Release Day Review: Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

, by Kt Clapsadl

Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep
Crown of Shards #1

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.

I love Jennifer Estep's writing, so when I saw there was a new series coming from her, I was more than a little excited. I love all the possibilities new worlds bring and KILL THE QUEEN more than delivered. This story is told in three parts, and I really enjoyed the way each new part built upon the last as a new step/stage in Evie's story. She goes from all but a scared, timid little mouse, to a fierce contender by the end, and it was really enjoyable to see her growth. It's always enjoyable to have a character that's easy to root for.

The world behind this book was intriguing as well. It's high fantasy, but it wasn't bogged down with a whole lot of complicated difference from ours, and as such I had no trouble sliding right into the story. Magic is commonplace in this world, and a powerful currency. Add that to the court intrigue and gladiator style and this made for one heck of a rich world.

On the romance side of things, there isn't much going on, but there's definitely potential for the future. As much as I enjoy a great romance, I felt in this case the slow progression/hints at something more for the future was handled very well. Considering the circumstances all of these characters are under, I don't know that anything faster would have been believable, so I really appreciated the super slow hints of a burn.

All in all, KILL THE QUEEN is one heck of a kick off to the Crown of Shards series that you won't want to miss. Very well written, and kept me hooked from page one, grab this one up right now!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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