Crush the King
Author: Jennifer Estep
What I’m Talking About:
Crush the King is the third and climatic story in the Crown of Shards trilogy. With that in mind, this review will have spoilers from the previous two books, and I don’t recommend starting the series with Crush the King. The story opens shortly after the conclusion of Protect the Prince, with Queen Evie and the Bellonans preparing for the Regalia Games (think medieval Olympics). Evie is also ramping up her efforts to destroy the Mortan king, exploring rumors of any remaining Blairs, and making alliances with other kingdoms.
Crush the King is filled with exciting action and tense moments. Evie has grown tremendously since the first book, and her ability to play the long game is proving successful. She shines in her capacity to lead and make the hard decisions, while maintaining her heart and compassion. Her magic has also grown – or rather, her understanding of how she can wield it has grown. Even with all those pluses, defeating her enemies isn’t a walk in the park, and I was entertained on the roller coaster ride to the end.
While I enjoyed witnessing Evie crush the king, it’s hard to hold the book separate from the series. Little things that bothered me about the series on whole continued to annoy me in this book, creating a cumulative effect. My first issue is that for a fantasy series in an imaginary world, I felt there were too many ties to Earth; common items and words that felt too earth-bound. For example, the characters enjoyed a treat called cornucopia, filled with popped corn, sunflower seeds, dried apples, toasted almonds. Or drinking mimosas made with exotic, yet well-known Earth fruits.
Another problem I had is with Evie’s all too convenient dreams; dreams that bring to light forgotten memories, which somehow help her at just the right time. It’s a tactic that the author uses in her wildly popular Elemental Assassin series (a favorite of mine!); one that I have come to find bothersome. As I said, it’s mostly a cumulative impact, which isn’t necessarily fair to this one book, but it did bother me this time around.
In the end, I enjoyed my time with Evie and her group of close-knit friends and advisors. Although this may be the end of Evie’s trilogy, I can see the potential for more stories, especially for ogre morph Paloma who learned a huge secret towards the end of Crush the King, or something surrounding the Ladies of Fortuna, a mysterious and incomplete subplot within the book. Regardless of where the story goes (if at all) after this, I recommend the Crown of Shards trilogy to urban fantasy and romance fans alike!
My Rating: B- Liked It, but I had a few small issues
About the Book:
Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies.
There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes.
Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies . . . and crush the king.
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Series: Crown of Shards #3
Genre: Fantasy, romantic elements
Format(s): paperback (432 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Edelweiss
Amazon (affiliate link)