story the author creates. I think this story had a lot of promise. It just wasn’t for me.

  6. Aw, sorry you didn’t like this as much as I did. I think Lorelai was more likable to me because of the circumstances surrounding her more than her personality. I think without it, I wouldn’t have liked her either. Well, hopefully the next one you take a chance on wins with you. 🙂

    • Hey, not every book is for every person. I get that. I also know that I’m very picky when it comes to YA. I almost passed on this because of the YA aspects, but thought I would give it a try. I’ve had plenty of other great books, so yay!

  7. I’m sorry it wasn’t a bit more for you. I liked this one but I totally understand. I hope your next read is better!

    • It happens, just because you enjoyed it doesn’t me that I will. Just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean there isn’t a huge number of people who will love it. That is why it is so great that there are so many different types of books out there for everyone.

  8. I had fun with this one, however I like retellings, although I may only read one a year. Great review and thanks for the shoutout.

    • I’m really glad that you enjoyed this book. It just wasn’t for me. It is one reason I wanted to be sure to give people links to reviews that were more positive than mine. I’m so picky about YA books. It is probably a case of “It’s not you, but me”.

  9. I do read Young Adult, but I am not a fan of retellings usually. I only know the Disney version of most fairytales as well, not the original. I know what you mean that if you don’t like the characters it’s harder to enjoy the book. I can still like it, but the rest of the book has to be pretty good to compensate. I actually have a Ramblings post scheduled about that.
    I am sorry to hear this one didn’t fully work for you, I hope your next listen is better!

    • I”ve had several great listens since I listened to this book. I do think it really isn’t so much the book, but the style that isn’t for me. I wasn’t very familiar with this story in the original format when I read this story, but I have listened to the original since. They are some pretty dark stories, but I enjoyed them (just listened for fun, didn’t review).

  10. With the mythical creatures it sounds like a story I might like but I’m not much into YA.

    • It was the YA aspect that made it not work for me. I think that the idea was good and had it been written more as an adult novel instead of YA, I would’ve enjoyed it. Maybe the characters would’ve been more likable.

  11. I LOVE Khristine Hvam and she’s the reason I thought about giving this one a try. I’ve been jonesing for a YA listen, I think it’s because Cole’s got two coming out next month (not sure about the audios … yet). My library has this one so I might try it.

    • I thought Khristine Hvam did a great job. I will listen to her again for sure. I’m excited to get the new Cole books. I hope that they will be on audio. It sounds like she is working on it.

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