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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.
- ISBN10 0062797611
- ISBN13 9780062797612
- Publish Date 15 November 2018 (first published 2 October 2018)
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country US
- Imprint Harper Voyager
- Format Paperback
- Pages 480
- Language English
Lady Everleigh, aka Evie, is seventeenth in line for the throne. Between that and her passive form of magic, she’s gotten used to being shunted to the side. In many ways, Evie is little more than the family errand runner. But she’s still royalty, and that comes with a certain amount of responsibility.
Magic is power. But power also corrupts, a fact that will become clear thanks to a series of events that are about to unfold. One greedy princess – the heir to the throne – has a plot in mind, one which will shake her kingdom and ruin her family.
“My position, magic, and wealth might be insignificant – more like nonexistent – compared to others’, but I was still a Blair, still a member of the royal family, and I have been the target of more than one scheme.”
Kill the Queen was a fun and quick read. Though it may be more accurate to say that this is a book you’re not going to want to put down. I certainly didn’t, and instead insisted on reading through it as quickly as possible.
The world that Jennifer Estep has created here is a fascinating one. It’s a world of magic and politics, and sometimes when those elements combine there will be disastrous results. Given the events in this novel, that’s a fair statement. I can also understand the comparison to Game of Thrones now. Though I’d argue that this series can stand alone without needing to make that (or any other) comparison.
I’ll confess a little bit of bias here. I adored Evie’s power. Not the dramatically revealed one, but her ‘basic’ one. I’m referring to her enhanced sense of smell. I grew up with an absurdly strong sense of smell, something I was even teased by. So I was always thrilled to see characters with it – even if theirs was granted by magic, and took it to an extreme I could never dream of. But I have always wished that it would be portrayed more – ideally by showing all of the ways where enhanced sense could be useful (and even lifesaving).
I absolutely adored all of the politics, backstabbing, and plotting that occurred in this novel. I have so many questions, and honestly can’t wait to see more of the kingdoms that were constantly referenced in these pages. I should probably consider myself lucky that I can move right on to the next novel in the series (Protect the Prince), as I’m not feeling terribly patient.
Evie’s whole story is compelling, sometimes dipping down into something shockingly intense and emotional. It made for a brilliant read, and I’m truly looking forward to the rest of the series because of it. I just hope she stays on as the main character, because she has quickly become my favorite.
I can’t believe it took me this long to sit down and read Kill the Queen, though I am glad to have done so now. I think I’m going to have to put aside some time in the next week to read Protect the Prince, because I’m officially hooked. I’m also pretty lucky in my timing, because the third novel is due out soon as well.
Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
Kill the Queen has been on my radar for a wee while. Sure, the title is interesting and I've heard about Jennifer Estep and her talent with Para-Fantasy, but that wasn't the drawcard. The heroine on the cover is wearing black leather pants. I'M A SUCKER FOR BLACK LEATHER PANTS!! I think they look so cool. I WANT TO BE COOL!! I have some leather-look ones, which I think look pretty amazing, but you can't compare to the real deal. I want to look as BADA$$ as Evie...but I'll leave the acting BADA$$ for the professionals.
I really enjoyed the audio for Kill the Queen. The story was fantastic and Lauren Fortgang did an amazing job of bringing the characters to life for me. The narrator has a very easy voice to listen to and I never struggled to tell when the characters changed or when inner-monologue changes to dialogue. This is the second audio I've listened to from this narrator and it will definitely not be my last.
Kill the Queen was the kind of story that I find extremely hard to stop or even pause. I was at work today knowing that I only had one hour left of the story. IT WAS BLOODY TORTURE!! I was desperate to see if good would win over evil and whether or not we'd finally get to a bit of L❤VING. Sadly, I was left a wee bit disappointed. There's this teeny weeny flicker of romance for like 2.5 seconds, but sadly, he was being too sensible and good intentiony. BLOODY IDIOT!!
I loved the strength and determination Evie showed when it seemed like there was no hope. At the beginning of the story, I never once considered Everleigh as a champion for her people. She came across as a bit of a doormat, timid and weak. Being away from her horrible and despicable cousins helped to change her into the woman she was always meant to be...strong, confident and determined to see justice served.
The additional characters were very interesting and I can't wait to spend more time with the Black Swan Gladiators. I will definitely be back for Protect the Prince and hopefully, I'll get the romance I was hoping for.
I'm looking at you, Lucas Sullivan...stop being so good intentiony. 😉
The vivid descriptions and the world building enhanced my enjoyment of the story. I felt I was a part of this world steeped in magic and gladiator fights.
Character development was on point. I met characters whom I loved and then there were those whom I passionately disliked.
