Jennifer Estep's Crown of Shards series continues in Protect the Prince, the second novel of the series.
Everleigh Blair had once been one of the lower-ranked members of the royal family. Now she's queen. Granted, she's a gladiator queen, meaning she won the right to rule thanks to trial by combat. But she'll certainly do a better job than her predecessor.
Unfortunately, Evie can't stick to the castle and work on bringing things back into a semblance of order. With a war on the way, she doesn't have that luxury. So instead she must travel to a neighboring kingdom in hopes of arranging some sort of alliance.
Something that is easier said than done, given the history of the two kingdoms. Or the personal problems everyone seems to keep bringing with them. Throw in the drama between the queen and Lucas and well...you can see why she's so distracted.
“For the first time, I got an inkling of what it really meant to be a Winter Queen, and it wasn't about magic at all. No, it was about making the hardest choices under the most difficult circumstances to achieve the greatest good.”
Protect the Prince is exactly the sort of sequel I was hoping for. It upped the ante from Kill the Queen in every way that I could have hoped. Increasing the personal, political, and magical tension tenfold.
This is a novel that has a little bit of everything. Drama, action, magic, romance, politics, and probably a few other things I'm forgetting to mention as well. In short, it's perfect. Especially for this series. It's well-suited to the world that Estep created in that first novel, and she managed to continue to make the world feel larger and more interesting by the day.
Evie's plight and all the other complications heading towards her allies felt so painfully raw at times. Yet it made me care all the more. Of course it did, how could it not? It was impossible not to root for them, especially after all they had lost.
There are plenty of ups and downs to be found as well, from the heartbreak to the complications, the victories, and the losses. It all adds up, and results in one whirlwind of a read. I can only imagine, and hope, that Crush the King will do the same thing Here's hoping!
Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
USA TODAY Bestseller!
Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.
Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.
First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.
Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.
Dark forces are also at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, her immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes Evie wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.
Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s … well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.
Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…
- ISBN10 0062797646
- ISBN13 9780062797643
- Publish Date 7 August 2019 (first published 2 July 2019)
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country US
- Imprint Harper Voyager
- Format Paperback
- Pages 448
- Language English
Jennifer Estep's Crown of Shards series continues in Protect the Prince, the second novel of the series.
My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com.
In this second installment of Jennifer Estep’s new Crown of Shard series, Evie still has a lot of her plate. She may be queen, but that doesn’t mean things are easy for her. She has to win over the people of her court who have always disliked her. She must also make an alliance with the neighboring kingdom of Andvari. As if that wasn’t enough, she needs to fight off assassins.
This is another fast paced, action packed story by Estep. I continue to enjoy my time with the characters that she’s created. I loved seeing Evie call out the people in the court that all of a sudden wanted to kiss her rear, now that she is queen. She brings up all the horrible things that she dealt with while growing up. It was nice to see Evie put them in their place.
There is also a growing tension between Evie and Sullivan, the bastard prince of Andvari. This is a forbidden relationship because a bastard prince and a queen can’t possibly be together, but there is growing desire between them. It will be interesting to see how that all works out in the end.
You really want to start this series with book one, as each book builds on the previous story. If you haven’t started this series yet, I highly recommend it. The stories aren’t short, but they really draw you into the story so that you were wishing they were even longer.
Lauren Fortgang continues the narration of this series. Estep and Forgang have been together for a while. Fortgang’s narration really works well with Estep’s stories. I love these two together. I love how Lauren really brings out the characters voices and personality when she reads a story. If you have listened to her read a story, you’re missing out. Truly.
**I'd like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
Problems begin in Bellona as court politics force Evie to deal with those who question her ability to lead. Assassination attempts, wicked cuts and barbed tongue lashings immediately pulled me in.
We then head to Andvarian palace, the birthplace of Lucas Sullivan, the King’s bastard. Evie hopes to form an alliance between the two kingdoms against Maeve and the Bastards Brigade.
We see old characters, learn of Evie’s childhood and of Sullivan’s. Twists, turns, old lovers and more kept me flipping the pages. Estep is a master storyteller, and she spins a tight tapestry.
Danger, plots, attacks and more gave way to a maddening pace that was utterly addictive. Strong characters and loyal companions kept me vested and holding my breath.
I relished hating the villains and navigating the surprise curve balls thrown our way. Be warned there is romance. But it’s the forbidden kind, with character growth that can be both frustrating and romantic.
Evie is such a strong character, and we learned more about her mutt abilities. She is a born leader despite her denials. A strategist who can see the bigger picture and a heroine you will want to root for. Don’t piss her off though because she is a skilled with a sword as she is with her tongue.
This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer
Protect the Prince is the second book in the Crown of Shards series and what an amazing series installment this story was! Right from the start I was dragged into the action and drama as Everleigh established herself as a queen who was not to be underestimated. Throughout the story, Evie struggled with faith in herself as a queen and ruler but she did not back down or whine about her turmoil. She ponied up and did what she had to for her people and I absolutely found her character admirable. I felt for her because the simpler days where she used to go unnoticed were forever gone and now she had to live in a spotlight that she would willingly give up if she could. Especially because her status was denying her the one person her heart truly wanted.
In this story there was some romantic tension between Evie and Lucas which picks up from where they left off in book one, Kill the Queen. Unfortunately, that meant they were really nothing beyond friends even though there was much more there between them. Lucas had been burned in love before because of his status, or should I say non-status, and any feelings he may have for Evie were tamped down firmly. Despite his refusal to act on any amorous feelings, Evie still carried a torch for Lucas which made some of the choices that she made in this story very heart-rending. I loved that Evie struggled with her feelings but when push came to shove she chose to do what she felt was right and Lucas had a few struggles of his own.
All of the characters that I fell in love with previously were back in book two but their roles had changed, and all for the better. It was great to see Evie’s inner circle comprised of individuals that would never be considered proper for court. It made things interesting but nowhere near as interesting as Evie did with her unwillingness to submit to what was expected of her. She refused to be anything less than what her people needed. I loved her in this book!! In addition to political shenanigans, there is plenty of action in Protect the Prince as well as subterfuge, betrayal, and some rather swoony moments. I loved reading this story and I am completely looking forward to what is next in this series!!
This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Edelweiss+. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
...is it too soon to ask when the next one is coming? *thinking aloud*
Evie and the gang are headed to Andvari to secure peace and an alliance in this Kill the Queen sequel.
I’m …torn on this one. For the most part, it’s an enjoyable sequel to the series. Evie is as bad ass as ever. This story is very much Evie coming into her own as a queen. She’s putting her hodgepodge skill set and political intrigue to the test. I’ve really enjoyed watching her blossom into a powerful and vibrant ruler. Her relationships with her friends take a back seat, but the romance between her and Sully heats up. I wasn’t crazy with all the romance drama, but the ending made up for the tediousness of it all.
However, the world building and pacing weren’t the best. I find Estep to be really repetitive in her series. She goes on ad nauseam about the littlest setting details. I’m assuming these details become important later, but I only need them mentioned once or twice. I’m a smart person, I can remember details. Not to mention, she places most of the world building within the first 20% of the novel. The pacing suffers for it.
tl;dr While enjoyable, the novel suffers from pacing problems such as too much world building at the beginning of the novel.