Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.
In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.
But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.
Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.
But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Crown of Shards #1
Review copy provided by publisher
Kill the Queen is the first book in the new Crown of Shards series from Jennifer Estep. Jennifer Estep has been a go-to author for me for Urban Fantasy/Fantasy books from the moment I first read her books, and I have to sayKill the Queen was another winner.
Jennifer Estep has a talent for writing kickass heroines, and she did so in spades with Lady Everleigh. I will say that much like Evie herself, I found myself seeing Lady Everleigh as Evie from the very beginning of the book. Evie has never seen herself as strong thanks to years of abuse from her cousin Vasilia and all of her friends. However, if there is one thing Evie is, it is a survivor. She survived the assassination of her parents as a young child, and then the mass assassination of the Queen and the rest of the royal family by her cousin Vasilia. The one secret Evie's mother had her keep to herself was her immunity to magic, which ends up being the only thing that saves her life in the attack.
As this is the first book in the series, there is much world building in this book, yet it wasn't overwhelming or detracting from the story, though the book did move a little slowly in the beginning. Part of what I love about each series from Jennifer Estep is the fact that her heroines have such character growth in each book. Evie really does start out as a wallflower in Kill the Queen, yet start to grow into her strength the longer she is on the run. When Kill the Queen begins, and even soon after Evie escapes, she is still hiding her true self and her strengths.
I really felt like we just started to see the beginnings for Evie's true potential in Kill the Queen. Not only do I want to see what happens next with Evie, but so many of the other characters we met in this first book. I also want to know more about the various kingdoms and how each one will tie into the series overall. While I feel like the Crown of Shards series will mostly focus on Evie, I feel like along the way we will learn more about both her friends and enemies and I can't wait to see where Ms. Estep takes us next.
Rating: 4 Stars (B)