Evie, the main character proved a force to reckon with. She showed remarkable growth throughout the story. She started out meek and mild like a little lamb but by the end of the story she was like a roaring lion. I loved how she stood up for herself and others and in the process discovered true friendship.
The secondary characters fascinated me. There was the dance instructor, the jewelry maker and the members of the gladiator troupe. They brought their own blend of flavour, which included humour, secrets, danger and romance.
I loved the pacing, which had me on the edge of my seat. I kept wondering what next would transpire. Intense action scenes and battles to the death added to the darkness and grittiness of the story.
The story wrapped up nicely. No cliffhangers, but based on the ending we know there‘s more in store for Evie and her friends. I cannot wait to know what next the series has to offer.
Fans of fantasy will enjoy this offering from Jennifer Estep. Action packed with interesting characters, this story is not to be missed.
The story has an amazing ensemble of characters who play true to who they right up tell their bloody deaths. The central plot is all about playing your hand close to your chest so you can win in the end. That what our main character does she hones what is uniquely hers close to the vest and then at the very bitter end she able to draw it out and use it to her full advantage. I am excited to see how her special power develops over the next few books.
At the very end you think that all will sort of be well since the main evil character is disposed of but no two more vultures are in the mist. I am sure there are more that we have not met yet. As Evie starts her place in this new world, who will she have to defend herself against and what other political intrigue is out there for her to discover. She got a good troop of gladiators for her to add to her defense and I think she is able to take down whoever stands in her way. Excited to read the rest of this bloody tale and always remember someone always wants to kill the queen.
I’ve been a big fan of Jennifer Estep ever since I read Spider’s Bite back in 2013. She really grabbed me with wonderful world-building and fantastic characters that you can’t help but love. Even after 17 books, I continue to enjoy spending time in Ashland with Gin and the gang. I even really enjoyed her Black Blade Trilogy, which is YA, and I’m extremely picky about YA series. She does have some other backlist series that I still need to tackle, and I will someday, but must tackle the shiny new thing first. 🙂 So, I was very excited to get a chance to listen to her new series, Crown of Shards.
If you know me, you know I like to go into books as blind as possible. I didn’t read the blurb, but I have seen a few tweets about this book before reading. So, I knew it was more fantasy and taking place in a world different than Gin’s (though Ms Estep couldn’t shy away from including a small Easter egg from Gin’s world into this story). I also knew there was a gladiator aspect to the story. That was the extent of my knowledge of this series going into it. I have to say, it is a great story. I’m so glad that I grabbed it.
So this is the story of Evie. She’s a somewhat distant relative of the queen. She came to live with the queen after she was orphaned when both parents died. She has little magical abilities in a world where magic means almost everything. She is looked down on by members of her family. She is often the whipping boy or forced to do things the other royals don’t want to do.
I really loved all the different species that Estep creates. The different shifters, which aren’t quite like what you think of. The one that stood out to me the most are the ogre shifters. They can look human, but can become ogres. There is a mark on them that shows what they can shift in.
This book opens with a lot of action and keeps up throughout much of the book, without being overwhelming. Evie has to go from being a low level royal, learning mostly things like dancing and being proper to later becoming a gladiator and fighting literally for her life. There is a lot of character growth in this single book. Makes you wonder about how much more she can grow in future books.
I really enjoyed this beginning of a series. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
Lauren Fortgang is again the narrator for this series (she also narrates the Elemental Assassins and Black Blade series for Jennifer Estep). She does a great job with all the different characters. I love her male and female characters. I think she’s great with all the different species that she’s done in this series (and in previous series). I did notice that she dropped the hint of Southern accent in this series when compared to Gin (which I just listened to recently too), which makes sense If you haven’t listened to Lauren, I highly recommend you give her a try.
**I like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
Were you looking for a fix before the last Throne of Glass book releases October 23rd? Kill the Queen is the perfect book to tied you over. It’s a character-driven epic fantasy full of magic, intrigue, and just a pinch of romance. Everleigh (or Evie as she comes to be called) deals with the ramifications of the murder of her entire family by her cousin, the crown princess. Evie is a bit of a wilting flower, often over looked and underutilized, at the start of the novel. Once her circumstances change, she grows slowly into a strategic, yet cautious, leader. Secondary characters are interesting, especially the handsome Sully and the lethal Paloma. Time is spent developing Evie’s romantic relationship as well as her friendships with other characters.
I enjoyed the characters, world-building, and plot despite problematic pacing. The novel’s start is sluggish, spending too much time setting up Evie and Bellona. The events described in the book’s description don’t even start happening till almost 20% through the novel. Once the ball gets rolling, it still drags a bit. The ending is suitably climatic. It nicely wraps up the current arc of the novel along with foreshadowing the sequel.
tl;dr While the plot starts slowly, it’s an enjoyable character-driven story with a woman coming to terms of her destiny.