Crush the King by Jennifer Estep

Crush the King (Crown of Shards, #3)

by Jennifer Estep

A fierce gladiator queen must face off against her enemies in an epic battle in this next thrilling installment of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series—an action-packed adventure full of magic, murderous machinations, courtly intrigue, and pulse-pounding romance.

Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies. 

There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes.

Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies . . . and crush the king.

Reviewed by Ashley on

4 of 5 stars

I still enjoyed this book immensely, but it felt a little disjointed compared to the rest of the series.

For example, in the first two books, Sullivan felt like a major character, and the whole romance plot felt significant. There was a lot of drama and tension getting those two together. Then FINALLY they get together and.... Sullivan disappears. He's just faded into the background. Technically they're together, but you'd never know it. He does NOTHING. He barely even says anything. And I'm fine with a book not having romance, but it's confusing to be led to think this is a "fantasy romance" in books one and two, then to have that "romance" part suddenly disappear in book three. I guess I just like a series to be consistent. Otherwise it feels disjointed.

I also feel like none of the other characters really developed. Some of them got there halfway, but never fully blossomed into anything significant. I guess that's because the main character has an issue with wanting to do EVERYTHING herself. That means she's the only one who does anything. She has a body guard who never guards her because the MC always gets attacked when she's completely alone, then kills the assassins by herself. It just feels like a wasted opportunity. The side characters are interesting, they just aren't given enough chance to fully develop.

Also this didn't feel like the conclusion to the series. I guess it still hasn't been solidified how long this series is meant to be, and given how long some of her other series are, it's entirely possible this one will continue to grow. However, I don't love going into a series not knowing how long it will be. You never know if the end is actually the end.

All that being said, this was still very enjoyable!

Last modified on

Reading updates

  • 7 April, 2020: Started reading
  • 11 April, 2020: Finished reading
  • 11 April, 2020: Reviewed