Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards, #1)

by Jennifer Estep

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.

Reviewed by Minx on

4 of 5 stars

“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.”

Kill the Queen is the first book in the Crown of Shards series and it was quite a bloody beginning. This story is told from Lady Everleigh’s point of view and during this telling she she delves into the history of her life in the royal court and her noxious relationship with her cousin, Princess Vasilia. Vasilia is quite the egomaniacal character, she cares for no one but herself and her personal goals. No matter who she has to kill to achieve them, she was definitely a villain that you would love to hate. She was truly despicable and quite the opposite of Evie.

Evie had been through years and heartache and betrayal in the royal court but she was a smart character who learned how to survive. Evie had purposefully held back truths about herself from everyone because she knew that if the truth was known about her that she would be used in the worst ways. Knowing that she had hidden talents made her rise from beaten down scaredy cat to crafty warrior believable. She had purposefully allowed everyone to underestimate her and that was nicely done. I especially liked that she continued to practice restraint with her secrets once joining with the gladiators and preferred to get an idea of who people really were before deciding to trust them. For me that definitely made Evie quite likable as a heroine.

Reading this story was very entertaining but I just wish it had more depth and tugged on my emotions a little harder. I wanted more potency to really grab my emotions and cement me to these characters. I liked the characters and even the secondary characters had appeal but it would not have affected me deeply had negative things befallen them. I just was not as invested as I would have liked to have been. There was a romance element that was very subtle in its making. There was a spark between the two characters which had a bit of a smolder to it but at the same time when distance was created between them, it was no hardship romantically. I am curious to see if the connection will intensify or go in an entirely different direction.?! Overall, Kill the Queen was the first step in the making of a fierce queen and I am excited to see where this series goes!

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Let's Talk! Promotions. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 15 September, 2018: Finished reading
  • 15 September, 2018: Reviewed