As the new queen of Bellona, Everleigh Blair wants to bring peace to her country despite the grumblings of her own noble families. When an assassin tries to kill her in her own throne room, Everleigh plans a trip to the neighboring country of Andvari to sign a treaty and stand up against the dark forces who would try to overthrow their kingdoms. With the help of her gladiator friends she faces the family of her love, bastard prince Lucas Sullivan. In Andvari she learns what it means to be a Winter Queen, in an emotional journey. What will she do? Choose what’s right for her country or the man she is coming to love.
Protect the Prince brought all of the action that I loved in Kill the Queen but added an emotional depth to our main character, Everleigh. She and Lucas have a connection that shouldn’t be acted upon as she is now queen and Lucas is the bastard son of the Andvari king. Knowing their love is futile, frustratingly, they spend a good majority of this novel apart. I hated that! I love a little romance in my action fantasy novels. However, when Everleigh finds a plot to bring down the Andvari house and goes undercover (so to speak) the plot thickens and became interesting enough for me to overlook the fact they were not together…yet.
I loved both Everleigh and Lucas’s strength of character in Kill the Queen, but felt like Lucas could’ve fought a little bit more for what he wanted, and Everleigh could’ve let him in on a few of her secret plots so he didn’t spend a good portion of the novel hurting. I hated the lack of communication! I know, it’s just a book, but I like it when my characters are on the same page. Aargh! LOL. Both Everleigh and Lucas’s characters get a little more back story which explains some of their character traits. Through flashbacks we learn about the death of Everleigh’s parents and the part the Bastard Brigade played. This explains Everleigh’s determination to bring an end to that group. We also learn about a past love of Lucas’s that ended poorly and explains why he continues to do what is right instead of what he wants. Both of these things slow the novels down only slightly but help me care more for their characters and the outcome of their relationship.
As with the first novel there was some great politically charged action scenes with our bad guys somehow always staying one step ahead of our heroes. The conclusion to those political machinations had a couple of surprise twists that left me feeling like I MUST read the next novel! I just wish it were coming out a little sooner than next year!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“In addition to political shenanigans, there is plenty of action in Protect the Prince as well as subterfuge, betrayal, and some rather swoony moments. I loved reading this story and I am completely looking forward to what is next in this series!!” The Genre Minx Book Reviews
“The series so far is still littered with all kinds of fantasy tropes, but surprisingly, I don’t have a problem with it. The truth is, it gives these books a certain kind of charm, and I love being able to kick back with something light and fun. I also have a feeling Estep is working on the bigger picture, building towards something even better. I look forward to reading the next book.” The Bibliosanctum
Click this link to purchase!* Protect the Prince (A Crown of Shards Novel)
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