I know that I usually do reviews on Wednesdays, but I’ve been wanting to talk about the Ravenspire series for ages because it’s just so damn good, so here we are! Currently, there are four books out for CJ Redwine’s wonderful retellings with no apparent plans for a fifth, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. And, hopefully, if you haven’t read these yet, this will convince you to so that we have even more of a chance for another book!
Now, the argument is that you can read these in any order, and while that is true, you’re definitely not going to miss any big plot points if you just want to skip to Cinderella or something, there are a lot of little things that you’ll miss. In The Shadow Queen, we’re introduced to the character playing Snow–Lorelai Diederich–and, by the time we get to the second book in the series, well. She’s not just a princess on the run anymore. Thus, while you definitely can read these in any order, there are all these tiny little things that are so much more fun if you read them in order. Lorelai isn’t a main character by any stretch of the imagination in the rest of the series, she’s not even really a side character, but you do see her in passing.
But oh heck, this retelling. I originally bought The Traitor Prince first on accident, and I was so bummed because what if I didn’t like the first one? I already owned the third, so I was going to have to read the two leading up to it. Well count me shocked and awed, I gave this five stars, and I’ll definitely admit that at least one of those stars was purely because the seven dwarves became seven DRAGONS.
Yeah, you read that right.
Yes, you may freak out. Oh hi, also, I wrote a post last week about why dragons are the best mythical creature ever!
Here there be dragons? Indeed. And not just ahhhhh oh no run it’s a dragon we must slay it, but seven FRIENDLY dragons that ally themselves with Lorelei and help her fight back against the Evil Queen. I am deceased. I literally started yelling out loud when I got to the dragons in the book, and my dad was like ????? and I was like “THIS WAS ALREADY GREAT BUT NOW DRAGONS? I AM IN LOVE.”
There are a lot of other excellent elements about this retelling, too. Redwine does a fantastic job of completely turning retellings on their head. Sure, the basics are there. Snow White fights the Evil Queen and gets the throne. That’s always going to be the general arc here. But Snow White, now named Lorelei, is a badass warrior who forges an allegiance with the neighboring dragon kingdom to take down the most powerful witch of all time? Not only is the plot amazing, the writing is so good, the characters are well developed, diverse, and make me want to wage wars for them.
At the end, I was feeling pretty lucky that I’d accidentally bought The Traitor Prince first because that meant I had every excuse to buy the next book.
At this point, I’d read about dragons in a Snow White story, and I was wondering if it could possibly get any better. Ye of little faith! Because not only does The Wish Granter deliver on a twisted retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, THERE ARE FAERIES. I mean, really, think about it for a second. Rumpelstiltskin literally makes deals with people, goes whoops now you’re enslaved for life, and is a conniving little murderer? Sounds like a faery.
The decision to transform the seven dwarves into dragons was easily the coolest thing I’ve ever seen done, but then to also make Rumpelstiltskin a faery? My dudes, Redwine has my undying loyalty until the end of time. These are A+++++++ writing decisions. Plus, in this second book, we’re introduced to Hansel & Gretel, who will sporadically show up throughout the rest of the book, and you remember that questionable movie?
holy hell it was good
But that? ^^^ That is what Hansel & Gretel are like in this series. Badass hunters who feed off each other’s energy and are generally always down for a little
a lot chaos. They’re important in this book, too, because they mostly deal in trapping faeries, and oh? We have a super powerful faery that a sweet brother made a deal with to save his kingdom so his twin sister could continue to live her life the way she wanted to? I KNOW. GUYS. THIS IS WHY YOU NEED TO READ THESE.
Of course, there’s a romance with the weapons master, Alistair Teague (Rumpelstiltskin) is hella creepy, and Lorelei dances through a coronation in a way that made me scream all over again.
Okay, now we’ve finally arrived at the book I bought on accident thinking it wasn’t part of a series, and The Traitor Prince is ready to freaking deliver. Loosely retelling both The False Prince and The Prince & the Pauper, we’re once again in a new kingdom, this one steeped in Arabian folklore and culture. And, like, can we just talk about the tropes here?
Young prince has lived away at boarding school his whole life, so the kingdom doesn’t recognize when a fake prince steals his place because they don’t know what he looks like, so he must sneak into the kingdom and figure out how to overthrow this traitor hell bent on destroying everything and everyone?
Wow, that’s it, I think we should just leave the review at that. You’re convinced to read it now, right? Because I’m convinced I want to reread it.
Combining not just a prince who definitely needs to be taken down a peg on what he’s owed with an imprisoned girl with magic who’s just trying to survive, this story is also overflowing with an intricate magic system, a compelling plot, and intriguing characters. I found myself rooting for Javan by the end, reading as fast as I could to find out how it all ended, and then dying slowly when I realized the fourth book wasn’t out yet.
Currently, The Blood Spell is the last published book in the Ravenspire series, but Redwine has says she has plans for several more, and it was only published last year, so like? I’m holding out hope. This is why I need more people to read and love them so we can have more. Particularly because, going in, I wasn’t over the top excited. I mean, yes, it’s Ravenspire, so I’m pretty amped, but Cinderella isn’t one of my favorite fairytales, so I was kind of in a oh this’ll be fun mindset.
Girl. Come on. Snow White isn’t one of your favorites, either, and you fell off the couch reading that book. Get your head in the game.
Because this? This is more than I could have possibly hoped to get out of a Cinderella retelling. Not only is the MC a POC, but the princess is deaf, and I just?? THANK YOU. I could probably count on one hand how many deaf characters I’ve seen in books, and I don’t know why that is. There need to be more, and especially in fantasy worlds.
The romance in this was probably one of my favorites of the series. Blue de la Cour has zero chill and would like to punch the crown prince, Kellan, in the throat several times. In fact, she may at least once. She wants nothing to do with his pompous ass, and he wants nothing to do with her over the top strict rules, so they mostly only cross paths when Kellan has to pick his sister up from alchemy lessons with Blue, but um? Of course those quick meetings lead to them forming a begrudging alliance when the kingdom is threatened by an evil witch in the woods.
I know I’ve already said it a bunch, BUT THE PLOT. IT’S SO GOOD. I love the way Redwine weaves her stories. They’re honestly like fairytales all over again. They read like stories my dad would have read to me growing up. They’re just so well done.
Look, the bottom line is that these stories are bursting at the seams with excellent storytelling, fantastic plots, characters that I want to love and fight for, romances that make me melt, and so much diversity that it feels more realistic than a lot of fantasy I’ve ever read.