Monday, February 08, 2016

Mini Reviews: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace and The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

From Goodreads: Breezy remembers leaving the party: the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to her face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain how. Nor can she explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch, or why her heartbeat comes and goes. She doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious - and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. Haunted by happy memories from her life, Breezy sets out to find answers in the gritty, threatening world to which she now belongs - where killers hide in plain sight, and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she discovers is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous. 

My Rating: 1.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace began promisingly with the main character talking about killing a man after rising from her grave, having died under mysterious circumstances. It lost steam after that as it turns out that Breezy isn’t one of a kind – there are, in fact, a whole host of other paranormal creatures that exist in the world, unknown to most humans; and they’re being hunted by a cult group for not being human. Combine that with the very slow pacing, characters that weren’t fleshed out, the plot sometimes becoming confusing, and Breezy knowing how she died but refusing to admit to it; and I was bored for most of Shallow Graves.

Shallow Graves was released by Katherine Tegen Books in January 2016. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Harpercollins) via Edelweiss. ..................................................................................................

From Goodreads: 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.

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: As someone who loves fairy tale retellings, I was really excited to read C.J. Redwine’s The Shadow Queen, a retelling inspired by Snow White. Unfortunately, The Shadow Queen didn’t turn out to be a very memorable read for several reasons. First, the characters were quite bland, and the romance didn’t make me swoon. Also, despite having mardushkas (i.e. people who can wield magic), ogres, and dragons, the setting in The Shadow Queen seemed like a very generic fantasy setting. Finally, Queen Irina lacked depth as a villain, and never felt truly dangerous. 

The Shadow Queen will be released on February 16, 2016 by Balzer + Bray.

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Harpercollins) via Edelweiss.


  1. I just started the Shadow Queen and am enjoying it so far Z, but then again fairytale retellings and the fantasy genre are my very favorite things, so hopefully it will go over better for me than it did for you! I think I'll take a pass on Shallow Graves.

  2. Such a shame you didn't like Shallow Graves :( I'd heard pretty good things about it but now I'm questioning it.

    Shadow Queen sound about meh as I thought it would be. I don't think I'll be reading it because there are better retellings out there.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I'm sorry you didn't really like either of these. I was curious about Shallow Graves, but it sounds like a library read if anything. I don't know when I would have gotten around to it anyway to be honest.


  4. Shallow Graves seems to be a love or hate it book of 2016. I still can't make up my mind about picking it up. I did order it for my library thinking my students would like it. I will put this one low on my reading list. I'm surprised you didn't DNF it. Shadow Queen does sound boring compared to the Lunar Chronicles. I think I'll take a pass on that one. Hope your next reads are much better, Z.

  5. I liked Shallow Graves a little but more than you did but I totally agree about the pacing and characters. As for the other, I'm getting sick of generic fantasy novels so I might skip that one.

  6. I don't know, the premise of Shallow Graves at least sounds a little bit interesting and original to me? But obviously I have little interest if it's paired with a lack of characterization. Ditto with The Shadow Queen - I love fairy tale retellings too, but only when combined with good characters!

  7. I'm disappointed to hear that about Shallow Graves because the synopsis sounds so intriguing. The Shadow Queen, too. I want fab fantasy books like what I've been reading lately, not generic ones.


I love comments and will reply back via either email or stopping by your blog. Please note that this is an award-free zone.