Friday, October 12, 2018

Review: Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep (@ Jennifer_Estep, @HarperVoyagerUS)

Kill the Queen
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager
ISBN:  006279762X
ISBN13: 9780062797629
Genre: Fantasy
Review Copy Source: Edelweiss

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.

Jennifer Estep dives into a brand new fantasy world with KILL THE QUEEN. 

Both the main character and the secondary characters in KILL THE QUEEN held my interest. Everleigh is often overlooked an underestimated which serves her well and helps her stay alive. I liked her survival spirit and it was easy to stay connected to her throughout the story. The gladiator troupe was full of interesting people. Some I liked more than others, but I enjoyed learning about all of the different parts and players that made up the troupe.

There is a bit of a romance blooming with book one, but lots of obstacles that need to be navigated. I WANT them to navigate.

The action is fierce in KILL THE QUEEN. Estep packed it in wherever she could and totally pulled it off.  With the action came danger and it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat as the characters got themselves out of sticky situations. I did have a favorite part in the book, but I can't reveal it without giving away spoilers. I will say that I loved that something that seemed so trivial and felt like a waste of time became something that saved a lot of lives.

KILL THE QUEEN was a fabulous start to the Crown of Shards series. I look forward to reading more of Evie's journey in PROTECT THE PRINCE.

I gave it 4/5 stars

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.