[BOOK REVIEW] Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep (Crown of Shards #1)

“Summer queens are fine and fair,
with pretty ribbons and flowers in their hair.
Winter queens are cold and hard,
with frosted crowns made of icy shards.”

Holy crap on a cracker, this was one hell of an enjoyable reading experience!

I feel so lucky to have come across this author, thanks to Amanda Bouchet who gave me the opportunity to read an anthology a couple of months ago with a novella by Jennifer Estep in it.

This first book in a new fantasy series was everything I could’ve wished for and more!

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.

“The day of the royal massacre started out like any other.
With me doing something completely utterly useless.”

I love that our main character isn’t your typical sassy assassin, which is something you come across a lot in these type of books – nothing wrong with that, because I love assassins but it was quite refreshing I have to say. She knows how to fight a bit and she does get better over time. But her qualities lie in so many other things like dancing and cooking and being strong in other ways, which will become very helpful to her in the end. I really loved Evie’s character development throughout the book. She goes from underdog and underrated to a kickass heroine who I’ve been rooting for right from the start. I loved following her story and seeing her transform into a strong female lead. Girl power is strong in this book, thanks to a lot of amazing supportive female characters as well.

“You have to survive, no matter what you have to do, no matter who you have to cheat and hurt and kill, no matter what the cost is to your heart and soul. Do you hear me, Everleigh? You have to live.”

I really am in love with the entire set of characters in this book in general, I have to say. The supportive characters are all amazing additions and I cannot wait to read more about them as well in the next book. I loved reading about the forming friendships and already have a feeling that this squad is going to become one of my faves. I love character driven fantasy books like this one so much!

The plot, though not entirely original, was steady- and always action packed which made for a fast-paced read. The world building was really nicely done and I couldn’t get enough of reading about this world. I really liked the bits and pieces of fantasy elements added to it like the elemental magic  but also the presence of creatures like shapeshifting ogres < really awesome!

Kill the Queen delivers on every level and leaves you craving
more, more, more! It’s one of my fave 2019 reads so far! 

There’s politics and intrigues, there’s a bit of magic and an a really interesting world. There’s action, there’s this amazing set of characters and the start of a hopefully really well developed romance as well.

Everything was so perfectly balanced out thanks to the addictive and enthralling writing by this author and I really couldn’t be happier with how this book turned out. I think it’s an amazing first book in a new to me fantasy series which is well on its way already to become a favorite of mine.

I never wanted this book to end and the wait for Protect the Prince to release is slowly killing me. July can’t come soon enough! I HIGHLY recommend this one if you’re looking for an action packed, addictive fantasy read < Go grab a copy ASAP!

Thanks for reading!

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