Kill the Queen
Author: Jennifer Estep
What I’m Talking About:
Kill the Queen is the first book in Ms. Estep’s new Crown of Shards fantasy series. Having read both Ms. Estep’s Elemental Assassin and Black Blade series, I noticed the writing style felt familiar and similar to both, giving this epic fantasy series more of an urban fantasy, or “fantasy-lite” feel. Those who aren’t familiar with the author’s other works may not feel the same. With that said, Evie’s story was engrossing and hard to put down, just like Ms. Estep’s other books.
Taking place in a land of kings and queens, the story follows Evie, an orphaned, distant relative of the current queen of Bellona. Evie tries to remain invisible at Seven Spire, and she is often the whipping girl or used to fulfill royal obligations the queen and crown princess would rather not be involved with. Evie isn’t naive, yet she comes across much younger than her 28 years. She hangs onto the pain of childhood scars, some of which, in light of the current atmosphere, seem childish; especially the betrayal by her cousin, Princess Vasilia. With that said, I didn’t mind the younger vibe Evie gives off, as she is a strong woman who grows both emotionally and physically over the course of the tale.
Ms. Estep brings Bellona and its surrounding kingdoms to life through vivid details and sweeping descriptions. Through Evie’s eye and memories, we learn some about Bellona’s past and the current royal line. We don’t learn much about the history of the different kingdoms or what shaped the current political climate; however, it is clear that Bellona is one of the more powerful players, and war may be inevitable, regardless of who sits on the throne. As the blurb details, Bellona was built on the back of the gladiator tradition, and fighting, even to the death, is widely accepted and enjoyed as a sport. And while the violence is brutal at times, the book itself isn’t gory or gruesome.
Overall, I enjoyed Kill the Queen and look forward to finding out what happens next for Evie. I found the world interesting and Evie’s quest exciting, drawing me in until the end. While the book is a complete story, it’s clear that Evie has much to overcome before she can realize her full destiny.
My Rating: B, Liked It
About the Book:
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.
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Series: Crown of Shards #1
Format(s): paperback (480 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher/Edelweiss