REVIEW: JENNIFER ESTEP ✭ KILL THE QUEEN

REVIEW: JENNIFER ESTEP ✭ KILL THE QUEENKill The Queen by Jennifer Estep
Series: Crown of Shards
on October 2nd 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Harper Collins
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four-stars

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.

KILL THE QUEEN

by Jennifer Estep

A first in a new Fantasy series always has that unwelcome potential to be an information dump. When that happens the story seems to drag on and you don’t seem to make much progress. Now Kill the Queen is a completely different caliber. It’s addictive, fast paced and captivating. There is another thing that can slow a fantasy story down and that’s archaic language. Jennifer Estep’s first in this epic fantasy reads like a modern fantasy novel which is a welcome change.

Evie is a fantastic heroine. She starts out as a young woman who has accepted her fate as a permanent stand-in as cousin to the reigning queen. She has lost so much – her parents, her home, everything she loved. When she first arrived at the palace Seven Spires in the kingdom of Bellona, alone, sad, she finds a friend in the princess but it doesn’t take long until Vasilia betrays her and the whole kingdom. Evie’s cousin craves power and when her greed escalates Evie experiences violence like she has never known. So much violence.

Over the course of her journey she shows immense growth from the girl who keeps her head down to a self confident, strong woman who doesn’t mince words. But through all this she always has an air of kindness and the heart of a lioness. Courageous, cunning, loving, driven by revenge. Having never had real friends before, she craved nothing more than true friendship and there were some touching moments when she found it.

Fighting at her side is an array of colorful characters. Especially Lucas Sullivan who comes to mean more and more to Evie intrigues me. I loved Evie’s needling him but I have to say I wanted to kick him a little bit along the way too.

There are some inconsistencies that didn’t make complete sense but although I registered them I was so invested in the story that I didn’t mind.

KILL THE QUEEN is a solid action-packed first book in an epic fantasy series with a spectacular finale that will leave you whooping and cheering. The world is rich with adventure, magic and fantastical creatures, schemes at a royal court, sword fights, villains and characters who live by their own code of honor. What’s left is one question. When can I get the next book?

“To the end?”
“To the end,” they all murmured in unison.

four-stars

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