Monday, October 1, 2018

Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

Series: Crown of Shards #1
480 p.
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Published: Oct. 2, 2018
Source: From author for review
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.
My thoughts:

This book came to me after a long reading slump so I admit I was a bit worried that I would have trouble really getting into the book. Honestly I had nothing to worry about... in fact I had a hard time putting this book down. It is also a great book to get into fantasy. A lot of the YA fantasy lately has really made the fantasy genre accessible to those that worried that it was just too heavy handed for them. However, this didn't solve the problem if you just didn't like YA. This book is the best of both worlds. It is accessible as the YA fantasy but the main characters are adult.

I also loved the characters in how they grew throughout the book. Evie, our protagonist, is young but she is an adult and one that is open to change and hardship. She might complain at first but she quickly learns that survival is only part of her journey. She also learns that the inane skills she learned as being the court stand-in surprisingly work to her advantage and make herself valuable. I really love how those things worked into her survival and it also felt very natural.

I think my only complaint is that I would like to have really gotten to know a bit more about this world. While there is enough to tell this tale it also seems like so many of the realms called out to me and I just wanted to know more. However, this might be a good thing as most people tend to shy away from fantasy that is mostly worldbuilding and little storytelling. This feels more like a UF story where we get more of the worldbuilding as the story progresses. In fact a lot of it feels a bit more UF than high fantasy but since I love UF it really works for me.

I don't want to say too much as I fear I would spoil the book but I do give it 5 stars. I will say again that this is the fantasy I had been waiting to read; the accessibility of YA fantasy but has adult characters. I think this is a great book for those that want to try the fantasy genre.

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30 comments:

  1. Yay! I loved this too, it was just so much fun and so classic Estep. I'm so excited she has a new series and in a genre I adore. :D

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  2. oh yes I really had a great time with this one as well

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  3. Hugs, Mel. I am happy to see you back blogging. Hoping you are feeling some peace. I am looking forward to this one. I have the audiobook reserved at my library, and I can’t wait to dive in as I have been unfocused in my reading lately.

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    1. Not quite back but testing the waters. :) Thanks for the thoughts! ❤️

      I really do want to try her books on audio!

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  4. Evie's development was great and I can't wait to learn more abou this world!

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  5. I've been thinking about trying this author since hearing good things about her Elemental Assassin series. I kinda like too that it's sort of a UF / high fantasy mash up, sounds like? Great review! Looks fun.

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  6. I haven't read any books by Jennifer Estep in a while. This one looks interesting. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Great review!

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  7. This is the first I've heard of this, but it sounds awesome! The characters sound really great. I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D

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  8. Ohh she has a new series? I need to get back on track with the other one (Spider something?), but this seems like one I'd really like too.

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  9. I've missed you so welcome back! I haven't read but a couple by this author. Not sure why I haven't continued. I am not a big fantasy fan, but I do like YA and love UF so this might just be a maybe someday for me. Does it have a romance? The blog I review for only does books with a romance of some sort. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Glad to hear you really liked this one. It's always nice when you find a book that is hard to put down. I'm slowly reading more fantasy these days!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  11. This sounds awesome!! I've been meaning to read this author for a while but didn't know quite where to start. This answers my question! I'm adding this straight to the TBR. :)

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  12. oh cool! I have so many of her books but I also feel too far behind to start lol

    Since this is a new series I won't feel as intimidated.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  13. YES Melissa. This just rocked for me from the flow to the characters. I am so glad you loved it too!

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  14. I'm gonna have to read this at some point. Everyone is loving it.

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  15. I am keeping an eye on reviews and I am intrigued

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  16. I don't do a ton of fantasy but this may be one I can get into. I mean 5 stars has me intrigued!

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  17. Oh - great review. I agree on the world building and the UF feel of it. I call it high fantasy-lite. There are just so many things that remind me of her UF titles, so it definitely felt that way. Glad you enjoyed!!

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  18. I'm thrilled you loved this, Melissa! I might have to pick it up - I haven't read Estep at all yet and I like the idea of getting in at book 1. ;) Wonderful review!

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  19. I very rarely read fantasy but this one has really piqued my interest. It's getting a lot of attention and the synopsis definitely intrigues me. And that cover! Maybe it's time I make this my first by Estep. Great review!

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  20. Glad it put to bed your reading slump and really rocked you. I'm looking forward to my turn at it.

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  21. Books that you get you out of a reading slump are always magical! They've essentially saved reading, you know? Lol! I'm happy to see you enjoyed this one. It's one I've really been looking forward to reading!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

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  22. I've been wanting to get into her other series, because it looks so good. did not realize this is a new one, it looks exciting :D maybe a good way to dip toes into her writing?

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  23. Isn't it wonderful that, after having found yourself in a reading slump, you happen across a book that you can't put down. So glad you enjoyed this book, it sounds like one I'd enjoy as well.

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  24. Yay for an awesome one after a slump! That's always exciting. I still have her original series to read. Ack!

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