Thursday 27 February 2020

Kill The Queen by Jennifer Estep (Crown of Shards #1)

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.

This book had been waiting for me on my kindle for over a year before I plucked up the courage to finally read it. Why did it take me so long? I have no idea! I guess I was nervous that it wouldn’t live up to expectations. The cover is awesome, the blurb sounds awesome, the feedback from those who have read it is that it’s awesome, but too much hype and praise can be a bad thing for setting a person’s expectations super high and it all conspired to make me super anxious about beginning to read.
However! I’m glad that I got over it for Kill the Queen was a super enjoyable fantasy adventure filled with plotting, scheming, politics, loss, vengeance and strength.

The book is set in the fantasy kingdom of Bellona. The characters are human but most - if not all - wield magic to varying degrees. Lady Everleigh Saffira Winter Blair (aka Evie) is a distant relative of the monarch. She was orphaned as a child so has been raised at court, she doesn’t have the magical abilities or strength of her relatives and generally, she has a hard time of it. Initially, she seems perfectly pleasant but mousey and unremarkable. Certainly not the badass I assumed she was from the blurb and cover.

The book drags on a fair bit in the beginning and I’m not going to lie in that I was getting super worried that the book would be one of the super-hyped reads that I just did not see the fascination with but then the shit hit the fan in a spectacular way and changed my mind!

Now, a massacre is hardly a good thing to get excited about but it marked the moment that this book landed for me. From the moment the blood started to flow - around 15-20% into the book - the story seized me by the throat and wouldn’t let me go until the end.

The massacre was both the end and the beginning for Evie. It marked the end of her life as she knew it and set her on the journey to becoming a gladiator and gave her the tools to rise up, avenge her relatives, and rise to become the Winter Queen. It made her a badass.

Evie grows so much throughout this book and I quickly grew to love her! I have so many questions as to what being a Winter Queen means, what the full extent of her hidden power is and lots of pent up romantic frustrations regarding her and a certain someone that I could burst!

The friends and allies she makes throughout the book are noteworthy, memorable and truly loyal. I loved them so much!
The villains of the story are truly villainous and I hated them and am super nervous to see what they have in store next.

Kill The Queen is my first novel by Estep and it won't be my last! I can’t wait to get stuck into Protect The Prince!

If you’ve been on the fence about reading this get yourself off the fence and do it! It’s worth it.

Favourite Quotes:

“The day of the royal massacre started out like any other. With me doing something completely, utterly useless.”


“Someone always wanted to kill the queen.”



  1. This is one of my favorite series, I'm so glad you are reading and liking it too!

    1. I finished it last weekend and really enjoyed it! I hope there is more to come... The third book has some threads left dangling that could become the beginning of another trilogy. :)

  2. I haven't picked up this series yet but I'm glad you liked this book.

    1. It's fun but there's not a lot of romance at this point. :(

  3. I actually have been on the fence about this one (because it’s totally not my typical genre) but I’m not anymore! Love the sound of it! And I’m glad to be forewarned of the slightly slower start so I’ll know to stick with it.

    1. It definitely starts slow but it gets better. The other thing I found strange as I read the other books was the overly descriptive nature of Estep's writing... But that may not bug other people, lol.

  4. Glad to hear this lived up to the hype! I worry too when a book gets so much hype that I'll be disappointed. Hope the other books are just as good or better! :)

  5. I've been in two minds about this one since the series first came out. Now I'm really worried about this slow start and over descriptive stuff...I DNF books like that! I reckon I'll bump this way down the list for now!

  6. I like it lived up to expectation.

  7. I'm glad the story picked up, and you ended up enjoying it Nicci. The characters sound fantastic!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape


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