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 stacey_is_sassy on

4 of 5 stars

Ummm...where's the romance???

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. 😉

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 16 May, 2019: Finished reading
  • 16 May, 2019: Reviewed