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 Leigha on

2 of 5 stars

Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona and friends head off to their most continuous battle yet, the Regalia Games, in this incredibly boring conclusion to the Crown of Shards series.

When I saw this available on Edelweiss last fall, I requested it as quickly as possible. Once I received it, I tried to read it. Put it down after 5%, tried a month later. This went on until February when I finally said “just read the dame thing.” I read it to 50% before scanning it to the finish.

Evie should be a fascinating character – she’s survived a massacre to become queen of the kingdom, she’s a political strategist, and she’s even a freaking gladiator. Despite all of these interesting dichotomies, Evie is boring. Her magic always grows to match her particular circumstances, meaning she rarely comes across an enemy she can’t beat. She spends the majority of the novel focused on herself or her enemies, meaning side characters we’ve enjoyed in the past tend to get lost. Where the hell was Sullivan? He’s around, appearing magically for a few minutes to disappear for pages. It was so disappointing.

The other issue is the descriptive world building. I’ve noticed this before in other Estep novels – she over shares details about her worlds. She details to the nth degree the clothing, the architecture, the food, etc. I don’t need to know ever single detail about each location or culture. Pair it down to the basics to make the descriptions impactful.

tl;dr Disappointed in the last book as it’s bogged down by world building and the main character’s boring evolution.

Last modified on

Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 14 February, 2020: Finished reading
  • 14 February, 2020: Reviewed