This Chick Read: Crush the King (Crown of Shards #3) by Jennifer Estep

Queen Everleigh of Bellona and her gladiator friends take on their enemy King Maximus of Morta in a final showdown. When all royals show up to the Regalia games it’s a chance to align forces and look your enemy in the eyes. After several assassination attempts Everleigh now gets to evaluate her enemy in person. What she see’s is what she knows; Maximus is pure evil. How will Everleigh defeat him?

The Crown of Shards series has been a fast paced, fun series. Full of action and heart I’ve come to love these characters and am excited to see how their story concludes but am kind of sad as well. Everleigh’s character has evolved from ignored semi-royal, to warrior woman gladiator, to royalty but her inner strength has been consistent. I’ve always loved a heroine who is loyal, a fighter, and wins friends through her strength of character. Everleigh is just that kind of woman, and she kicks some serious butt too!

Crush the King turns the focus from love to revenge, which is a little bit different for this series. Everleigh has always had her sights set on getting even, but this time there’s a face to the evil she’s been fighting, and Maximus is truthfully awful. Mean, arrogant, and evil, he’s everything readers love to hate and I was easily caught up in Everleigh’s feelings for this man and couldn’t wait for her to defeat him. The story in between their first meeting and the final outcome had a lot of action, but it also had a lot of heart. Maximus’s bastard sister, Maeven, who had been the face of his evil in previous books also appears here, but it’s her son Leonides who steals my heart. How such an innocent lives in the midst of that madness makes him so interesting! I know this is a trilogy, but you hope for a fourth novel just to see a continuation of his story.

If you’re a fan of fantasy novels, as am I, this series is already on your radar. If you haven’t read it yet? You need to move it up on your TBR because it’s seriously good.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Crush the King (A Crown of Shards Novel)

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This Chick Read: Protect the Prince (Crown of Shards #2) by Jennifer Estep

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)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick’s Audio Review: Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep

When I read the synopsis and saw Gladiator meets Game of Thrones I just knew I had to read this novel! It was a very apt description. Kill the Queen is an action fantasy adventure novel that follows our heroine Lady Everleigh from the halls of the Queen’s castle to the dorms of a Gladiator troop. Seventeenth in line for the throne and virtually ignored by the royal family due to her lack of magical talent, Evie finds herself the sole survivor of her cousin Vasilia’s royal coup and the assassination of the Queen. Escaping the scene, Evie hides out in plain sight as a member of a traveling Gladiator troop filled with ex guards of the just assassinated Queen.

I listened to the audiobook of this novel narrated by Lauren Fortgang who did a fabulous job featuring different voices for a very lengthy list of characters. She imbued the plot with excitement, not losing any of the tension in these action packed scenes. I will definitely be looking at other books narrated by Lauren Fortgang.

Evie was a heroine that showed such tremendous growth in character that by the conclusion of the novel you were completely on her side wanting to see her as the champion of every scene. Her evolution included her own realization that her lack of power was in itself very powerful making her the ultimate underdog, and I do love rooting for the underdog. The novel was imbued with colorful characters for Evie to interact with, even a light love interest that may develop in future novels, but really it was her friendship with all of these characters that gave this novel a lift. Evie was the girl who had only one or two close companions when she lived in the castle but by the end of the book she had a dozen new friends who had her back.

I am a big fan of Jennifer Estep’s YA Mythos Academy series because I have a fondness for fantasy action novels. Kill the Queen was right in my sweet spot and when I finished I immediately gushed about it to anyone that would listen to me. If you like fantasy novels you MUST read Kill the Queen it’s one of my favorite novels so far this year. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Kill the Queen (A Crown of Shards Novel)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate